This conversation is closed.

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?

  • Nov 25 2013: Education is sort of a big concept. I would say that education at school alone can't deal with most problems, it needs to be redesigned so that a student's education can continue outside the classroom and because of the student's own will. Going back to the main topic, it can certainly help a lot if properly redesigned, but I believe there are other factors to take into account.
    • Nov 30 2013: exactly people should have the consciousness you mentioned above.
    • thumb
      Nov 30 2013: Rodrigo and Edulover,
      I agree that education is a broad concept, and there are many ways in which people can be educated, or educate themselves....formal classroom....their own exploration of life....taking in as much information as possible at any given time.......

      That being said, it seems like a good foundation for ALL types of education, might be to support and encourage the curiosity and joy with learning that children often have naturally? That might support a continuing exploration of the life adventure?
      • Dec 1 2013: Hi Dear Colleen,exactly agree with you:to support and encourage the curiosity and joy with learning that children often have naturally..."Meanwhile being an supporter or educator,be ready to help but never force...

        Now the educaiton system ,teachers ignore students' need.So eduation doesn't mean:fill a tank fully but encourage the curiosity.
        • thumb
          Dec 1 2013: It seems like you are a very good educator Edulover. I think educators can learn some things from the students as well?
      • Dec 4 2013: Lol,not yet,I am trying to be a very good learner.absolutely I learn from my students everyday when I have classes together with them:we talk to each other,students all reflect me to think,do all I can do for students.Sometimes patient is the most important.
      • Dec 4 2013: Colleen, I guess you made it quite clear: supporting children in their curiosity and joy for learning is definitely the way to go. But I bet it's a hard thing to do when the system has already set them goals that you must make them reach... or get fired. That's the case where I live at least. Well, perhaps Edulover can elaborate on this more than I do.

        Oh, and here is a problem education at school cannot solve: the failures of education at school. It's a circle: the kids will send their kids when they get to be parents and so on and so on. It's up to us adults to realize, through alternative forms of education like TED, that the educational system of schools has to be changed as our societies change as well, and to make a difference. But it cannot be solved on education at school alone (after all, no-one teaches us that the system is bad at school, right?).
  • thumb
    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
      • thumb
        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.
        • thumb
          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.
      • thumb
        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.
      • thumb
        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.
      • thumb
        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.
      • thumb
        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?
      • thumb
        Dec 6 2013: Olivia, here is a typical survey on sustainability awareness, I think you can hit a lot of this on the web:
  • thumb
    Nov 29 2013: I agree Olivia, that education of some kind may be the answer to all the challenges we face in our world, and at the moment, I cannot imagine a situation in which education would not be helpful.

    That being said, I also agree with other commenters, who have expressed the idea that education can happen in different forms, and I perceive education as simply having appropriate, accurate information regarding the tasks or challenges we encounter.
    • Dec 2 2013: I totally agree with you; the other comments have changed and modified my statement. I still think that knowledge, to put it in a more appropiate way, is the answer to all of our promblems; but then of course, it does come in various different forms.
      • thumb
        Dec 3 2013: I agree Olivia....knowledge is power, and we may gain, and use knowledge in various ways:>)
  • thumb
    Nov 25 2013: I doubt education alone is sufficient, as some problems derive or are sustained by conflicts over values and goals rather than inadequate information. Still education and learning are vital components in solving problems and in bringing diverse ideas and imaginations into the effort.
    • thumb
      Nov 28 2013: I often wonder, Fritzie, if what seems to be a conflict over values and goals really is a problem of inadequate information. If you took any situation where people seemed to be conflicting over values and goals, and really devoted enough study and research to the question at the point of conflict, could you reach the pure, perfect, unassailably right, position?
      • thumb
        Nov 28 2013: I think people's individual interests can still conflict and those drive people to different conclusions. When you say "right" position, I take you to mean some idea of what is best for the collective at hand. But I don't think each party necessarily places such value on what is best for any collective of people in the aggregate or could agree on what that collectively best position would be- if one exists uniquely.

        In economics there is a model that you might want to look at called the Edgeworth Box Diagram. That model seeks to represent the array of efficient positions under perfect, which is to say complete, information. You will see in that model that there are many such positions, but which one might call socially optimal depends on values rather than information.

        That model, like any model, is not meant to provide a definitive answer but rather one useful way of looking at the question.
        • thumb
          Nov 29 2013: well, I started "edgeworth box diagram" on Wikipedia, it was a bit dense. I would say there are cases where the best thing for the collective is that one person in the collective get more than the other people in the collective?

          Have you seen me mention "consensus decision-making" on TED? I was exposed to it at Stanford's Columbae dormitory. When that dorm needed to make a dorm decision, they would keep discussing it a dorm meeting until every member, all 60, agreed to the decision reached. Sometimes it would take five minutes, sometimes five hours. In fact, at Stanford, if you wanted to live in a dorm the next year, sometimes you had to visit the dorm in the current year to get "preferences" given out by the dorm that would give you a better chance to get a room in the house the next year. It varied how the dorms decided to give the preferences. When my friend and I visited Columbae to try to get preferences for the next year, we were sat down with a guy who also wanted preferences to talk about it. After hearing his story, we immediately agreed that he deserved a higher preference than we, so he got the best chance of getting in.
      • thumb
        Nov 29 2013: The basic idea in the Edgeworth box is that you can improve welfare if you can make someone better off without making anyone else worse off. But there is not a single position you can call "best" without invoking values about distribution

        I am sure we have all been in positions many times in which we effectively make a decision about which potential contender should have preference when two are interested in the same thing. Most of us, for example, will offer the open seat on the bus to the mother with the baby in her arms or the person with physical impairment.

        I think decision-making by consensus is common in small communities.
        • thumb
          Nov 29 2013: so how are values formed if not with information?
      • thumb
        Nov 29 2013: Information, including observations from an individual's life experiences, obviously influences tastes and values. Without having tasted fruitcake, one person could not realize he liked it and the other that he disliked it!
        • thumb
          Nov 29 2013: My personal observation and education regarding fruitcake Fritzie, is that it can be FABULOUS, or not so good, depending on ingredients used, who makes it, and how it is made:>)

          So I agree with you that an individual's life experiences influences how we deal with challenges. That's why I always feel that the more information we have, the better choices we can make in many situations.
  • thumb
    Dec 3 2013: I agree with you, there is too much information and we are lost in it. I see the same problem in our education system, too much of theory. I think global platforms like this can provide certain direction to what we should focus on.
    • thumb
      Dec 3 2013: True Umar.....we sometimes get lost in information. Perhaps we focus on information/education without going the next step with our theories.....which may be application? I agree that TED is providing a HUGE service to our global community with the opportunity to connect. Abuse and violation of human rights thrives in isolation.

      Our technology, including TED, is opening up our communications around the world, and although it appears that we have more challenges right now, I think some of the challenges we face have been going on for many years. Because of our advanced communication systems, we are able to uncover the corruption, and that is one of the first steps toward change. I am optimistic for our global society:>)
  • Nov 26 2013: Let's talk about all the things that have to happen in order for a country to fix everything with education. First, the entire country MUST agree that education is the best way to fix all of the problems. THEN, a majority of the country has to agree on the particular method of fixing each individual problem. Once all of that is agreed upon, there has to be an agreed upon way to allocate this education to different cultures equally and fairly. After that, how will we know that all of that education was allocated fairly and equally? Will we have a scale to determine that?

    I think your underlying assumption is that most people are just uneducated about things that cause problems. I think realistically, people are oblivious by choice. It's not that people don't know...They know one of the possibilities exist of many and they CHOOSE one that lies outside of our ideals. Which represents the problems along every step of educating people.
    • Nov 26 2013: I agree with you, most people choose to be oblivious to such things. But I still think that education could HELP to reduce, at least to a certain point, some impacts. I know it would be really difficult to implement education in most cases but, without considering that, wouldn't it help to reduce a lot of human activities wich damage the environment such as pollution? Because more people would be aware of the effects of our activities, and even if many of them would choose not to care, some of them will open their eyes.
      • Nov 26 2013: How important s that concept of education to everybody? Is the concept of teaching about the problems of pollution a problem to everybody? Is healing the Earth on the agenda of the people you are trying to educate. Pollution is the bi product of trying to make money with corporations. Who has the power to influence that level of education? There are so many dynamics at play that it is impossible to know what direction that education will even go in. Within reducing pollution, how do we go about it? What position do you teach. There are multiple proposed ways to educate about pollution. My point is that there are so many problems along the way within infrastructures that don't value it. It would be problematic starting from scratch, but to have a system this far damaged and trying to make it change. It will be difficult. I agree with you, but it is more an ideal than a possible reality. Unless our world was somehow torn down to the basics and we were allowed an opportunity to start from scratch in our respective societies.
        • Nov 27 2013: Of course. I totally agree. Education being the answer of reducing many problems is something that occured to me and that I still believe; but I am totally aware that implementing this education is practically impossible.
    • Nov 30 2013: good education should be the whole society thing,not just school,teachers...
  • thumb
    Nov 25 2013: For breakthrough change we always need curiosity & power of imagination.....
    • Nov 26 2013: Also Since the Age of Faith few organizations have had the opportunity to set frames as have some of our elite corporations today.
  • Dec 5 2013: Olivia, nice name by the way...that is my daughter's name :) Ironically enough, I posted a conversation on here several months ago that challenged that the educational system played a vital role in positively impacting societal issues of social justice. I got varying remarks, most stating that the "system" should pay more attention to fixing core/basic instruction instead of wasting time worrying about what's happening in the community. What you are saying here, Olivia, is spot on in my opinion. That being said, there are MANY factors that serve as distractors for the massive portion of our population that are undereducated. Poverty is the result of the cyclical action that lack of education feeds. I could go on and on about the affects of poverty, but long story short...we can't JUST focus on education in the "here and now," meaning only while students are in school. There has to be a simultaneous effort to produce the greatest impact possible while kids are in school AND to produce the greatest impact PRIOR to students coming to school...the cradle to career way of thinking. Just one man's opinion....
    • Dec 6 2013: Andre, thank you very much!!! Olivia is a nice name, fortunately hahaha. I totally agree with you, in order to solve many problems, education should not be concentrated only while kids are in school, but also before (and even after, if necessary). However, I don't know how this could be done. How could you produce an impact prior to students coming to school?
  • Dec 3 2013: Knowledge is power is somewhat different than education being the answer to all of our problems. Experience, compassion, understanding, conversation also plays a key role.

    Exposure to lets say the big "E"s in life such as : Education, Environment, Empathy, Experience, Emotion helps us as humans Evolve which makes the "world" a better place so I guess in that sense (a much broader sense than I first took your original phrase) I agree with "Education is the answer" :)

    So though my outlook on your phrase has changed, your last question is kind of like the "chicken or the egg" question we have all heard. Human interaction, upbringing, presentation is just as important as solving problems to me as education- to me anyway. It really made me think-thanks.
  • thumb
    Dec 3 2013: I agree with what has been already said here that we see countries with very good education systems and high literacy rates but still they are facing a lot of problems or they are not contributing to solve world's problem rather they are increasing it.
    • thumb
      Dec 3 2013: I agree Umar, that there are a lot of very educated people in our world, and we still face many challenges in our global society. Pabitra, also suggests that education alone may not be the answer.

      It appears that what is evolving in this discussion, is that we need to APPLY the knowledge we have gained from various forms of education? When we have advanced education and technology, and do not use it appropriately, it may cause more chaos and strife rather than resolving some of our issues. Perhaps it is time in our evolution to actually APPLY the knowledge that we have, which may contribute to solutions?

      As a global society, with lots of educated, knowledgeable people, perhaps it is time to use our knowledge and work together toward effective changes. We have quite a lot of ideas and we need to APPLY them to our everyday lives.

      "One of the great difficulties in the new order of thought is that we are likely to indulge in too much theory and too little practice."
      (The Science of Mind)
      Ernest Holmes
      • thumb
        Dec 3 2013: Cannot agree more. Most of us, at least educated people around me seem to wait for a chance to do it big. And we lose small yet meaningful opportunities to change our world a little bit in that waiting. Also I find a craving for recognition way too early by many people.
        There is a joy in taking a right step and I wonder why that should not be enough to be motivated.
        • thumb
          Dec 3 2013: I agree Pabitra, that many people see all the challenges in our world, and want to do something BIG to "fix" everything. That can seem overwhelming! When/if we all take small steps, the cumulative effect can be HUGE.

          Many people, as we see in the TED conversations, are seeking happiness, contentment, joy, passion, purpose, etc. etc. I wholeheartedly agree Pabitra! There is joy in taking the small steps in our little corner of the world, and that has always been enough motivation for me to keep moving toward the goal to leave as good a foot print as possible when I leave this earth:>)
        • thumb
          Dec 3 2013: I understand what Pabitra is saying and agree that it has certain benefits. At the same time I have a question about small meaningful change, you continue to do it for long, maybe your whole life and when you look up you realize that bigger picture is the same. Shouldn't we make collective efforts and make the real change which impatcs the majority?
        • thumb
          Dec 3 2013: Why not both Umar? The more people there are making small changes, the more the bigger picture is likely to it not?

          The belief or goal that it is better to only make changes which impact on a grand scale, is what keeps people from making changes. Often times, people say.....the little things that I can do will not make a difference.

          Our collective efforts to make small changes, sometimes manifests into a bigger impact than we might my humble perception and experience:>)
      • thumb
        Dec 3 2013: Colleen, my dear friend, I am sure whatever you did and are now trying to do will leave its mark in real life and in many of our hearts. I wish many more years before you leave this earth school and certainly not before some, near and far, inspired by you.
        • thumb
          Dec 3 2013: My dear friend Pabitra,
          I already made a HUGE mark! I encouraged you to plant a garden? Way over there on the other side of the earth that we share? Truth be known, I have been instrumental in the creation of MANY garden addicts!!! LOL!!! PLEASE my friend.....give credit where credit is due!!!

          Thank you for your kind words Pabitra:>)
    • thumb
      Dec 3 2013: Umar, I agree so strongly with what Pabitra says above. That is, people who wait to do something large-scale often miss many chances to do small effective things, including small effective things that could, upon success, be scaled up.
      • Dec 5 2013: I totally agree with you Fritzie, Umar, Colleen, Pabitra; things should be done in order to achieve big and small changes; but it is certaintly much easier to start at your own house, saving water, planting trees, separating garbage. However, most people talk about doing all these but never actually DO it. Or others just go on pretending that someone, somehow will make a change.
        So it is important not only to have the information, but tu USE it... and wisely. However I still insist that, even if most people do not apply their knowledge, the more people that have this knowledge, the more that will apply it... It is pretty confusing to read, I hope you understand it hahaha.
        In conclusion, if we all make small changes, I believe it will certaintly have a really big effect on the big picture.
        • thumb
          Dec 5 2013: Your words are not confusing at all. I don't know if it is true, though, that most people talk about doing these things but don't do them. Lots of people recycle and are conscious of water use, and I wouldn't be surprised if it actually is most people. Further, one of our TED talks (I regret I don't remember which) offers evidence that the most effective way of convincing people to conserve energy is to show them their neighbors are doing it!
  • thumb
    Dec 3 2013: It is difficult to agree/disagree without a proper definition of Education. In the mainstream form of Education, it may not be answer to all our problems, rather it can be somewhat of a problem for a person who wants to think radically and futuristically.
    Without emphasis on philosophy and ethics, Education is like a knife handed over to a child.
  • thumb
    Dec 2 2013: I reject the term 'education' because it is related to institutional learning where knowledge can be filtered to serve the needs and interests of those in charge of that education rather than the interests and needs of the student.

    I would suggest that knowledge - the process of understanding and comprehension - would offer a better fit to your question.

    But having said that, I like to make a distinction between two very commonly used terms to denote a persons knowledge on a particular subject, namely smart and stupid. those who 'know better' and operate within the framework of that knowledge can be deemed 'smart'. Those who 'know better' but refuse to operate within the framework of that knowledge and insist on continuing with the same old prejudices, opinions and beliefs that they have held onto forever can be deemed 'stupid'.

    And sadly, when you get 'stupid' people in government or any position of power and influence all the education and knowledge in the world is not going to matter when the stupid are in control.
  • Nov 30 2013: Hi Dear Olivia Suarez:).I like the topic you offering here.Indeed education is deemed to be a better society,life necessar.But you know there is an old saying from China:成也萧何败也萧何.It was from a very famous story which happened in ancient China.I am keen on education.But as much as I do teaching job at school,I reflect myself and observe students grwoing carefully in my teaching.I found good education can help young children growing healthy,but bad education is totally a disaster for us to be suffered sooner or later.So I totally agree with you:Education is the answer to all of our problems.It means good education can get problems be solved,But bad educaiton can be a reason to explain where come those problems are.
    • Dec 2 2013: Of course, Dear Edulover learner, when I say education I refer to good education. I am really glad you agreed with me!
  • thumb
    Nov 29 2013: Olivia, I support education and think it necessary and those who have it are at great advantage .. however, because you went to the right schools, had the advantages in life of wealth and position does not translate to either common sense or good intentions. As a example Bill Clinton and JFK both highly educated kept their brains in their zipper area but rose to the top.

    All of the problems that you discuss are "green" issues. There are all sorts of problems being solved everyday in many areas ... not as many as you would like in the "green" area. President Obama sank billions of tax payers dollars into Solarentra Solar Systems ... it was political pay off ... they immediately split the money .. closed doors ... and laughed all the way to the bank. Wind and solar have not proven effective or cost efficient ... until they do MOST of the movement will not be taken seriously. To stop using coal causes more issues than it solves.

    The answer is money. When a effective and cost acceptable solution is derived at the money will show up to fund and market it.

    But this is about education .... of and by itself education can only do so much .... Example: Years ago in Arizona we had a brilliant scholar in the law school named Klarr ... he was the rising star ... he had zero social graces ... talked with his mouth full .... picked his nose ... scratched where it itched ... you get the picture ... the leaders found another rising star.

    As Fritzie pointed out .... it is a combination of education, experiences, values, goals, and the opportunity to succeed which often is reduced to funding.

    I wish you well. Bob.
  • thumb
    Nov 28 2013: A quick thought; in our society being educated is based on what university you went, and mainly focused on IQ.
    I think development of our EQ should be equally important in formal education, so not only having a lot of theoretical knowledge solves problems, also being able to be empathic, understanding, respectfull to me is important in order to adress the problems you're pointing out.
    • thumb
      Dec 2 2013: I agree Mike. What if we made "kindness education" (things like gratitude, compassion, forgiveness) a part of mainstream curriculum? I have been working passionately on this idea the past year and just released a short to the upcoming feature film, "Making Man…Kind":

      It is my belief that we (human-kind) all have kindness within us, and that to be kind (compassionate, grateful etc) is a choice…and possibly a skill we can develop.

      As much as technology in some ways can keep us from making personal contact with each other…it can also be used to connect us…as we are right now. Having grown up with technology, perhaps the millennium generation can be encouraged to choose to use it to spread a positive message. This is my hope; that we can empower youthful change-makers to help redesign education so that learning to COUNT…it's just numbers & mathematics.
      • thumb
        Dec 2 2013: Hi Julia, I understand is that EQ (opposed to IQ which apperently is pretty much fixed at birth) is a skill that actually can be developed over life. It's pretty crazy how simple too.
        David Servan-Schreiber describes how to train EQ with cognitive exercises (book: Instinct to Heal), basically creating a balance between the rational part of your brain and the emotional (primoral) brain through, for example, monitored eyemovents or breathing to reach a coherent heart rythm. Might be from a different angle (fighting depression, or cope with trauma) but the body and soul are very much connected and maybe these treatments could be somehow designed into basic essential parts of health-education?
        Keep up the good work! ;)
  • Nov 25 2013: I don't agree that in every situation if a individual is given the needed information the problem can be solved, there's always unstoppable forces that could theoretically appear and no amount of knowledge could prevent that. I'm assuming you weren't speaking of apocalyptic situations but there's a lot of variables here i don't understand.
    Who has the knowledge to teach the whole world about all of our problems and ways to fix them? The idea that the world would strive for a greater understanding and try and fix all our problems is outstanding but also very unrealistic. With the internet and all of the technology our world has a majority of the world could in theory accomplish this goal but yet its just not happening.
    • Nov 26 2013: Yet, if people were given an education which encourages them to learn more and which implants curiosity in them, most people, not all of them, but most people would learn more and this knowledge would change their way of thinking and acting, obviously. I know that reaching this is very difficult but, hypothetically speaking, this would really help, right?
  • Nov 25 2013: Each problem? Every problem? Which problems? Some of your examples seem to say propaganda is needed. Sometimes that is true.
    • Nov 26 2013: I know, but that is also what I am asking. What problems could not be solved by education? Or at least help to reduce them?
      • Nov 27 2013: Sometimes people know better and do something negative anyway That was my concern.
        • Nov 27 2013: Yes of course! That, I know. And there is no solution for that, unfortunately. But at least more people would know and so more will care, even if many of them don't.
  • Comment deleted

  • Dec 6 2013: The answer is complex and multifaceted and requires ALOT of resources (i.e. time, money, and manpower). This is particularly true in communities that are significantly impacted by poverty. I would suggest you look into the work of Geoffrey Canada. He has a TED talk and he is the founder and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone. His effort has generated much enthusiasm, funding, and second order change that not-so-ironically has resulted in kids in one of the poorest communities of the US achieving at very high levels. His work is so great that the president of the United States has endorsed his work and has committed tens of millions of dollars for similar communities to replicate his work.

    The basic idea? Bring the "perks" that well off kids have to the kids who are poor. Bring them health care, bring them parenting support, bring them better teachers, bring them better programs, give them access to the best technologies, bring them the best in nutrition...and start providing these kinds of services from the moment the child is born.

    I work in the poorest zip code in my state. I am currently leading an effort to do this kind of work. The first thing I did is start talking about it, kind of like I am here with you (and whoever else is reading). You will find that people are chomping at the bit to be part of this work, but many times don't follow through. You've got to be the one who follows through. Once enough people believe whole heartedly the same things you do you have to raise money. This can be federal money, or private do this work you need resources like I mentioned previously.

    RIght now our partners are collaborating to apply for, and have a good chance of receiving, half a million dollars to get started. It's exciting, but there are also high levels of accountability. If what you can do what you say you can do then you will most likely continue to receive funding. Anyway...Just one man's opinion :)
  • Dec 4 2013: No,Education is not the answer to all the problems , but it is the beginning of all the problems.

    Read the story below :

    Once in a forest all the lions decided that one lion should go to the newly opened school in some far away land and there get the good education so that he be called a educated lion.

    The lion went to school and after one year completing his studies he returned to his own forest.When he came back his home coming was celebrated with much fanfare.

    Next day along with all the lions he went deep inside the forest in search of food.At the end of the day all the lions met at their meeting place and then asked the educated lion , how was your experience about preying the food after your education.

    He sad I am hungry. All the lions looked at him echoed together . Didn't you find any thing in the forest ? What were you doing ?

    One old and wise lion asked him what you were thinking while preying for the food.

    Then he narrated the whole story...

    I saw a beautiful zebra . But, the moment I was about pounce on him , I started to think what was taught in the school like ; the speed of the lion while pouncing on his prey is xyz km/hr,the lion used abc calories of energy, the lion moves his legs in xyz angles and million other things which were taught in the school.

    As I was thinking all this I lost my focus and gone away the zebra !!

    The wise lion said , things which you are talking about is , we don't know them neither we are aware of it . But,when whenever we see our prey we just get into action without knowing all the facts and figures which you are talking.
  • thumb
    Dec 3 2013: I agree with you all that we should continue with making small changes. I am concerned with these not turning into big changes and not impacting the bigger picture.
    • thumb
      Dec 3 2013: What have we got to lose Umar?

      I believe that small things done with lots of love is contagious:>)
  • thumb
    Dec 3 2013: 'Culture' eats education for lunch....
    Cultural mores and definitions of success trump potentially enlightened education through technology, labor saving devises and momentary pleasures.
    Global warming meaning nothing less than our life styles are on trial..... yet few are willing to make any changes...
    Thus 'culture' eats education for lunch...and nothing will significantly change until we have no options.
    Our stupidity proceeds us.
    • thumb
      Dec 3 2013: You make a good point, Craig, that culture permeates our lives and specifically what we bring to our life's experiences- to education as well as to other human interactions and personal decisions. The effects of context and culture are too often ignored as well as the effectiveness of any institution or potential institution as an antidote.
      • thumb
        Dec 3 2013: I agree Fritzie, that the effects of context and culture are too often ignored regarding effectiveness in situations. If we start paying attention, and become more aware, perhaps we can become more beneficially effective as a global community?
        • thumb
          Dec 3 2013: It is possible that it is part of human nature to look for a single thing or person to blame when things are not going right or to look for a single magic tool to fix it.

          In Daniel Kahneman's Nobel address he shares that his and other scholars' research shows that no matter how aware we are and attentive to the fact of cognitive biases, we remain victims of them.

          An appreciation that human systems, ecosystems, and so forth are, in fact, complex would be productive for those who work at solving challenging problems and for those who could support those efforts.
      • thumb
        Dec 3 2013: IF it is part of human nature to look for a single thing or person to blame when things are not going as we expected Fritzie, then perhaps it is time for the "nature" of humans to change! Personally, I learned as a child to take responsibility for choices and decisions I made in the life adventure, so I do not look for someone or something to blame.

        I do not agree that it is human nature to seek "a single magic tool to fix it". Based on what we have seen throughout history, humans have the capabilities to research, explore, evaluate, pursue, and imagine, with patience, a lot of things outside the category of "magic tool".

        I respect Daniel Kahneman and his research Fritzie, however, I do not believe we are destined to remain victims of biases. In my perception, biases are learned beliefs/behaviors, and perhaps it is time for humans to move beyond those ideas, which do not serve us well as a global community.
      • thumb
        Dec 3 2013: Fritzie,
        I just had another thought and question.....

        How does it serve humanity to hang onto a belief like you mention...
        " It is possible that it is part of human nature to look for a single thing or person to blame when things are not going right or to look for a single magic tool to fix it."

        Honestly Fritzie, I am not one to blindly accept information no matter WHO the researcher is....even Kahneman! LOL:>)

        I have a few experiences of my own which show me something different....
        I was told that because of degenerative disc dis-ease in the spine, diagnosed 35 years ago, I would probably be disabled within a short time.

        I was told that because of a near fatal brain injury, I would not function "normally" ever again.

        Neither of these well established, researched prognosis are true.

        I educated myself outside the researchers established "box", and I believe this is possible in many situations.
        • thumb
          Dec 3 2013: I think understanding human nature, which is something on which some researchers focus and which we all do informally as part of developing a "theory of mind," is useful in considering our own thinking and in working collaboratively with others.

          I think most people, actually, do not blindly accept the information that comes before them to consider. And many do not accept any ideas or findings contrary to their preexisting beliefs or what serves their interests. These ideas too happen to be addressed by Kahneman and others and may align with many a person's informal observations..
  • thumb
    Dec 2 2013: Thank you Mike! And I will check out David's work. Maybe we can speak to him for our film. To me it makes logical sense that any thing we practice…can potentially become habit. That is why my journey this past year started with founding where we encourage people to create a habit of gratitude with a 21-day habit of gratitude challenge. I realize that there is no actual evidence that a new habit can develop in 21 days….but it a good start. : )
  • thumb
    Dec 1 2013: I think 'how we define education' can be an answer to most of our problems. 'Lifestyle' might play a huge role, its true that people mostly go after things that is encouraged by society and also dwell in doing things that might have least interference or might go unnoticed or judged; doesn't mean we restrict freedom but if we encourage a lifestyle on secular and economic grounds, we might as well ease people's understandability to accept problem solving ideas
  • Nov 29 2013: Education is important but there is a need to change the culture and the tribal drives that are embedded into our psyche.
  • thumb
    Nov 28 2013: Exactly, education is the ultimate and perfect solution to all our problems. But the problem comes is what about the third world countries like Afghanistan? There are no educational opportunities for the people of Afghanistan. Suppose if there are schools, then there are no teachers in that school.
    • Nov 30 2013: Afghanistan's present status is from their own education too.
      • thumb
        Nov 30 2013: This is what I am trying to highlight that Afghanistan has extremely poor education system. There are no schools and teachers in Afghanistan due to illiteracy. Anyway, hope for the best..
        • Dec 2 2013: I agree with you, Abdul. Third world coutries, like Afghanistan, are a real concern when considering the implementation of education; because I know that it is really difficult to achieve a good education in places like Afghanistan.
          I don't know how this problem could be solved, but, definitely, more effort and energy should be put in this theme so that every country has the right education. And also, international help would be needed.
          But then, if the rest of the world had a good education, which teaches not only numbers, but also about the situation in countries like Afghanistan, and encourages communitary service, kindness, and helping others, then more people would go to teach to schools in Afghanistan, for example, for volunteers. And maybe, and just maybe, problems of this kind would gradually disappear.