To Stop Wasting Heartbeats

delhi pollution

“At present, virtually all schools are preparing students for a future which will be unrecognizable, not acknowledging the social or environmental ‘deadlines’ that will dominate their lives.” — One of the author’s home schooled teens

Malaria kills one child every 30 seconds, about 3000 children every day. Over one million people die from malaria each year, mostly children under five years of age, with 90 per cent of malaria cases occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 300-600 million people suffer from malaria each year. According to estimates by WHO and UNAIDS, 36.7 million people were living with HIV globally at the end of 2016. That same year, some 1.8 million people became newly infected, and 1 million died of HIV-related causes. In 2016, 10.4 million people around the world became sick with TB disease. There were 1.7 million TB-related deaths worldwide. TB is a leading killer of people who are HIV infected. A total of 9,272 TB cases (a rate of 2.9 cases per 100,000 persons) were reported in the United States in 2016.

More people die from pollution every year than all three of the diseases above combined. In fact, three times as many deaths can be attributed to pollution annually, and that’s to say NOTHING about the suffering short of death that goes on daily. That’s documented definitively by Lancet as per a Guardian Monbiot article which addresses System Failure today.

And so I ask you, teacher… parent… government official… concerned citizen, how are our schools operating any differently than they used to… when you were taught in your formative years? What significant changes have taken place in educational institutions across the board on any level since you were a student? The answer has to be not much, I’m sure.

Pollution present at the moment is one thing, as it gets worse daily all across the planet. But then there are other considerations, like the fact that it could get immeasurably worse overnight if a nuclear weapon or two were detonated.

This isn’t another alarmist article. Nor is this a piece created to pound my chest and scream to readers: “Look and see what know that you don’t know.” Nor is it anything that has anything to do with getting you to care more in general.

My article is designed to do one simple very specific thing. That is — as an educator — I’d like you to take very practical action. I ask you to get with local teachers and administrators and counselors connected with nearby educational institutions and push their envelopes respecting the collective situation that we’re in regarding our collective crises. To do what you can to get them to revise their agendas post haste. To delete what’s obsolete.

To stop wasting heartbeats.

Rachel Olivia O’Connor is a member of the Oxman Collective. She can be reached at [email protected]




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