For information to be useful it needs to be processed and refined down a chain that adds value to the original data. This value chain reads as follows:
Information – Knowledge – Wisdom – Changed mindset – Changed behaviour – Influencing others to change their mindset and behaviour.
The conversion of environmental science data into useful knowledge, wisdom, and changing mindsets and behaviours illustrates this process well. We know from environmental and climate science over the past 200 years that the impact of human activities on the environment, especially since the First Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s, has been hugely significant. It has upset the balance of the Earth’s climate and severely compromised essential ecological processes and life-support systems. This has resulted in a loss of biodiversity, contaminated air, water, and desertification, consequently impacting the relationships between plants and animals, including humans.
Taking this information and converting it into knowledge (contextualised information) tells us that humans, despite our high intelligence and technology, do not exist outside of the natural ecosystems that surround us but, rather, shows us that we are still very much part of the ecology and web of life.
Our intimate engagement with nature is further reflected by the impact of COVID-19 on our social and economic systems. Science and many climate monitoring and assessment studies show that increasingly severe and frequent extreme weather events, such as cyclones, droughts, and floods, are linked to our activities. Through the education value chain, this link has been shared worldwide and is now commonly understood as general knowledge by most people.
The wisdom derived from this knowledge makes us realise that nothing short of major social, political, and economic systemic change will reverse the impact of the environmental crisis that we are creating.
It also makes us realise that, although most human activities that have impacted global climate systems have taken place in developed countries in the Northern hemisphere, the greatest impact of global climate change will be felt in developing countries in the tropics and Southern hemisphere.
This wisdom also makes us realise that we need to significantly change our mindset towards the environment and reassess our place in nature. It also makes us realise that we are no more or less important in global ecological systems than other species on the planet experience.
This radical change of mindset should come at every level of society if we are to reverse the negative environmental impacts we have created. This is something that can be achieved, as shown by the changes in human behaviour that were necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As global climate change will impact everyone on the planet, it is also obvious that we all need to become ambassadors for environmental awareness by encouraging others to change their mindsets and behaviours. By taking everyone down the Education Value Chain to change their mindset towards the environment and eventually their daily lifestyles, we will be able to mitigate the impact of humans on climate change to a significant extent.
At formula D_ we actively use this concept of the Education Value Chain to pursue projects that convert information into knowledge and wisdom to encourage people of all ages and cultures to change their mindsets and behaviour.