Paul Gilding

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Paul Gilding. In Global Crises Lies An Opportunity For Transformation (International Montessori Congress 2017)

To prepare our children with the understanding and knowledge they will need over their lives, requires us to consider not just our beliefs and values. We must consider the context in which they will live, as human civilisation develops over the coming century. While it is impossible to precisely forecast this, there are some fundamental, science determined things that we know. These, along with our values, can be our guide.

In this, there are some hard truths to face. The climate is changing and this process is now accelerating. The stability of the world is being undermined by the physical impacts of our overuse and abuse of our natural resources, particularly land, water and biodiversity. This is causing nations to become unstable, refugees to flee and conflict, fear and nationalism to worsen. Feeding this further, is the inequality that is growing despite the enormous wealth we have created.

Taken together this can paint a world where the future is frightening. However, while we must face these truths, we should see that this also presents one of the most exciting and exhilarating moments in history. History shows us that, in a crisis, our humanity and the essence of our potential often comes to the fore. Thus the profound threats to biodiversity can trigger our deep love of nature. Conflict between nations and people can bring out our noblest compassion. Faced with crisis, our strongest sense of a higher purpose and wish to contribute often rises to the top of our consciousness.

This is the opportunity for educators. To unleash a generation which understands and accepts the crises we face but is equipped with the understanding, values and inspiration to help society not just survive, but to thrive on the challenge. To see the transformational opportunity to shape a more harmonious and peaceful world.

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