There are numerous studies and reports on obesity as a modern day epidemic in our country. The solution seems simple: we need to move, to be active, to exercise, and we need to consume foods that are good for us, whole foods, balanced meals, reasonable quantities. None of this is new. The dilemma is how to correct a misdirected impulse that has permeated our population.
Starting at the beginning, looking for root areas to grow the right end result, brings us to our youth. As a nation, we can start together with our youth in their educational environment.
There are so many things we need to teach our youth about our world – including immediate problems in need of solution. We are fortunate that as we find ourselves in the midst of an issue to problem solve, like obesity, that there are those among us who have been developing solutions. These are solutions that we can tap and work on together – we can share these models – we can share the outcomes and next steps. We are fortunate to have the ability to communicate with immediacy. We are fortunate that our youth are able to engage in technological communication with prowess.
The solution models we have been building can be woven into a well-integrated education alive with real-life relevance. We can include models that increase physical activity, models that explore whole foods with our youth, models that wrap this into organic gardening and cooking, models that incorporate vermiculture, composting, and recycling. Our system of education embraces so many disciplines, creating a single location for work in all of these areas.
There is, quite simply, no societal dilemma we face, or problem in need of solving, that we cannot bring to the education of our youth and teachers for problem solving. It is a think tank predisposed toward activism, with youth desirous of inclusion in real life, real-time engagement, wanting to act upon that which they are taught. We can educate and problem solve at the same time.
A K-12 service initiative brings to mind, at first, the idea of helping those in need, which is true. However, a service initiative addresses any genuine community need. Environmental concerns, health concerns, economic concerns, and more, all find their place in a service initiative that embraces the betterment of mankind and the world.
It is time to use the resources we have and link them to education with an established tool – service learning – and begin making the changes needed, together. We can initiate this now, among ourselves, with a modicum of coordination support from the government – a government which was designed by our founding fathers to help us come together as a nation of people with common goals.
We can draw from models we have created that are of the people, we can create more together, by the people, and better our local, national and global conditions for the people.