School strikes on Climate change: Posthuman education in the making

Year: 2019

Author: Malone, Karen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The Anthropocene universalises the human predicament by neglecting to acknowledge the ways in which wealth, nationality, ethnicity, gender, class, age, location and education mediate our relationships with the planet. Many young people whenasked about their school experience say schools are antiquated dinosaurs, irrelevant to their everyday lives. In this paper I address these two issues through the story of the school strike climate change marches in Australia and across the globe. I propose posthuman education could be influential to disrupt a current school system that has not evolved to respond to the fluid, networked, uncertain changing landscape of our planet. And consider why children who are often positioned as apathetic and disaffected about learning are rallying in our streets with the purpose of educating adults about the urgency of the imminent ecological collapse. Drawing on Nathan Snaza’s bewildering education where he argues that because the sole purpose of education has been viewed as a humanising project, it fails our children. Not only because it positions them as less than human and therefore their concerns are nottaken seriously, they are deliberately silenced, mocked and made invisible in climate change debates and but also with a focus on education as about becoming ‘human’ (and here I mean settler versions of the superior human) it assumes that all that is not yet ‘human’ is less than human, inhuman and dehumanised. This status of being fully human as exceptional is rapidly been dismantled through posthuman/new materialist theorising. This theorising exposes that even if we only acknowledged scientific research and technological advances it is clear where ‘human’ finishes and ‘nonhuman’ (including organic and nonorganic) begins is not as clear a boundary as we had come to expect.This has led a shift in focus in much scholarly work from humans viewing themselves as separate bounded system,autopoieticto a view we are complex entangled systems, sympoietic,entirely dependent on others for our survival. As a disrupting, diffractive ontological tool then posthumanism and posthuman education has the potential to reveal there is no homogenous/universal species and the current dominant white western humanising education is unequal, unethical and unjust and those who are most at risk from the ecological crisis (indigenous colonialised peoples, woman, children, and the other-than-human species) are being failed by an antiquated education system that has not only supported demise of the planet but is also failing to respond to the Anthropocene.