Green Party Candidate Calls for

            Green Education to Protect the Natural World

                Press Release

                January 17, 2006, Saltsprings, Pictou County

                David Orton, Green Party candidate for Central Nova, calls for green
            education to protect the natural world. At a recent all-candidates meeting
            organized by university students in Antigonish, he talked about what a green
            education should be about, and the role of a university.

              Orton pointed out, "A university education does not necessarily train you as
            a Nature defender." He said, "Any major environmental issue -- whether it be
            the Sable Gas Project and the pipeline across Nova Scotia and New
            Brunswick; the annual herbicide spraying program which is part of industrial
            forestry, or the insecticide spraying which comes up from time to time with this
            type of forestry; or the seismic testing by the oil and gas industry in the
            inshore waters around Nova Scotia -- will have highly 'educated' people speaking
            on behalf of the proponents of such activities (the Earth-destroyers), saying
            that what they are doing is perfectly acceptable. The opponents (people like
            myself) are sometimes described as emotional (which we usually are), but
            also ill-informed. Unfortunately, the Earth becomes further degraded, helped
            along by university-trained apologists."

                Orton asked, "So, what is the problem with education? Who 'will educate the
            educators' as Marx noted so long ago?"

                Orton discussed how Aldo Leopold, one of the most important environmental
            philosophers for the U.S. environmental movement, had written in his book A
            Sand County Almanac: "Education, I fear, is learning to see one thing by
            going blind to another." Orton pointed out that Leopold was talking how, in
            his days, humans were blind to the abundant natural life to be found in
            marshes, which were sooner or later filled in and paved over in the name of
            so-called 'progress'.

                Orton proposed that one way of becoming more in harmony with Earth
            concerns, is to have 'Councils of All Beings' to try and break away from the
            human-centeredness, where nature is just seen as 'resources' for human
            consumption.  He said, "Environmentalists who are influenced by deep
            ecology, like myself, believe that the Council is a powerful teaching forum.
            It has been described as an attempt to 'hear within ourselves the sounds of
            the Earth crying.' This is done by adopting a non human persona such as that
            of an animal, a plant, a rock, a river, a mountain, etc. and speaking to the
            negative impact of humans upon the persona chosen. Sometimes people speak
            through masks. People participating in the Council become more aware of the
            impact of humans on nature. The Council is an empowering mechanism to turn
            despair into action."

                As Orton pointed out, "Education is where society passes on its values
            through a socialization process, what the U.S. sociologist Peter Berger
            called the 'of course' statements. All those statements, which we are so
            familiar with, about 'of course this is the way it is.' Education is a
            conservative human-centered force overall. This is not to say that there are
            not good teachers at all levels who try to oppose this trend and try to
            bring a critical perspectives to their students."

                Orton gave an example of an "of course" statement that we hear in the
            Maritimes, namely that there are "too many seals", yet we never hear that
            there are too many fishers, or that there is something wrong with our
            human-centered perspective, which sees the seals as consuming "our fish."

            "Some 'of course' assumptions in our post industrial society", Orton said,
            "are that we should let the 'market' decide, that globalization is good, and
            that 'bigger is better'. The Green Party disagrees. For the market, all of
            Nature is a 'resource' awaiting conversion into saleable commodities. Yet
            the market cannot answer ecological, social, ethical and philosophical

                Orton said that "A green education has to critically analyse these questions
            from an Earth-centered perspective, and see whether 'Small is beautiful' is
            not a better motto for society."

                Orton ended his talk by saying, "From my perspective, nature education,
            where we see ourselves as a humble part of the natural world, and not
            masters of it, is needed throughout the education system. This is what deep
            ecology is all about. It is not enough to be socially progressive, if we
            turn our backs to the ongoing Earth-destruction which surrounds us
            everywhere. We have to defend what is left of the natural world, by putting
            our minds, our hearts and our bodies on the line in its defence. This is
            what education should help us achieve."


            Authorized by the Official Agent for David Orton

            Mark A. Brennan
            Campaign Manager for The Green Party Candidate for Central Nova, David Orton
            Phone Central Nova Campaign Manager (902) 396 4397
            Green Party Candidate, David Orton (925) 925 2514
            Email David Orton:

            "Make Peace With Nature, Vote Green"

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                Last updated: January 29, 2006