The world has lost a great man. Most of you surely more or less know the history of Nelson Mandela and his combat for racial equality in South Africa. As Barack Obama put it in his tribute to the former South African president, “Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real.” A problem we often face is people believing in ideals, voicing out their opinions but never acting and daring to actually make things happen. If you want to make a change in the world there’s no other path: you need to act. But what should you do?
A famous quote of Nelson Mandela goes as follows, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Climate change, environmental degradation, HIV/AIDS among others are plagues which are affecting our world today and all around the world people are carrying on projects to try solve those problems. However, as Albert Einstein so beautifully put it, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible but it’s really difficult for people who created a problem to solve it because changing one’s mindset is not an easy process. Carrying on projects to address the world’s problems traps us in a vicious circle. Implementing a coral farming project to rehabilitate corals is good. But what if people just come and start destroying corals again? What shall we do then? Implement a new coral farming project? Not a sustainable approach you’ll agree.
Some will talk about sensitization. Sensitizing people about various issues is good. It can yield great results but still, changing the habits of a grown-up person is really hard. Instilling a new habit in a kid will yield much greater results. So what can we do?
We need to educate our youths. They are the future. If a kid is taught about the importance of protecting corals from an early age – not through books but by actually seeing the beauty of corals, seeing how they attract fish, how the lives of fishermen depend on them, this kid is never going to walk on corals and destroy them.
Ever asked yourself why we run so many environmental projects at ELI Africa? Yes, of course, we love our country and want to protect its environment but more importantly, through those environmental projects, we want to empower our kids and give them the tools necessary to take stewardship of their country’s environment. To make sure that happens, we don’t only tell but we also show.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.