Leaders and real world problems

My new work arrangements are in a state of evolution. For the last 40 years I have been part of organisations, some of them very large. Now, I am an organisation of one! As I reflect on last week’s activities, I realise how lucky I am to have taken this opportunity.

From Monday to Thursday I was working in an AusAID funded project masterminded by my friend and colleague, Jack Frawley. This involved me in working with 8 leaders from Kiribati – 5 in education and 3 in NGOs, as they developed a plan for an action project on their return home after a six week learning experience in Australia. The experience of working with people whose lives, and those of their children, are at the mercy of rising sea levels made the message of climate change very real for me. As they addressed their powerless state – in the face of developed nations who keep burning fossil fuels while Kiribati slowly succumbs to rising sea levels – they were often moved to tears, especially as they considered what the future holds in store for their children.The highest point in Kiribati is 4 metres above sea level. Some estimates indicate that sea level will rise by 2 metres in under 20 years.This won’t leave much of Kiribati! I owe my iKiribati colleagues a great debt for their sharing.

The plight of nations like Kiribati is grave, and urgent. And it is, like the canary in the mine, a warning to all of us who share this planet. Climate change creates a major challenge for us as educators. How can we sensitise our students to this very pressing reality? How can we contribute to a change of mind and heart in our developed world before it is too late?

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