Sustainability has gained a lot of attention over the past few decades, particularly in relation to protecting the natural environment and stemming the fast pace of climate change ensuing in natural/ human-made disasters across the globe. The general focus of sustainability is on the physical change in the Earth’s atmosphere because of polluting emissions and various types of avoidable human activities largely driven by greed and avarice.
Despite the hype surrounding the topic, little has been done so far, especially in highlighting the linkages of sustainability with the mental health of humans in their modern lives full of stress, anxiety, and depression. Instances of wars, mass shootings, gun violence, suicides, and domestic violence are on a phenomenal rise worldwide. Clearly, the current curricula have failed to make people understand that humans are themselves a small part of nature and any violent action against any other part of nature (including other humans, animals, flora and fauna) boomerangs upon themselves in many ways, and lack of mental peace/ uncontrollable anger is just one of them.
The advancements in science and technology during the past century has allowed humans to believe as if they are “conquering” nature. The arrogance resulting out of this mindset makes humans act against nature with impunity while forgetting that they are themselves part of nature. They need to be reminded of their place in this gigantic universe through definitions like this one given by Nobel Laureate Carl Sagan – "Science is more than a body of knowledge. It's a way of thinking, a way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility."
Similarly, the dominant philosophies guiding the contemporary curricula based upon competition and ‘survival of the fittest’ need to be realigned with futuristic new philosophies in which sustainability becomes a catalyst of change. The interconnections of life cycles between humans, plants, animals, and the larger eco-system need to be explained in this new context. The devastations caused by violence in every form must be understood from this perspective of sustainability.
By keeping sustainability at its heart – all streams of knowledge at World Curriculum are being realigned to inculcate the virtue of ‘empathy’ not only between humans but all interactions of humans with the natural environment in its totality. The narrative glorifying valor (that the conquerors of lands were ‘great’ or ‘brave and courageous’) in unleashing oppression on the native populations and the natural environment, is being replaced with underscoring the adverse impact these conquests have had on the minds and souls of the people along with devastations brought on these geographies at various levels.
A novel course on Life Management through Sustainability at World Curriculum helps in developing a new perspective to setting life goals and mission. The focal point in this course is to allow the learners to realize the great fortune of witnessing the human life in this humongous universe, which does not seem to have any other place apart from the Earth with similar life forms. A sense of continual gratitude to nature for blessing them with such a bounty of experiences is inculcated. Simultaneously, the virtue of empathy is aroused in their minds for every aspect of nature. Finally, a sense of humility is instilled in the minds so that people may continue their never-ending quest for knowledge just like the Greek Philosopher Socrates, who despite being considered the wisest person of his time, claimed – “All I know is that I know nothing.”
World Curriculum helps in gradually transforming the individual, local, national and international identities (full of arrogance and ego) with the identity of nature (the collective cosmic identity full of humility and empathy), thus relieving individuals of the stresses and anxieties of modern life while opening new vistas for experiencing eternal heavenly bliss on the planet Earth.