Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Environment: Culture and Sustainability: Guiding our children to the Good Life in a changing environment (20 scenarios)

Paper presented by Dr Abe V Rotor, UST


1. Our children’s development depends largely on interrelated factors and stages:
              1. genetic (inherited)
              2. fetal (in the womb)
              3. childhood (environment & training)
              4. lifestyle (influence of society)
Like a house these are the 4 posts –pillars of our children’s personality and well-being.
2. Our children are likely to affected by "Your head is in the cloud" syndrome. - Inundated by more information than they can possibly hold in their heads, they’re increasingly handing off the job of remembering to search engines and smart phones.

 Never mind memorizing the multiplication table, or Mendeleev's Periodic Table of Elements. Spelling  of a word, its homonym, antonym? Check it out on  the computer. Assignment? Search, download, print, submit - just don't forget to place your name. Psychologists proposed a new term - transactive memory, a prelude to blending natural and artificial intelligence.

3. Our children are becoming more and more transient in domicile where work may  require, and for personal reasons, and when given the choice and opportunity in a global perspective.
“Citizen of the world” is a person without a specific country.  He is rootless, baseless, transient. Compared,  humans since creation live together under a specific culture.

4. Our children face more frequent, and deeper, forms of stress. People with higher levels of education and in higher status occupations and higher income are experiencing higher levels of stressors. 
Success can make life harder if you are driven, work-devoted that high status persons tend to be. Mental and physical health benefits associated with greater affluence fade away. It is harder to cope with stress when you have reached the top of your career.    
5. Our children face – more than we do today - the consequences of  loss of privacy and secrecy.  “There is no place you can remain with comfortable anonymity.”

Wikileak unveiled classified information about the Iraq and Afghanistan war.  DNA test proves real parental lineage. Bank secrecy laws and safeguards are changing.  Citizens claim their right to access to hidden financial transactions.
6. Our children will face deprivation of natural beauty and bounty with the unabated  shrinking wildlife, conversion of farms and pastures into settlements, and destruction of natural habitats and ecosystems. The challenge to restore nature will be placed in their care.  
  Canned Nature” (delata) – pseudo Nature Centers.  Gubat sa Siyudad, Fantasyland, Ocean Park, Disneyland, Eco Village, zoos, botanical gardens. 

7. Our children are at the frontline and center of people’s revolution spreading worldwide. 
Arab Spring is sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, so with the escalating unrest questioning the present world order. All over US the young are angry at the inability of government and capitalism to narrow down economic inequity. Occupy Wall Street! is the battle cry.  Syria is sitting on  social volcano.  Greece, Italy, Spain, once world powers in their own time are undergoing a similar revolution.  

8. Our children will be part of devolution of power, decentralization of authority, and will be part of a new breed of more dedicated leaders.
Children hold the key to change. It’s the Little Prince that changed and saved the pilot in an ill-fated plane crash in Sahara.

9. Our children face acculturation and inter racial marriages.  Mélange of races is on the rise – Eurasian, Afro-American, Afro-Asian,  etc. – a homogenization process that reduces as a consequence, the diversity and vigor, of gene pools. 
The benefits – economic,  cultural and scientific - may not hold in the long run. Homogenization leads to narrowing down of the gene pool, and may threaten races and ultimately the species.  

10. Our children may find themselves in a new norm of living alone. Solitary living is spreading all over the world, the biggest social change that has been long undermined. 
Living solo is highest in Sweden (47%), followed by Britain (37%), Japan, Italy, US, Canada, Russia, South Africa, Kenya, and Brazil (10%). Living alone may help people pursue modern values - individual freedom, and self realization – but detrimental to health and happiness, and in the long run, to the  community and nation. It could lead to more, and deeper, gender problems mainly on homosexuality.
11. Our children may find themselves among the increasing rank of the Nones - people who have no religious affiliation, rejecting organized religion as being rigid and dogmatic -  hoping to eventually find the right religious home.
It is a kind of freedom to feel more devoted to God, of moving away from the problems of the church, and money-making religions. However, this could lead to deeper consequences since such loss may include loss of faith in other institutions. 

12. Recycling the Suburbs. Environmentalists will celebrate the demise of sprawling suburbs, which left nations addicted to cars. Infrastructures will be converted in favor of "green", town centers, public libraries, museums, sports centers, parks.

More and more countries are imposing regulation to green the cities, from sidewalks to rooftops. Hanging Gardens of Babylon, anyone? If this was one of the wonders of the ancient world, why certainly we can make a replicate - perhaps a bigger one - given all our modern technology and enormous available capital.

13. Our children face the age of singularity  whereby human and artificial intelligence are integrated.  Robotics robs human of his rights and freedom – new realm of curtailment and suppression. (2045 – The Year Man Becomes Immortal – Time Magazine). This is falsehood!

14. Our children will continue looking for the missing links of science, history, religion, astronomy etc., among them the source of life itself and its link with the physical world.
Linking of disciplines, narrowing down the gaps of specializations, is vital in the making of a new culture. 
15. Our children will witness in their time the beginning of a post-capitalism order, environmental revolution, rise of growth centers and shift in economic dominance and order, more green technologies, and space exploration.
Success of China, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany, Vietnam, has opened other post-capitalism models. 

16. Our children, as they grow old,  will be living in an aging society, and learn to age gracefully themselves.  They will find , and become part of the Aging Niche.
Longevity is increasing all over the world: the average age of a Japanese is 78 years,  the American 75 or 76 years. We are quite close to China with at least 70 years.¨Niche communities are where people as they advance in age opt to grow old alongside others who share a specific interest.
17. Our children will carry on a lifestyle "Handprints, not Footprints“. They will carry on this way of caring the Earth which we started.

They will reduce the impact of living against the environment - less CO2, less CFC, less non-biodegradables and other synthetics, less pesticides, etc. On the other side of the equation would be the number of trees they plant, their savings on electricity and water. Lesser pollutants, if not arresting pollution itself - and the like. Our children will clean the land, water and air we the generation before littered.  They will heal the earth we defaced, damaged. 

18. Our children will fit into any society where racism and apartheid had once divided people because of the  color of their skin and region of origin.

Today colored athletes dominate many sports, many are great leaders of states and movements. Kopi Annan, an African, served the UN for many years, Kenyan Wangari planted millions of trees.  Both are Nobel Prize recipients. President Obama of the US, and the living hero of South Africa, Nelson Mandela are the world’s most popular leaders today. Man is created equal beneath their skin, and in fact, by circumstance, the colored races have proved superiority over the non-colored: in schools, scientific discoveries, business, technology - name it and you have a colored standing out.

19. Our children will realize and enjoy the benefits that  jobs are assets. A sampling of fast-growing occupations - Actuaries, financial analyst, computer programmer, fitness trainer, biophysicists, translators, manicurists, marriage counselors, radiologists.

Need a design for your product? Give it to an IT graduate with a background in design. Need a kind of product or service not found in the mall or supermarket, search the Internet. Entrepreneurs have taken over much of the functions of big business. 

20. Finally, postmodernism may do more harm than good for our children in a runaway technology and culture. They cannot and will not be able to keep with the pace and direction of change.   

This is not true. “I am the master of my fate, I’s the captain of my soul.”  And this is what we  want our children to become – but only when they are CHILDREN OF NATURE. ~

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