Day 54: Sustainability and Short Stories

We had a sleep in for our last day in the Daintree Rainforest. We woke up and did a special activity during our Morning Note Journals, interviewing our classmates about their lives.

Our morning World Issues lesson was about sustainability and the issues impacting the Great Barrier Reef here in Australia and Canada’s resource development. Ella called it her favourite lesson. We had space at the end to discuss our carbon footprint and she had a chance to share information about the connection between eating meat, energy use, and greenhouse gasses. As dire as some of the environmental science seems, the students are committed to action in the face of apathy. But can we achieve sustainability without a significant lifestyle change? We talked about how bad the situation looks with the carbon emissions from air travel (yikes). But, the class continued to rebound. This is not the time for paralyzing pessimism but for critical thinking and moving in the direction of solutions.

In the afternoon, we walked up the road to the small cluster of restaurants, convenience stores, and a freshwater swimming hole used by locals. The water was crystal clear and surrounded by the rainforest. In the evening, we read more short stories and gave a lesson on Marxist analysis. Kate insisted we read Harrison Bergeron, a story she discovered and loved on a previous Mei Academy program. The class read the short tale and it proved to popular. We applied an analysis of capitalism and communism in Vonnegut’s work.

After dinner, the night brought movie watching, card games, and life chats about growing up, parenting, and our most memorable teachers -for better or worse. It’s dark at night, away from the city lights. The insects chirped and the trees shifted in the wind, dropping leaves. The conversation turned to talk of the future and where we’ll all be in five years. Consensus was that we didn’t know -but we acknowledged our guiding stars and the directions we’re sailing.

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