Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Teaching our children well

 This is a cell phone--the desire for his particular model will evoke visceral responses from millions.

These are basil seeds. They evoke a visceral response from me.

The basil seeds matter more to the economy that matters than the iPhone. That I even need to point this out highlights our cultural sickness.

Here are the agricuultural commodity prices  listed today in the New York Times:

Note the other two categories--energy and metals. (How many children know where metals come from? How many teachers?)

One reason the maker movement matters so much is because of how disconnected we have become from the ground, from the air, from the things that sustain us. The maker movement matters.

The economy we preach today is more about politics than life, and bad politics at that.

I teach biology, yet there is nothing in our curriculum about how to keep oneself alive--unless you've been reduced to thinking your only chance of survival is to glom cash from some company for doing something we now call "work" to pay for the grace we no longer remember how to harvest.

Stop pushing machines on my children until you can tell them why neodymium matters, where it comes from, and where it goes when we're finished with it. Do that for palladium and yttrium, or even copper and iron. 

Every breath a child breathes out carries particles that originally came from corn and soy. 
Every breath carries water made in your cells, oxygen wedded to hydrogen in our mitochondria.
Every plant breaks the water down again, and pushes hydrogen and carbon dioxide together to form the stuff that literally keeps us alive.

And while we test children about mitochondria and respiration, we do so knowing that even the "brightest" among them would starve if left alone on forty fertile acres with eternal springs and abundant sunshine.

If you do not know how a machine works, don't use it. This will lead to happiness.

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