There is now overwhelming evidence that humanity is living beyond its means, consuming and polluting in ways that are exhausting and degrading the natural world and impacting on the lives of the most vulnerable.
It is quite clear that business as usual is not an option. Indeed, if we are to take the challenges we face seriously, we must develop fundamentally different practices. Only by rethinking how we live in relationship with the world, will we heal and restore Nature, and in turn ourselves. It is a big and extremely urgent task.
There are calls from many, most notably HRH The Prince of Wales and more recently His Holiness The Pope in his Encyclical Letter, to find more enlightened ways of living, to consume, waste and pollute less and to protect, nurture and share more. With the global population rising dramatically, we all need to develop conservation conscious mindsets and collectively create and implement better, more sustainable practices in how we live on the earth.
This has far reaching implications for how we educate our young people and what kind of opportunities we give them to engage meaningfully in the issues of our time. The aim in this learning process is that they start to realise their role in finding and leading on the solutions to the challenges we face. Underpinning this approach are the values of care and compassion, of respect and responsibility, of service.
So where are the role models for this work? In deepening young people’s understanding of the sort of practices we need to develop to lead us to a more sustainable future, Nature’s principles of Harmony are a good place to start. In his book Harmony: A new way of looking at our world (2010), HRH The Prince of Wales highlights seven key principles.
The extraordinary patterning and symmetry that exists in Nature.
Everything is connected and every element within the system needs to be valued.
We need all our systems to reflect Nature’s cycles and create no waste.
The richness and strength in our world lies in its diversity.
Learning the value of reflection and stillness to refocus or clear the mind.
It is rare to see ugliness in the natural world. Planet Earth is a living paradise.