We live in an increasingly scarce and individualistic world. Scarcity of natural resources, food, water, plants and animals species. As Fritjof Capra said in his book Ecological Literacy (Cultrix, 2006), “it is no exaggeration to say that the survival of mankind will depend on our ability to properly understand, in the coming decades, the principles of ecology and life.”
We are already about 7.5 billion people on the planet, consuming the same basic resources as water, energy, food, clothing, among others. Currently, we need 1.5 planets Earth to sustain our consumption habits. If we continue like this, we will need 2.5 planets by 2050. The ends simply don’t meet, right?
According to Capra and Luisi, current estimates of extinction rates caused by deforestation and the destruction of other habitats indicate that the Earth is now in the midst of a sixth mass extinction event. If earlier these extinctions have happened by natural causes, today we know who is responsible for this situation: mankind.
Therefore, we believe that we need to review our habits, reduce our impacts on the planet and be able to live in a balanced and sustainable community. For this, there is nothing more important than investing in Education. Educating in other to create citizens able to think of relationships, connections and contexts. Our desire is to help the development of a collaborative way to think about totality, switching objects for relationships, reducing quantity and increasing quality, setting the fragmented structure aside to think of connections, networks, and interdependence.
Here at Escola Toca do Futuro we found a way: Ecological Literacy. For those who don’t know about it, it’s a process in which adults and children acquire the ability to read, describe and interpret the surrounding environment and the principles that govern it. Adults have the opportunity to reconnect, to remember what they have already known since they were born and children have the opportunity to exercise their whole self, recognizing local ecological aspects and thus finding solutions to build a community in such a way that their future activities (ways of life, business, economy, physical structures and technology) do not interfere with nature’s inherent ability to sustain life.
Our goal is to work on an approach that contributes to the development of being in its completeness, that is, individuals who will recognize, respect and value all life forms, who will cause positive impacts and contribute, in a spontaneous and joyful way, to rebuild the biodiversity we have lost.
And how do we do that? Observing and living with nature itself. Have you stopped to think how natural ecosystems – communities of plants, animals and microorganisms – sustain life on the planet so perfectly?
Thus, a teaching and learning method has emerged that doesn’t teach ecology and sustainability within an isolated course, but rather works the theme in the day-to-day life of the school community in an experiential, systemic and participative way. More than teaching a specific content, we want to build a new way of seeing the world.
Here at Escola Toca do Futuro, teachers and children learn what it’s like to live in a sustainable community, helping to build it, understand it, and maintain it. To do this, they participate in each step of the school construction and in activities that don’t distinguish live from learning.
Organic vegetable gardens, agroforestry, dry toilets, composting pile, meliponary, hen house, waste disposal are some of the countless processes that we bring to our school daily routine. The contact with these systems makes it possible for us to understand the natural cycle of each element of nature which enables us to learn many health and environment related factors.