Sustaining the Okanagan 8: Give the Children Water

Schools aren’t classrooms. Classrooms are courses within schools. Putting children in classrooms teaches them about classification and abstraction, how to think in groups and how to put their words into sentences. It is very bookish behaviour. If we want them to put water in a dry world, such as the Okanagan, if we want them to rebuild the earth, we need to put them in water. We need to give every school a wetland.

Bulrushes, Reflecting

Otherwise, they will build words and classrooms, as we have done, without adding wetlands. We could have a wetland city, in this dry climate, 400 miles long. We could work to extend water rather than to extend roads and parking lots, and could work hard to find room, here and there, for roads, as we now do for water. People tell me how hard these things would be, how nothing is possible without a funding source. First the funding, they tell me, then the service. Nonsense. First the water, then the water. It is very, very simple.



5 replies »

  1. Inspiring words to start my week, Harold. Any schools in your area that do this? Any teachers who might be inclined to take up this torch, even in a small way? Finding kindred spirits is crucial … the more voices that sing this song, the more likely it is to be heard.


    • There is one school that has a wetland, but only visits it as part of special programs. There is one school that has a garden, but doesn’t use it as a permanent classroom. There are other schools with parent-maintained gardens. In all cases, the classroom remains the model, as does the primacy given to the self-actualized individual, at the expense of the individual-in-the-environment. There is one school that aims for alternative paths to the individual, but does so through social methods and, as I have witnessed, very conservative schooling. The European model, of forest kindergartens, is more positive. Ultimately, though, the Earth’s precarious environmental state will not be solved in classrooms. There are parents who keep their children out of school for this reason. Some even manage to eschew ultra-conservative packaged correspondence schooling from the USA.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Forest kindergartens!?! What a marvelous idea. It would be interesting to know teacher backgrounds – if they don’t have a a connection to nature, it’s unlikely they’ll work to instil that in their kids. There are more and more schools getting on the solar/alternative energy bandwagon with school-based projects. Well and good. Needed. But at the same time we must re-establish a connection to the natural world at large. Your words and efforts will hopefully encourage some to do that.


  2. Please elaborate on this post, Harold. Would love to hear your deeper thoughts. We have a place at the head of the lake and there is certainly wetland to be protected there, on OKIB land though and may be in danger of cottage development. Thanks for all you write. I look forward to reading your daily posts.

    Pamela Cinnamon

    Sent from Pamela’s iPad


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