The “Energy Conscious Age” has been with us for a generation now with New Zealand getting its first “Minister of Energy” in 1977. This period coincides with the emergence and rapid growth of the “Environmental Education Industry”. This has been accompanied by an explosion in the number of Government agencies, university departments, NGOs and companies devoted to the communication of energy efficiency, climate care and ecological stewardship. At the same time we have witnessed the fascinating phenomenon that simultaneously there has been a parallel explosion in the destruction of precious minerals and soils, unprecedented air and water pollution and increased societal inequity and debt.
It is difficult to think how could there be a cause and effect relationship when one knows so many people in the Environmental Education Industry care deeply and are passionate about reducing pollution and waste. However the existence of such a relationship could well have catastrophic consequences for humanity and so it is vital to consider this possibility. The work of identifying and ameliorating such a destructive situation is of extreme importance.
It so happens I was a meter reader or “powerman” for two decades and was thus privileged to visit tens of thousands of homes and businesses. I am also a trained teacher and I observed a vast discrepancy between what our educators believe they are teaching and what our populace actually learned.
I also witnessed firsthand how our prime symbols were re-engineered over the decades so they served the short-term interests of sector interests. Now throughout those decades I considered myself caring and in the vanguard of the “Environmental Movement” teaching people how to ‘save/conserve energy”. Then in 2000 the realisation hit me that I had been my own worst enemy all those years, for I had been actively destroying the state of science in our communities. I was a cause of ignorance, pollution and waste.
Since then I have volunteered upwards of 25000 hours to researching how it was I had come to be my own worst enemy and how I might avoid this occurring again. Recently Celsias circulated a posting inviting us to “Tell the World about Your Story, Project or Organisation”. This inspired me to attempt to summarise my work in a short essay.
In brief, by 2000 I was concluding that our contemporary communication of the nature of energy in general and the nature of climate processes in particular is not founded in the state of science. Since then I have attended and analysed hundreds of lectures, including those of our world leading experts on “energy efficiency”, Environmental Education and climatology. Two phenomena became evident. The human psyche is very consistent. And we humans have an ingenious and incredible capacity for self-deceit.
This consistency means that every action we perform is somehow manifest in our language. The capacity for self-deceit means we are easily able to be our own worst enemies and deny the change we call for. Often these experts and their erudite audiences end up wringing their hands and asking why they fail to get their messages across to the general population. The probable answer is they communicate their messages perfectly well. However their messages are not the messages they think they are. They may well be the converse message.
The source of this confusion is the ego, which resides in all human beings. For millennia sages have advised us of its tendency to deny reality, which is the continuous universal transformation. They have advised us how and why the ego tends to abhor the notions of mortality and stewardship and suggested this is our major source of misery.
The gift, it seems, is to be able to transcend the limitations and demands of the ego and thought. The essay, titled “The Sustainability Principle of Energy and The Compassionate Curriculum (A brief Historical Overview)”, suggests that we have wise guides in the great principles of physics/psychology that enable us to establish sustaining uses of our symbols, in particular those we use to communicate the nature of energy and climate processes.
All you need to appreciate these insights is an open spirit. You do not require a powerful intellect. Most people will initially find the insights challenging, radical and most inconvenient. Always the ego will work in ingenious ways to dismiss them. Simply smile and embrace the ego with all its trickery. As you become familiar with both the Sustainability Principle and the Compassionate Curriculum you will find they are great and sustaining sources of wisdom and hope. They can enable sustainable opportunities to arise we cannot imagine.
The illustrated essay can be viewed here . Enjoy