What is ZERI Learning?
Behavior is, after all informed by education. The Zero Emissions Research Initiative [ZERI] is based on the scientific understanding that in nature everything is interconnected and nothing is wasted. It has become clear, that unless we begin to adapt human behavior so that it replicates the efficiency and innovations of natural systems that surround us, we are bound to fail in our quest to create a sustainable and restorative society.
Many scientists give us a 20-year window of opportunity to affect changes to ensure the survival of the planet. The ZERI Learning Initiative is therefore aimed at young people. It is imperative that the next generation is endowed with the necessary knowledge to make new and wise decisions. After all, as Gunter Pauli, founder of ZERI, demonstrates, “If we only teach our children what we were taught, then we can only expect them to do as poorly as we have.”
For thousands of years, mankind has passed on accumulated knowledge and wisdom to succeeding generations through the use of stories. This understanding led Pauli to create an educational program entitled “From Fairy Tales to Reality.” This K – 12 educational program consists of 36 fables. Embedded in the storylines of the fables are 1,500 scientific principles, all of which have been certified by the Swedish Academy of Sciences. Together, they create a new paradigm of nature and mankind’s place within it.
ZERI Learning calls for innovation in what we teach – and the way we teach it. “From Fairy Tales to Reality” offers the chance to familiarize oneself with science, to develop emotional intelligence, to value and nurture imagination, to ignite artistic vision, to uncover and understand the hidden connections amongst disparate phenomena, and to strengthen the capacity to implement innovative ideas and projects.
Unless we can live – and learn – within natural systems where there are millions of hidden connections [and therefore millions of diverse solutions] we are bound to fall short of our objectives to create a more sustainable society. ZERI Learning teaches that doing “less bad” to accomplish “more good” [think: recycling] is not a sustainable philosophy. ZERI Learning empowers people of all ages to move from ideas into action.
6,000 teachers have been trained in the ZERI Learning model. In turn, 300,000 children worldwide have been taught the ZERI principles in countries such as Japan, Sweden, Germany, Columbia, Ecuador, Brazil, United Kingdom and here in the United States – in New York, Colorado, New Mexico and California.
The Marion Institute Sustainable Education Initiative [SEI] incorporated many of the principles of ZERI Learning into the curriculum that was developed. Also, SEI used the fables that were developed by Gunter Pauli as part of their classroom education.