Today, April 22, is Earthday — a day to celebrate, appreciate, and advocate for our planet. This holiday seeks to build and sustain an international environmental awareness and ethos that reshapes how we conserve, preserve and manage the resources of our planet. Now celebrated or observed the world over, there is at least growing awareness about the challenges our planet faces at our hands.
Aside from climate change, which will affect everyone the globe over, there are scores of other environmental concerns. One is the rate of plant and animal extinction due to human related activities. Fragmentation, habitat destruction, and human intrusion continue to wreck havoc on both plant and animal communities. One of the key indicators of a healthy environment is the amount a biodiversity within that ecosystem. As a general rule of thumb, the greater the amount of diversity within plant and animal communities the more stable the ecosystem.
It is our belief that the same holds true for neurodiversity. We already know that no two brains are exactly alike (like fingerprints), and that the differences between brains is now understood to be variation, not deviation. Given this, we would do well to embrace and celebrate cognitive variety — seeking to ensure that each and every mind is at its full and unique potential. We would do well ensuring that each person feels that their contributions are valued.
Q.E.D. Foundation’s Theory of Change states,
IF we have cultures of transformational learning where we
- create competency-based learning pathways and learning opportunities,
- know each student’s strengths, challenges, interests, and abilities,
- intetionally design for student agency, coaching and assessing habits of mind and being,
- cultivate communities of collaboration and partnership both inside and outside of school, and
- embed these practices in laboratories of democratic practice,
THEN all students will flourish and achieve to high levels.
And, if we can achieve this, we can only imagine what might be in store for our planet — perhaps we will be one step closer to realizing and actualizing the dream of Earthday. For today, we will not only celebrate our planet, but also the great variety of minds that live on it.