Earlier this month, Satish Kumar, one of Schumacher College‘s founders, was invited to Rome for two days of talks focussed on the climate emergency ahead of COP26. In his words, Satish tells us about the event:

It was an absolute honour to be invited to Rome for these two intensive talks. The first was a ‘Faith and Science: Towards COP26’ where I was invited to represent my religion, the JAIN Community. This was incredible as it was the first time people from all religions and scientists have gathered together like this. The pope said that we all have to transcend our divisions and interests in order to get together and protect our common home, the earth. We can only do this together, united.

In my speech I talked about the Jain tradition and how our highest principle is non-violence, non-violence to ourselves, non-violence to other people and non-violence to nature. This is crucial for us all to adopt if we are to survive. We all have to take the Hippocratic oath that we should ‘do no harm’. Pollution and waste is a violence against nature. By harming and damaging nature, we are harming and damaging ourselves. We need to start thinking differently.

And education plays a big part in this change of thinking. The second event I was part of was discussing the role education needs to play in tackling the climate emergency. This is also something I feel passionate about, and a core belief we have at Schumacher College. The education system we have is out of date. It was established when economic gain was the main agenda and nature was seen as a resource, and it’s still being used now. But nature is not a resource, it’s the source of life and we need to make education more nature centred, to train our young people to think about it differently. We need to consider how we can use the gifts of nature in a cyclical way, and put back what we take without waste or pollution.

Serious change needs to take place in order to protect our common home and I feel heartened to see people putting aside differences and uniting in order to instigate and facilitate this change.