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Sustainable Paths

Connecting to the World

One difficulty people face when contemplating sustainability is the increasing awareness that almost all aspects of our modern lifestyles are highly consumptive. Should we not take that family ski trip because of the fossil fuels needed make the ski gear and get us to the slopes? Should a student not pursue a foreign exchange program because of the plane ride to China? Or row crew because the team travels to Florida for pre-season training over spring break? People can easily become overwhelmed by the burden of their personal carbon footprint and conclude that a sustainable lifestyle means sitting at home with the lights off.

By contrast, research over many decades has shown important benefits of people getting out into world. People who feel personally connected to nature also are more likely to take steps to preserve our environment. Those exposed to other cultural perspectives are more likely to think globally. When evaluating educational opportunities for your child, don’t feel shy about considering programs that will broaden their horizons and inspire them to make a difference in the world around them. Today’s students must become tomorrow’s creative, passionate leaders who will generate new ideas for accomplishing more with less. In the meantime, remember that sustainability is not an all or nothing concept. Small lifestyle changes can add up to significant change.

Jeremy McGeorge is Bertram’s sustainable education “guru.” He also specializes in serving families whose children need therapeutic services as part of their educational plan. He can be reached