About Me

My photo
I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Education and Avatar

I grew up close to the soil, the insects, the animals, and the elements. As we grew together, I learned about them as if they were part of my family; therefore, for all my life I had an ingrained respect for all living things. However, in this age of technology and urbanization we, and especially our children, are being drawn further and further from the earth and its fundamental role in our survival. Most people don’t recognize the beauty in the world all around us, it is so common place, we don’t see its magic.
Tonight I watched the movie Avatar. It reminded me of “Emerald Forest.” (A movie about the rainforest destruction from the 80's.) The message has been told time and time again: don’t destroy the natives, don’t cut down the rain forest, everything is connected! The moral is an environmental one. But no one listens. Avatar takes a different approach, an approach I wasn’t expecting at first. It turns the rain forest into a magical world we can’t help but in awe of and its natives into mystical people who don’t just believe in the forest but rely on it in concrete ways. It transposes the rainforest struggle onto another, unseen, planet.  I find this both encouraging and discouraging. It is encouraging in the sense that some producers will never give up and will face all odds to get their message across. In another sense it is sad that people won’t (and maybe still don’t) get the massage that is right in front of them, so they need it to be glorified into this magical world to appreciate. In the end of Avatar the natives keep their land (though their home-tree has been destroyed). But that is just Hollywood. In real life the natives all die or become civilianized. In real life the rain forest continues to disappear. If there is a mineral which is worth a million dollars a kilogram anywhere in the universe, you bet the greedy will send out troops to bomb every living thing in a thousand light years to get at it. We know the true power of greed.
So what do we do? What should you do? What should I do?   
Personally, I have fought the system. Like “” said, “I fought the law and the law won.” Now I have a new mission. I am a teacher. Education is an investment in the future, educating children gives enlightenment to the next generation. The future is bleak. Yet, our only hope is in the future—in hands of children and the people who educate them. So I work at the Ozark Natural Science Center. On a weekly basis I take 5th graders into the Ozark wilderness and teach them about nature. Once they understand the glorious world they live in, they might appreciate for what it is. Maybe even respect it. Only through appreciation and respect for the earth can we preserve and save the purity of our planet. I believe the best way to foster these values is through knowledge and familiarity. And as we all know: it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks but a child is like a sponge.
However, this is just what I am doing. Of course, it can not be your path, for we can not all walk the exactly same path. You must (and many of you already have) find your own path. You have to do something.
I just hope that you are conscious of the situation we face.
I hope you recognize the beauty of the earth.
I hope you realize we all are dependent upon it!

No comments:

Post a Comment