Our world of Mankind and Nature is becoming more and more seriously threatened as human populations and profligacy increase. Yet short of near-future calamity, there should be hope in global environmental education as a basis for countering such threats as those of world hunger, acidic precipitation, increasing desertification, nuclear proliferation, ‘greenhouse’ warming, and stratospheric ozone depletion. We need to educate people throughout the world to see these dangers in their global context and to act always within this perspective — be they decision-makers, legislators, or mere private citizens. For their actions and effects compound to make up those of their pandominant species, the likes of which our unique planet Earth can surely never have experienced before, and consequently its all-important Biosphere, constituting virtually the whole of our and Nature's lifesupport, is totally unprepared to withstand.
The above means that decisions and concomitant actions at the personal level can and often do affect the globe, to however infinitesimal a degree, and of this all people on Earth should be forewarned, acting on it with clear understanding and due responsibility. Particularly North Americans should realize that their effect is disproportionately large, as they use some 36% of the world's resources although comprising only about 6% of its population. Towards remedying such anomalies and effecting an improved sharing of responsibility among all the world's human inhabitants, an urgent need is, clearly, effective global environmental education. We need a world of concerned people with the knowledge that personal decisions and local actions can affect others very widely, and that each individual human being thus has a role in furthering solutions to environmental, as well as political and social problems.
With the need for such thinking and action so clear, and the stakes so very high, why is it that global perspectives are not better integrated into today's educational system? ‘The answer is that the barriers to such integration and concomitant action are many and strong, and due understanding of holism's fundamental importance is barely beginning to sweep our prejudice-bound world.’ These barriers include lack of student interest and pertinent enrolment, lack of international perspective among teachers and in the general press, and lack of television and other news-media coverage of such real world affairs. A general obstacle lies in the tendency of educational efforts to emphasize differences rather than similarities — scarcely conducive to fostering an interdependent, one-world ethic. Yet global issues should be our ultimate consideration, and holistic practice our means of furthering them for lasting survival.
It is clear that we humans no longer have the option of foregoing a global perspective, and that there is dire need for widely-increased global environmental education to inculcate greatly-increased respect and concern for the world environment. This is brought starkly to mind on realization that practically all the horrors which now beset our world were known fairly widely already twenty years ago — including threats to the stratospheric ozone shield, the ‘greenhouse effect’ on world climate, the effects of deforestation and devegetation with ever-increasing human population pressures, and many more — and that new ones keep on emerging. These latter include build-up of nuclear-waste and other pollutions, AIDS, everincreasing acidic deposition and salinization, flooding of lowlands and other effects of climatic changes, and further foreseeable problems that are likewise of our own making in being due to human overpopulation, ignorance, and/or profligacy.