I walked by an old woman, in traditional dress sitting outside of her home, and noticed that she was sending a message to someone on Whatsapp. My two year old daughter can open my phone’s photo album and scan through the pictures. Google is launching weather balloons that can provide Wi-Fi and the Bolivian government is investing in internet connectivity. Technology is so user friendly that it is becoming intuitive; and so accessible that it is becoming invisible.
But technology doesn’t help when it has rained for two weeks straight during the Andean dry season. Alpacas are dying off because the snow covers their pastures. The rain brings blights to the potato and wheat crops that need to be harvested. In the communities that have maintained and practice their traditional knowledge, they harvested early because the clouds and animals told them that rain was coming. Where that knowledge has been lost, the agriculture suffers.
But even knowledge of the clouds doesn’t help when we look at the glaciers. They are melting. And as Oren Lyons has said, “the faster they melt, the faster the melt.” The first glaciers to disappear are/will be the tropical glaciers. The Andes. These are the source of water for a region that survives on agriculture. We will need critical and creative thinkers to create innovative solutions to such an enormous problem.
So things are changing. There are new, unprecedented obstacles.
But we can’t confront them when our lives are clouded with physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. We can’t confront them when our minds are more focused on accumulation, ego, and bottom lines than generosity, reciprocity, and well-being.
Therefore, this is where we work. In all of these seemingly separate realms.
We focus on what we teach (academics and applied technology), but also where (culturally based lessons), why (personal, social, and environmental values), and how (critical and creative thinking through fun activities). Furthermore, we keep parents involved to provide a stable foundation and a deeper reach.
Things are changing, and we need all the tools available, and the creativity to use them in new ways in order to respond and create a more compassionate, healing world.