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Education is the answer to all of our problems

Education is the answer to all the major problems that I can think of. For example, environmental problems like ozone depletion, global warming, animal extinction, could all be reduced if people had de right education. The rate of population growth could also decrease with increased education. So is there a problem that education can not solve?

Topics: education

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    Nov 25 2013: I would think education could make any situation better. But what do you mean by "education," Olivia, do you only mean "education" in school, I would think there any many kinds of education, for example, participating in a TED conversation is education, also.
    • Nov 26 2013: Of course with education I mean any kind of education; however, lets not forget that, in many cases, for example in this one, for someone to take part in a TED conversation, obviously, has to have the interest in participating but he/she also has to have money to buy a computer. And to do this, he/she has to have a job aaaand in order to have a good job he/she should have had a good education in a school. But, I repeat, I am certainly talking about education of any kind and by any means
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        Nov 27 2013: excellent point, Olivia. Well, here is where I am stuck: I am very interested in the Masai tribe of Kenya. The Masai are cattle-raisers. They don't have a lot of different jobs like we do in other countries, all Masai men raise cattle, and all Masai women are dairy wives. They only eat milk and beef, and they live very simply, in dung huts without electricity or running water. The fact is that they have rejected formal education, they refuse to send their children to school. If the Kenyan government tries to force them to send their children to school, the Masai "rent" children from other tribes and send them to school in their own children's place, pass them off as Masai.

        I suppose when you live simply like the Masai, you don't need formal education.

        As far as I know, the Masai have quality of life that they are happy with. So what do you do with them, they are not following formal education like you are recommending, yet doing okay?
        • Nov 27 2013: First of all, thank you for providing me with such information; I am very interested in people's lifes in Africa as well. And you are totally right; there are many situations in which it would be really difficult to implement education, and even though I think education is esential I also believe that the conservation of tribes like this (and by 'conservation' I mean that they continue with their regular life, without turning to urbanization like most of us) is also very important. This is because of many things, but also because if they change and adopt a lifestyle similar to our lifestyle, and this would certaintly not help to solve our problems.
          When I talk about our problems, I mean mostly environmental problems (since these are, in my opinion, our greatest problems nowadays). And, with this said, I add that I believe that in this case, people of the Masai tribe in Kenya do not contribute in such a great extent to these problems, such as pollution or population growth; this is probably because they live almost as the rest of the animals. It is the ones that pollute more that we should be more concerned about educating.The richest are, usually, the ones who pollute more, because they consume more.
          So actually, if poverty did not exist, our problems would be much grater, right? That is where I am stuck at.
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          Nov 28 2013: Very interesting angle indeed! Maybe we should revise our concept of 'education'. People with a master-degree are called more educated then those with a bachelor degree. Those who went to University are taken more seriously than people who are auto-didact.
          The Masai, as Greg explains, is maybe a perfect example of how WE can learn from (from a western perspective) 'less educated' people. Maybe they are in many ways smarter then us. Less is more sometimes right?

        • Nov 30 2013: absolutely not.I don't think we can judge people well-eduated or not with master-degree or bachelor-degree.I would like to see a person with good moral and always be kind to all round,be contributed to the society.These people are really well-educated.It doesn't matter they go to school or not.It also doesn't matter what jobs they are doing.Sometimes I met some people they just got primary school education.But they work hard,feel happy to contribute to their family,society...I think they learn from things around them.
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        Nov 28 2013: well, you are certainly raising excellent questions, Olivia. You are extremely smart, what is your biography, or where are you in life right now?

        Possibly the answer is in the explanation you gave to your own question? True, people who get educated begin to use more earth resources for themselves, but maybe, for example, they family plan better, have fewer children, so in that sense they use fewer resources?

        We may also note that the earth does have resources to give. After all, we are currently feeding, clothing, and housing billions of people, and the earth has not collapsed.
        • Dec 3 2013: Thank you very much Greg, for your compliments. I am 16 years old, I was borne in Argentina, but I live in Uruguay, and I have always been educated in bilingual schools.
          I am really interested, as you might have noticed, in environmental management.
          You are totally right in what you said, education reduces population growth,and, in this way, also decreases consumption. But, anyway, I still believe that consumption should decrease. The ideas of reusing, reducing and recycling should be very implemented and acted upon. This leads us to what you mentioned in the last sentence: even though the Earth has, fortunately, not collapsed yet, we are using resourses at a rate much greater than that at which they can restore themselves; some are now non-renewable (such as fossil fuels). And if we continue to use fossil fuels at this rate, without changing our carbonized economy by sustainable development (using alternative sources of energy), then they are going to eventually (in about 200 years time) run out.
          So we might be currently feeding, clothing, and housing billions of people. But if we do not make a big change, we will, in the long run, not be able to do this anymore.
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        Dec 4 2013: well, Olivia, if I really think about it, it seems like whether you become more educated or not, you should care about the environment. Because maybe you can answer me this, how can a person have any quality of life without a nice environment? What use would it be to have a big house and a nice car, if you had to breathe a lot of smog? Or even to have a small house and average car, if you had to breathe a lot of smog? So there is some incentive for everybody to take care of the environment, right?

        With the people you know, and your community, do you see that they are concerned with the environment, or not? If they are not, what can you do to make them more concerned, besides hosting a TED conversation (which is a good thing.)
        • Dec 5 2013: Of course, not only education is needed, but also people have to care for the environment. But without this knowledge, people would not be abl e to help the environment because they would not know how to help and how to reduce things which are damaging it.
          About the smog example, I agree that that is an incentive. But most people wait for things to happen in order to take action. What I mean is, do we need to be unable to breath right because of the smog for people to realize we have to change? Does that point have to be reached in order to take action? I have heard 'better safe than sorry' many times, but this phrase is not followed in many cases, because of all the costs that would take to change our carbonized economy, because of people's reluctance to change, and so on.
          In my community, many people are concerned about the environment, even though few take real action. I don't know what could be done because many people choose not to listen, or to care, but the only thing that comes to my mind is to keep on telling them the impact their actions have on the environment, how they are damaging it, and how easy it is to take small actions that, if we all do them, will lead to big changes.
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        Dec 5 2013: Well, what is the environment like then where you live? In southern California, where I am, the environment is excellent. We used to have a lot of smog, for example, when you ran around the track during your physical education course, your lungs would ache afterward from the smog. But then the government took charge, they created emissions standards. Every two years you have to take your car and have it tested for emissions. If it doesn't pass, you have to have it repaired until it does pass. Now the air is much cleaner, Olivia, so that life here is more pleasant.

        Also I believe the government was giving tax breaks if you owned an electric car, but I'm not sure they still are.

        If you tell me your air quality is much worse than ours, then it might be your job to get after the government to improve it. One way to convince them might be to compile health statistics, you could look at how many people suffer from breathing problems where you live versus how many people suffer in areas with less air pollution.

        Also, we have the Los Angeles river that used to be a filthy mess. Now we have improved it vastly, first some private citizens got involved and started trying to clean it up, and they inspired the government to also get involved, so everyone is working to make it better.

        I agree, Olivia, that people should think about the future. To me, the first thing is to think about the present, and, since I don't know what the current environment is where you live, that is what I would like to know? Do you agree wth me that the first thing is to think about the present, and, secondarily, the future?
        • Dec 6 2013: Greg, fortunately, the environment in my country, Uruguay, is also excellent. This is probably because the number of people living in it is really small (3 million approximately, in the hole country); so there is not much pollution.
          I am really glad about what the government has done in your country, it is outstanding and that should be done in the hole world.
          In fact, I think that more governments and people are taking actions on improving the environment, and alternative resources of energy are also being used and considered by many. This probably has to do with increased education as well, right? And, of course, because of the need of improving our life quality.
          I do agree with what you said, we should first care about the present and then about the future. This makes sense, because if we do not care about the present there is no future, right? But, even as we are thinking about the present, we should consider the future as well. For example, fossil fuels (again): If we think just in the present, then we should continue using it, since it is cheap to derive energy from them and we are used to them. But if we continue using them, then future generations will not be able to have them because there will be no fossil fuels left and it will be really difficult to change every machinery and etc to alternative sources of energy all at once. That is why we should start now.
          I believe in sustainable development, which is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
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        Dec 6 2013: would you say you are anxious about the future, Olivia? Well, if we have successfully cleaned our environments in the present, it might reduce our anxiety for the future, it shows we can take on big cleaning projects and accomplish them. Also, if we look at the whole history of human development, we see a lot of creativity, that might give us hope for the future.

        Is this problem of reducing carbon footprint one you want to devote your life to? Perhaps you can become a scientist, and find new energy sources. Or a politician who creates policies that help the environment in the future. Or an advertising specialist who takes what the scientists and politicians do and promotes it to the public.

        Whether there is enough current awareness of this issue of sustainability I'm not sure. Probably someone somewhere has surveyed people, we could look for surveys online where they ask people how much awareness they have of the need for sustainability, what they are doing to promote sustainability, and so on. If we find the numbers are low, we can do what we can to improve them, each person makes a decision about what issues they care about and what they are going to do to contribute.

        I think there is enough awareness that we will transition successfully without utter world upheaval. I agree with you that a smooth transition would be the most desirable. I'll do what I can to contribute, I don't have a car myself, I walk almost everywhere, I promote walking to the people I know. Of course, like everyone else, I have many other issues in my life I have to try to deal with.

        For you, as a 16-year-old, there is much you can do. Perhaps you can work up a speech about the topic and present it at your school. Possibly you can find clubs outside school that might also want to hear the speech, even groups of adults, for example my friend gave a speech on global warming to a church even though he doesn't attend that church. What else can you do?
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        Dec 6 2013: Olivia, here is a typical survey on sustainability awareness, I think you can hit a lot of this on the web: http://www.unep.org/resourceefficiency/Consumption/EducationLifestylesandYouth/SustainableLifestyles/GlobalSurveyonSustainableLifestyles/tabid/105293/Default.aspx

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