So a while ago I found this mannequin (or as I like to call her, Denise) thrown away ready to be taken to the dump. I felt sorry for her so dragged her home, painted her up and decoupaged her a bit and volia! Denise the Galaxy Girl is ready to rock and/or roll!
So I made a big post about cooperative, age-appropriate games as a solarpunk education method, but in my ideal solarpunk world that would only be one aspect of education. Here are some other education ideas bouncing around in my head. Like cooperative games, they all require a lot of time, knowledgeable teachers, and community investment, but I think they would lead to healthier, enthusiastic people, fully prepared to live well and be lifelong learners.
Food Science Education: Starting at a young age with simple gardening and cooking, stuff that young kids can get really excited about. As kids age, folding in the complete science of where food comes from, its relationship with the ecosystem, how to preserve it, and how to prepare it.The idea being that by the time you’re an adult you should have the tools to competently feed yourself even if you end up focusing on other things.
Relationship Education: An improvement on sex ed. Much of the same content, but expanded with more information for all genders and sexualities, and good, non-scare tactic science on the human body, reproduction, contraceptives, stds, and common communicable illnesses. Also, workshops on healthy relationship communication, self-care, meditation/introspection/self-knowledge, basic first aid, how to help friends in the midst of crisis or mental illness, how to recognize predatory/manipulative/abusive behaviors (in sexual situations and otherwise oh my god it’s so important, why aren’t we taught this early and often?), some basic childhood development stuff.
Artistic Expression & Upcycling: Art classes which would cover art theory and allow for a lot of self-expression, but would also teach young adults to make and repair their own clothing, use basic woodworking tools, work with ceramics, safely fiddle with metals and basic electronics, and other practical “specialty” skills necessary for a world with less waste.
Rotating Apprenticeships: Starting out as small group field trips for younger kids, and evolving into longer choice-based apprenticeships in areas of interest, maybe taking up one day per week for high school aged kids. The community members involved in this experience wouldn’t necessarily give lessons on their livelihood – for example a farmer with a deep knowledge of medieval history and geology could focus on one of those subjects if they chose. This would give adults in the community a chance to delve deeper into subjects they loved, and kids a chance to learn a subject from someone truly enthusiastic.
Questing/Journeyman years/other travel: I know there are plenty of posts on solarpunk travel, but in an educational context I imagine it as a continuation of rotating apprenticeships. This would be a time for young adults to visit people and places related to their areas of interest. It could be very specific (like meeting and working with 5 scientists on 5 continents while studying food sustainability) or a more general exploration (visiting some great museums, WOOFing, contributing to public art, and journaling about the experience while trying to decide what to do next).
Independent Project Salons:
This would be a way to tie together celebration, community, and education.
Informal salon settings would be a great place for young adults doing independent study or in the midst of travel to meet and talk about their experiences and ideas, and maybe show off their work. Possibly hosted by retired folks who could organize food and drink, introduce topics and guests, and add the benefit of their own experiences.
What other kinds of solarpunk educational programs do you love the idea of?
The other day I found an Eames shell chair with a cracked seat in my alley. I brought it home, sawed off the mounting tabs, hit it with some yellow paint and put a plant in it. Pretty happy with how it turned out!