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Walking around, observing, discovering

Walking around, observing, discovering

PRIMARY SCHOOL OF PLATANIA-CHANIA -CRETE
In these times of thoughtless, greedy people who show no respect for nature in order to satisfy their excessive requirements, this respect and adjusting to the rhythm of Mother Earth is not only necessary but –one would say- a compulsory art.
Humans , by blindly following the contemporary consumerism model , have paid too much attention to themselves and have underestimated every other living creature. The trees, the animals, whole stretches of land are only of short- term financial value obeying to the unnatural rule of sustainable development. Have you ever seen a tree bearing fruit all year round or animals- among those consumed by man- to bear new breed continuously?
Even away from grotesque city centres, even in our land, man has trapped himself in front of a “screen” and the models projected by the recommended , so-called modern “life style”. These people, living in the capital of consumerism, a model of pollution and “enslavement”, do not hesitate to kill and steal without second thoughts in order to obtain and store more and more goods.
All this is going on in the 21st century after ages of history which, unfortunately haven’t been turned into valuable experience so that the mistakes of the past can be avoided.
Faster and faster, more and more, today’s excessive consumer runs for time, thinking that wearing a watch means controlling time, and the future holds no more surprises . Exactly as is expected from the selfish being he has been turned into, he ignores the importance of other living creatures without ever even wondering what purpose they might serve on this earth. Some animals he calls pets, changes their true nature, and enslaves them in order to enjoy their sad, barren warmth and comfort.
We have come to eat products (plants and animals) whose source and origin we do not know. We have surrendered food producing in the hands of strangers , we have totally ignored opportunities based on food and food production, we have become lazy and allow ourselves to eat food which has travelled over “the seven seas” before reaching our plate. We have come to regard it a shame and disgrace to be a child of “Demeter” the ancient goddess of agriculture – farmers in other words. This is why we refuse to convey – if they are not forgotten- all the centuries-old knowledge on agriculture to our children- you see, they will become top models, showmen, advertisers, managers and company directors. This oblivion and our thoughtless addiction to consumerism have led us to “abnormal” desires and requirements : we want to enjoy water melons in winter, apples in summer and we now eat meat coming from animals which are grown with hormones and which animals are “cooped up” in a tiny space where they can hardly move. Our artificial “needs” have nothing to do with the natural “come and go” of the seasons and we have come to the point when we experience warm Decembers and when the percentage of extinction of certain species is the highest and quickest since the age of dinosaurs.
Now, in this miserable situation we have led ourselves , the time has come for all of us to think and reconsider. The arrogant selfish being we have become must decide . Shall we go on believing in artificial heavens ? Shall we build prisons for ourselves enjoying an artificial nature leading to our own destruction , or shall we realise that all creatures are closely connected and our survival depends on the well-being and survival of other species? Shall we choose to become an “artist of life” rather than a destroyer ?
And how do we explain all this to our children ? How can we inform them of the future we have prepared for them ? The only way to do this is to look deep inside our heart , find a tiny root of inspiration that might be left , and plant it. Let’s bring back memories of our childhood , moments of sorrow or happiness, and show them the way.
It is vital for teachers –or anyone else capable of doing so- to teach children environmental awareness. This should be taught, neither in the confinement of classroom walls nor through boring school books , but mainly live in the environment itself, in the real essence of the word :out in the open where all the senses can take in and converse with nature and the unspoilt environment – where the various sounds, scents and colours seem to tell you all these wonderful stories , where you can set your soul free to enjoy all this beauty, where your spirit becomes optimistic once again, away from the busy , cement covered cities.
What if I’m an adult now and feel safe in my convictions and beliefs ? Just watching young children having fun in the park helps me relax and remember my childhood and enjoy myself – on one condition : that I will allow them to enjoy all this wonder and not destroy it.
This is a lesson we were taught on our visit to the park . The Botanical Park of Crete is the result of the inspiration of the Marinakis Brothers based on an idea that they had after a huge fire that destroyed the whole area around the park. We read on a sign as we were touring the park the following : “It took seven million years….”