Learn

LRNG = Local, Regional, National, Global, or "Learning."  The Project is about a new course of study or of learning and it is aimed at the L,R,N,G levels.

 

Learning is the life force of humans.  The "extinction rebellion" curriculum we propose can be a distillation of many "high impact practices."  See https://www.aacu.org/leap/hips  -- George Kuh original author.  (We have permission to use "extinction rebellion" as a phrase but with the caveat that the Extinction Rebellion organization does not necessarily support our goals).  

For Higher Education Global Leaders:

A capsule summary for leaders in higher education: 

 

The case I am making is this:  human evolution researchers now say, uniformly, that humans “had” language only 50 thousand years ago (when our larynx formed to produce the variable sounds for spoken language).

 

But, they acknowledge that humans made stone tools 2.6 million years ago.  Ergo, one has to conclude, we evolved with weapons, as Kubrick popularized with “2001.” Not really.

 

I “prove” that, no, tool making and language arose at the same time because of mechanosensory neurons in the hands that are connected to the language center in the brain and because of the mimic trait humans share — resulting in stone tool making movements becoming semiotic signifiers and then mimicked by others in the tribe.  

 

As those signifiers were mimicked, they became abstracted and evolved into signs and a sign language.  In other words, humans invented language 2.6 million years ago and all evolution toward modern humans is grounded in language and therefore in society and culture — directly "proving" the humanistic frame for humanity.  ("Proof" is not used in the empirical sense since no "proof" of signed language OR spoken language exists; the only "proof" we have that sapiens spoke language 50,000 years ago is speculative). 

 

And because we humans are language-culture beings, our curriculum must also be so.  STEM is derivative, broadly speaking.  If humanists want to re-capture the imagination of higher education, turn to this actual history of humanity.  Humanities are not just “nice,’ they represent who we are as humans, how we learn best, what our essence is, and how we will cooperate around the world to save human society.  

 

What I am saying is grounded in science, of course, because all that I have read for 3 years is based in human evolution studies in a number of fields.  Scientists make the claim:

  1. We speak languages now

  2. Our larynx “dropped” 50,000 years ago

  3. Therefore, we must have spoken 50,000 years ago.
     

I make the equally valid claim that:

  1. We sign now (humans around the globe use sign language and invent a sign language when necessary)

  2. Our hands were fully capable of signs 2.6 million years ago

  3. Therefore, we must have signed 2.6 million years ago
     

No other explanation of the expansion and domination of the human species makes any sense.  If scientists can speculate about spoken language, this scientist can speculate about signed language.  

 

So, to wrap up, The Last Humans Project is directly about the humanities — if higher education is to mobilize globally to save society, it must offer one major concentration aimed at climate action but grounded in the humanities so as to use our best human abilities.

We urge action for species survival, including homo sapiens, at the Local, Regional, National and Global levels -- or LRNG, the acronym suggesting "Learning," or exactly what the Project is about.  It's a useful mnemonic.  

Last Humans Curriculum

How to Create the “Extinction Rebellion” Curricular Concentration

 

Trent Batson, Ph.D., Director, The Last Humans Project https:www.thelasthumans.org

 

Once an institution, a university, or any other institution of higher learning in the world, adopts the new climate mission, as an additional mission, a curricular “path” can be created as explained below.  I am reluctant to use the word “path” because a real-world learning experience is really more about “bushwacking,” that is, more about discovering a path toward a destination. But, let’s use “path” advisedly in this discussion.  

 

The Institutional Mission:

 

Lead the world in preserving human society during the current mass extinction caused by climate change.  Offer a program that enrollees can choose that will engage them immediately upon matriculation in real-world projects aimed at preparing human society for extinction events such as floods, fires, rising seas, droughts, heat waves, famine, climate refugees, and other similar climate change effects that are bringing about the 6th mass extinction on earth that includes a threat of human extinction.
 

Let’s do this step by step.

 

  1. Are there courses now being offered, or in the works, that are about climate change?  These could be courses in any field of scholarship from sciences to philosophy to anthropology or sociology, linguistics, and so on.  
     

  2. These existing, or soon to be existing, or archived courses can be part of the interdisciplinary course of study under the rubric of “extinction rebellion.”  (Each institution can of course invent its own rubric).  
     

  3. Some courses can be required and some can be optional.  
     

  4. All courses related to the climate concentration (“extinction rebellion”) should be problem-based or project-based courses working on current real word climate-related issues.  
     

  5. If there are, say, 10 to 15 courses included in this “major” or “concentration” or “course of study,” by whatever name is appropriate, one should serve as an introduction/orientation course structured according to the institutional climate mission.  This course could serve as a requirement for majors and a recommended course for those students majoring in other courses of study.  
     

  6. And, another of the 10 to 15 courses should serve as a capstone course limited to just those students who are majoring in the climate concentration.  
     

  7. One or two requirements within this “major” (let’s use this U. S. term) will be an internship, or study abroad, or working to learn, or service learning, by whatever term, so that undergraduates can get engaged in the global effort to both reverse climate-change effects or help society adapt to inevitable disruptions because of climate change. 
     

  8. Each student must choose climate courses in at least three different fields of study, such as biology, political science, literature, anthropology, history, and so on.  One of those courses must be about human evolution from any disciplinary perspective.  
     

  9. All faculty members/professional staff who offer courses in the climate major will have what is, in effect, a dual appointment with their “home” discipline and with the climate major.  
     

  10. All students must be able to demonstrate an actual change they have helped bring about through their direct participation – that is, they completed their own individual deliverable for the project that brought about the change.  This is a graduation requirement.  
     

  11. All climate courses must connect with a governmental organization, or a non-profit/NGO, or with a company, that is able to bring about significant change locally, regionally, nationally or globally to improve the chances for long-term human survival and reversal of climate change effects.  
     

  12. Every course that is included in the climate major must have a communication element that is not just an add on, but that is central to all work – project groups cooperating through email and text, for example, creating websites with a forum, posting reports online, submitting collaborative project updates, and so on.  All graduates of the climate major must be excellent writers and conversationalists.  Some might be persuasive speakers, others might be persuasive writers – but all must be able to use language, the greatest human strength, by the time they graduate.
     

  13. Learning Outcomes:  all graduates from the climate major must be able to immediately start or continue working on a climate change project with a non-profit, a governmental agency, a Non-Governmental Organization, or a company.  Each must be assessed as capable of making a difference in the world.  Each must have shown the ability to synthesize disparate ideas, results, problems, or data to find a common thread that can advance work around that problem or issue.  Each must therefore be creative.  

 

This major is obviously challenging, but also offers the best learning experience possible in higher education today.  And, it offers a lifeline and potential renaissance for global higher education itself.

 

  • It provides a vital mission to each institution that will energize all constituents in that institution.
      

  • This major also engages students in a “relevant” problem that is recognized by students around the world.  
     

  • Each institution can promote itself as current, aware, engaging, and assuring life success from this new major.
     

  • Global higher education can, once this global mission is active, again claim its proper place in civil society. It can move away from a sole focus on vocation/jobs and put itself back at the center of society.  
     

  • And, most importantly, it is best suited to be the global leader for the survival of human society.  This role can provide a renaissance for higher education.  

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