How do you see your involvement with our proposed educational media package, Sustainability – a global vision of the future?
I am very pleased to be working with you and the Global Vision team to create these 10 programmes on sustainable development, because I see them as the heart of a whole movement that can go into schools and on to television programmes and so on, and attract young people in the language that they understand, to really study what sustainable development is. It's a very, very hard subject. It's, if you like, the conjunction, the meeting point between physical science and human science. It's allowing on this small planet, human beings to live more comfortably than they do at the moment, while at the same time conserving natural resources. That's a very, very hard trick to pull off! And so we're promoting Education for Sustainable Development as a two-part GCSE examination, based on two existing curricula created by the University of Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate (UCLLES), called "Development Studies" and "Natural Economy." "Natural Economy" actually was an examination based on the Brundtland report which came before the Rio Earth Summit, but it identified the phrase "sustainable development" and explored it in extraordinarily detailed way.
So we think that doing these two things together enables young people to look at the issues involved in sustainable development and do what most kids think that school is all about, which is taking exams! Because there have been many many efforts by environmental educators and others, and governments, to sort of tack on Education for Sustainable Development onto other subjects - like they did with Environmental Education: you know, in your English class "go write a poem about a frog", or in your French class "discuss marine pollution in the Mediterranean, in French." That's no what it's about! It should be at the heart and core of the curriculum.
Our whole focus is to try and create, for children all over the world, a really fascinating, stimulating course in sustainable development, that young people from all over the world will have a hand in creating alongside their teachers, so that both teachers and students can set out on an exploratory journey to meet this – the greatest challenge of our generation – how to achieve sustainable development.
I'm very lucky to work in a youth-run organisation, in that all the people who work with me, for me, around me – or I work for them really – are young. People under that age of twenty-five now form 50% of the world's population, and it's really their responsibility and their challenge to achieve sustainable development in their lifetimes. I think that there's a huge mistake being made by people everywhere, who think that kids really can't contribute to the issues that Agenda 21 / sustainable development brings out. For example, there are kids aged 12 - 13 in Pakistan who are running schools for their peers, to teach them literacy! It's one of the most effective ways of solving the literacy problem that's ever come up. And there are kids who are doing extraordinary things all over the world, in terms of becoming leaders in environmental movements.
One of the best of these is the Peace Child / Rescue Mission Co-ordinator for Argentina, Marina Mansilla Hermann. We've had a few co-ordinators from Argentina, and they basically worked from their home town. Now Marina organised the whole of Argentina, and got young people working on sustainable development issues in all the provinces of Argentina. And in fact, when we held this conference in Hawaii, she pulled together the biggest delegation of all: 38 people came from Argentina to our conference. So that's what one 16-year old kid can do!
So I think it's really wonderful that this proposed series of 10 videos is going to be hosted by a young person, particularly the young person that you've chosen, who took the Rescue Mission Argentina network from sort of four people and a duck to several thousand people all over Argentina. She's only 16, but she is quite the most responsible and professional person that I've been allowed to work with.