By: Jackie Boat
I have mentioned before the importance of believing in others to empower them. Now, I would like to elaborate my opinion on this topic. The thing that matters most to me in the world is how we treat other people. To me, it is important to treat each person with the same respect, dignity and kindness despite differences in accomplishment, status, self-respect, etc. I think to do so is treating people with the proper regard as human beings. By removing the lens of judgment from our view of others and how we treat them, it becomes possible to connect on a more fundamental level and appreciate others for who they are instead of what we or anybody else thinks they should be. This has very much set the tone for my work in classrooms and beyond.
Judgment creates conflict, which will act as an obstacle to effective outreach and learning that can impact change. Outreach that comes from a place of mutual respect reaches much further and has more resounding effects in the lives of those you encounter. As the teacher, I have to be the one to make the first move, and by setting this tone I have definitely found that my clients are more receptive. I am often thanked after my classes and told how helpful the new tools and tips they have learned will be. While they may not remember everything they learn in class, people always remember the way you made them feel. If they come to associate feeling good about themselves with improving their energy efficiency and self-sufficiency, then they are going to be more likely continue practicing and searching for those things throughout their lives. That right there is the sign of quality education. It inspires deep change within ourselves.
Conservation outreach, when done correctly, has the potential to be a perpetual motion machine of human dignity. We inspire and empower others to help themselves by embracing and practicing conservation, which then creates a healthier environment ecologically, socially and economically. This in turn helps out everyone else since we share in these environments. This kind of momentum is difficult and slow to build, but once enough people are rolling in the same direction, it is a force that will move all by itself, not out of degrading coercion. Coercion comes from a place of ego, which is the enemy of dignity. Ego is the immovable object that impedes conscious and harmonious progress. So in conclusion, we must take the more humble route to achieve the unstoppable force of perpetualized dignity.