28 August 2011

The New Three Rs - Ratatouille, Rainwater and Renewable Energy

Well, my community's wonderful little fall fair is over for another year. I feel quite privileged to be the convenor of the Young People's Agriculture section. It was gratifying yesterday to see that entries in the 26 divisions (including 19 fruit and vegetable categories and some educational project categories) more than doubled from last year.

The best of all is the Garden Challenge, which offers community mentors and mentoring kits to any child who enters. This year, six children entered their gardens — and they were beautiful and abundant!
I'm telling you this because I had the opportunity to talk with a lot of community members yesterday about something quite controversial in the education world — and I, quite surprisingly, found a lot of understanding and agreement.

What I propose is that the 3 Rs — no, not Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ... the other 3 Rs: reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic — are increasingly irrelevant if we're not also teaching students to grow their own food, collect their own rainwater, and create their own energy. (What's your opinion? How relevant will reading and writing be in a world of scorched earth and droughts?)

I saw evidence at the fair yesterday that the children in my community are starting to learn food-growing skills (certainly not a skill you can learn in a class or two at school). My Convenor's Award went to a girl who grew herbs and is learning to make teas and tinctures and salves from them! Let's face it, most of us don't know a comfrey leaf from a cattail! This young gal could be a traditional healer of sorts when she grows up.
Alas, if there's any way you can encourage the children in your community or your local schools to get growing, please do so. And next up, let's get a rainwater collection system in every school garden. And some solar panels on every school roof! There's so much we need to do to ensure the safest future for the children as the climate change emergency starts crashing in around us.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?