Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Education That Matters

This morning, as I have done other mornings, I biked to the park to do my homework.

Sounds normal enough, though not many college students take the time and energy to enjoy the refreshing life-force of our urban riparian sanctuary. To be honest, I probably wouldn't either, if it wasn't required of me. I wasn't doing homework for Chico State, the school that I attend so I can get Financial Aid and a degree that will serve as something to fall back on in case civilization doesn't collapse as soon as I think it will. I was doing homework for Ecotherapy, a program through University of Earth.

U of E is a radical, evolutionary college program that was founded by Rich Silver, the same man who founded the Endangered Species Faire which takes place in Cedar Grove every year, which is where I ran into him last May. I feel touched when I reflect on that day, hearing an adult say the words my heart speaks: that there are two possible impending disasters. One of them is the disaster we will all have to face if the economy, and potentially our entire ecosystem, comes crashing down upon us. If suddenly food is not available, or clean water, or transportation. If the crops won't grow and there is fighting in the streets.

The other disaster, the disaster with a capital D, is that business keeps running as usual. This Disaster will have species going extinct at ever increasing rates, will have more and more children growing up in cities where they don't even see trees, or ground that could grow something. This Disaster will (and is!) sucking up people's souls like a fleet of Dementors, keeping them in high-rise cubicles computing all day. Ultimately, too, this Disaster will inevitably end in the first disaster. Rich told me that day that he prays for a third option-- a quick and graceful transition to a sustainable human society.

I think this path is the least probable. That doesn't make it not worth trying for though, and that is what University of Earth aims to do-- to educate people in appropriate ways for the times we are in, by offering degree programs in Ecotherapy, Eco-education, and Ecoguides. Although I turn in my homework online, because there is no campus, the Ecotherapy program I am working on has me at the park, observing, breathing, and learning about how I relate to nature and how nature nourishes and affects me. I highly reccommend this school. I would love to see all my friends take courses through this school. They have an Orientation course (called "Our Sacred Living Universe"), which I did this summer, that can be taken by anyone without having to enroll in a program.

I never knew there is already a whole school of thought based around why mainstream psychotherapy isn't working, and is perpetuating the socio-economic system that destroys and corrupts our psyches and all life. Now I do, and I am greedy to soak up all the knowledge and insight I can from our class texts.

How grateful I am to have just come from the park, having watched the leaves fall magically from the sky, to sit by the creek and ask myself, "Who are you?" as the stream rolls by. This is where education should take us. I am so grateful, and so inspired to have a community of classmates on the same page (literally!) as me in these times.

To learn more about this, go to http://uofearth.org/

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