If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I Tweet a fair amount about climate change, and how it’s something that we’re going to need to help our kids cope with on all sorts of different levels. From where I sit, this is now the work of schools, engaging students in the important questions we face and helping them develop the skills and dispositions to answer them and problem solve their way through it. I think of my own kids in this regard all the time. Are they ready? Will they flourish? Will the enjoy their lives?
We work closely with clients and collaborators on projects that acknowledge the reality of our rapidly changing times, designing with and for uncertainty, instead of resisting it.
“A world in flux” feels totally right. Cultures around the globe are colliding with “historically unprecedented force.” We now have “local and global crises arising daily from our collective inability to deal with ever-faster change.” Political upheaval, racial tensions, economic uncertainty…I can’t think about it too long before I start feeling queasy.
But I do think about it. And we need to think about it with kids in our schools as well. We need to “acknowledge the reality of our rapidly changing times…instead of resisting it” in our classrooms, for the sake of our kids.
For instance, Superflux is thinking about “mitigation of shock” that will no doubt occur as the globe heats up.
The disconnect between scientific, data driven predictions of global warming, and the lack of immediately visible signs contributes to a space of cognitive dissonance, its implications unsettling and ominous. But it is also a space which offers the opportunity to confront our fears, to experiment with ways in which the shocks of the impact of climate change can be mitigated. It is in this space that we at Superflux have situated our research and design project: Mitigation of Shock. We want to conduct experimental design responses to first world disasters that are likely to happen in the near future, by prototyping alternatives today. Tools, methods, materials and commons that individuals can learn, use and share in order to gain agency and capacity to mitigate the shock of climate change.
Tell me, why wouldn’t that be a worthwhile goal and challenge for our students? To “gain agency and capacity to mitigate the shock” of what is almost undeniably coming their way?
I know that these are difficult subjects to discuss with kids. But we resist at their and our peril. And we’ll all be better served if the next generation is comfortable (as it can be), engaged, and capable with embracing uncertainty head on.
Asking questions that we don’t know the answers to would seem a logical place to start.