Kids are getting the sort of education that guarantees they'll soon be fighting each other, Hunger Games-style, for Earth's dwindling resources. The solution is to cram everyone in America into Berkeley, Calif., say the authors of the new book The Failure of Environmental Education. (I'm paraphrasing.)

If educational institutions taught ecology as the overall system in which we exist and economy as a subset of that system, instead of the other way around, perhaps the blind rush to affluence perpetrated by rampant industrialization would eventually give way to a more holistic approach to living.

Authors Charles Saylan and Daniel T. Blumstein argue that ways teachers can inspire this "holistic approach" through field trips, inculcating a love of nature, teaching children to identify birds rather than cars, and holding more classes outside. Schools should go green with students' help and participation, and inquiring where consumer products come from should be part of the bedrock of kids’ education.

It is not a reasonable use of public money to simply inform students about nature without teaching them ways they can act to protect it.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Saylan and Blumstein argue that a future that's not characterized by environmental collapse requires that we recognize that environmentalism is “not an option like choosing one’s religion or political affiliation," but a fundamental value.