We are joined by regenerative curriculum development expert Zouheir Al-Ghreiwati who is on a mission to revolutionize education. With his curriculum development company (re)genÜrate, Zouheir has created an impressive implementation framework for regenerative education and innovative pedagogical approaches to ignite curiosity and promote interconnection. He breaks down his methodology, where inclusivity, transdisciplinarity, and practicality are key. We chat about the significance of tracking emotional, social, neurological, and physiological changes at different grade levels and the transformative power of self-reflection. Adding to this, Zouheir enlightens us on how we can incorporate principles of holism along with Indigenous ways of knowing and being into our educational systems with profound effects. Zuheir’s optimism and hope in the face of challenges is a testament to his dedication to the transformative potential of regenerative education.
(0:00:20) – Regenerative Education
Zouheir Al-Ghreiwati discusses investment banking, sustainability education, regenerative curriculum, early education, Agenda 2030, preventative medicine, low emission energy sources, and gender pay gap.
(0:15:05) – Regenerative Education
Zouheir shares inclusivity, trans-linearity, practicality, alignment with SDGs, and wholism for regenerative education.
(0:25:52) – The Power of Regenerative Education
Emotion, movement, trauma, empathy, immersive experiences, life skills, and nature’s impact are discussed to gain compassion.
(0:36:35) – Regenerative Education and Overcoming Obstacles
Zouheir discusses investment banking, sustainability education, regenerative systems, bureaucracy, greenwashing, and gender binaries.
0:00:20 – Anna
Welcome to Creative Praxis. I’m Anna Griffith, an assistant professor in the School of Creative Arts at the University of the Fraser Valley.
0:00:28 – Kyla
And I am Kyla Mitchell-Marquis, an undergraduate honor psychology student focusing on gender and sexuality at the University of the Fraser Valley and a research assistant for the podcast.
0:00:38 – Anna
As we begin, I would like to acknowledge that we are recording today on traditional, ancestral and contemporary Stó:lo territory. The Stó:lo have been living with and caretaking this land from time immemorial, with deep knowledge and wisdom about and from the land and the ecosystems of this place. One reason I’m drawn to regenerative education is that it seeks out lessons and understandings from nature and then uses them to guide the practices and pedagogies we have as educators, and I find this to be a really interdisciplinary idea, which a lot of my previous work has also focused on taking concepts from one domain and applying them or interweaving them into another to create something bigger and more intricate than the separate parts on their own, and I think that our guests today, Zouheir Al-Ghreiwati, may have some insights about this after his journey from investment banking to sustainability, education and an entrepreneurial curriculum development company, regenerate.
0:01:35 – Kyla
Zouheir is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has focused his work in investment banks in the US, Switzerland and England, managing the investment lines in green businesses. He ran a green business growth incubator at Kalu Yalla, a sustainability educational institute in the jungle of Panama, and his mission in the world is to sow educational seeds to make generations aware of the celebration, respect and harmony of our relationship with the environment. Welcome, Zouheir, and thank you so much for joining us.
0:02:02 – Zouheir
Thank you for having me, Eliana.
0:02:06 – Kyla
Excellent. So yeah, as mentioned, you have worked in investment banking across different countries and you’ve worked in Panama at the sustainability educational institute, and so can you tell us a little more about your career journey and how that has led you to do the work you do now?
0:02:23 – Zouheir
Absolutely. I was born in Damascus and Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the world that is continuously habitable, and growing up in that environment and seeing seeing different parts of the world in different states of development, if you will made me realize that maybe what needed to spur Syria, and Damascus specifically, into its next stage of evolution was finance, and that’s kind of what got me interested in pursuing a financial career path. I very quickly realized that financial systems are set up in a way where a certain minority group controls most of the world’s finances in any form of investment or financial injection is in turn to be able to support the same group. And so I dove a little deeper into just kind of like personal research of what are the different indicators from a macro perspective that result in the evolution of well-being of the society, taking a look at investment factors in different countries, and in almost every case it was an investment in early education and secondary education and eventually tertiary, and that’s kind of what kind of catalyzed this change in shifting from finance towards education.
0:04:07 – Anna
That’s great and I totally agree that, like this, importance that you place on education is so powerful and starting from early years, when we’re starting to form all of our perceptions about the world and our things, that give us wonder and curiosity. So can you tell us a little bit about the work you do now with Regenerate?
0:04:28 – Zouheir
Yes, so we are an organization dedicated to creating regenerative educational curriculum that comes with products and services. We create student activity books, teacher guidebooks and trainings, and the mechanism which we call impact evaluations. And our regenerative style is to be able to give life to life. It’s thinking, using the 17 global goals and their indicators for the agenda 2030. And then all of our learning style is through experiments, activities, games, puzzles, transcending this idea of traditional education where something is correct and incorrect, and, more so, exploring global realities in different parts of the world and starting to formulate different innovative actions on a micro scale, but combined together can really fuel this regenerative change.
0:05:33 – Anna
That sounds so fascinating and what I really love is the, like your address, that you’re kind of working through the 17 SDGs, which are, you know, really kind of have been globally adopted, and yet you have this really specific focus on regeneration, giving life to life. And on your website one of the most striking things is how you describe moving from exploit, exploitative relationships to then sustainable relationships ultimately, and then hopefully to where to be gendered a relationship. So I’m just wondering, can you really quickly for us like just talk about each of those and then maybe the transformation that happens as we get to the next level or stage, or deepening?
0:06:19 – Zouheir
I think, when it comes to understanding these different cycles and the impact of what we’re doing in terms of these different cycles, has to do a lot with understanding the natural patterns of nature, which also includes this process of self-awareness and being conscious of your specific patterns and what their life is. And really, when we think exploitive unfortunately it’s a lot of it can be a lot of our day-to-day actions from a direct or indirect perspective, in terms of what we’re eating, how we’re treating other people, where whatever we are eating is coming from, what certain self-care habits come from. And then the word sustainability is thrown around so much today. Oh, this is sustainable. This is not sustainable. We are sustainable when we get to the core of the word.
Sustainability means to maintain, and the plan has surpassed this point of maintaining us, keeping in mind Earth Overshoot Day this year fell on the 28th of July. Everything after comes from next year, and sometimes this idea of greenwashing, thinking of stuff, is sustainable and that’s great. Even if it is sustainable, we really need to get one step further. Talk about the desintoxifying waterways, closing the gender pay gap, thinking of the medical system from a preventative perspective, diversifying low emission energy sources and everything else that encompasses around this 2030 agenda.
0:08:01 – Kyla
I really like how you mentioned these interconnecting systems, like the gender pay gap medical system, and how it’s so deeply in mesh what’s happening in the climate crisis right now. You can’t just look at the climate crisis without looking at the social issues that are going on. And I also like how you mentioned the direct and indirect expletive actions, because that’s something that I personally think about all the time. Like you’re thinking about, what is my footprint, that I’m leaving and when I buy this product, like what are the 7, 100 steps that are going forward? What impact did we just find this one, especially in the wellness industry as well, which they slap a green label on it, and then you think you’re maybe making this impact, but then what is the packaging that it comes in? Right, but it’s like a box within a bottle, within a fist. So I think about that really often and I appreciate you mentioning that. Is that something? Do you talk about those systems within your curriculums as well?
0:08:56 – Zouheir
So the way our student activity books are organized is we take a global goal and we take one of the indicators for the specific, for the global goals, and then we create the student activity book around that, and it’s divided into five missions.
Every mission has an objective and then an introductory section that goes through a global reality. We avoid using the word problem because problem implies solution, and when we think of it from this perspective, we think solution is sometimes, you know, slapping a band-aid on a wound, and that’s it when the systems we’re talking about, the realities that we are living, is something that requires a much more intricate approach to how we’re managing it. And then so, from that reality, the different activities, games, experiments that accompany the rest of the student activity book are specifically to be able to connect better to this reality and then to be able to think of different tools that you can be provided with to come up with your own proper actions to be able to transform that reality. And when we start thinking of innovation and transformation in relation to realities, it provides a more dynamic and a more holistic perspective in terms of thinking of this process of transformation towards regenerative education.
0:10:20 – Anna
It’s really powerful and I just one, just not even using the word problem, I think, is powerful in itself, but really, this focus on transformation and innovation related to global realities, but then also, at the same time, thinking about the personal, the personal connection to this, the personal changes that can happen, and so I have two questions. Do you have an example of how, like, how, do students respond to this? What, like, what have you seen or experienced? That’s maybe the first question. I’ll just leave it there for you to answer.
0:10:56 – Zouheir
Thank you. Well, the average of students saying they want to see more types of regenerative education in their schools and primary spaces of learning is around 96%, and often the feedback we get from students is twofold. Initially there’s this sense of you’re asking me something that doesn’t have a right or wrong answer, and I’m not sure how to answer because this is how I’ve been taught. And then, once that feeling starts to once the feeling of confidence, of thinking oh, you know what I am capable of, thinking of different actions that can result in transformative impacts. This is really cool.
Maybe I am not too young to contribute to change, maybe I am a perfect age where the school uses specific type of soap that’s not biodegradable and me and a couple of friends, after going through the Clean Water Insanitation book for 11 to 14 years old, decided to start our own biodegradable soap business and sell it to the school. And thinking of these really actions that you can label as big or small or whatever it is, but at the end of the day they’re impactful and that’s what matters. And thinking that this rising generation is responsible and going to inherit all of these realities that we are living creates the sense of responsibility, of education being a right and not a privilege of. Hey, you know, just because you’re a certain age means it’s the perfect time to get you ready. This is what’s about to happen in your life and you know, this generation comes. They’re born a lot more aware, they ask these questions. They live a very different rhythm of life that I think I did when I was at that age.
0:12:49 – Anna
And so I’m also really curious about what the teachers say. Like the stories that you’re sharing are just so powerful, I’m so excited by what you’re doing and then so I’m wondering how the teachers respond, like speaking as, not maybe, an early years educator, but like starting to try to recognize that the world is super complex, that we do need to educate differently. And then where do I start? So how do teachers respond? How do teachers respond to this?
0:13:16 – Zouheir
There’s a there’s a deep sense of gratitude for me on a personal level with teachers.
I recently went back and brought a couple of my teachers from university and school just expressing deep, sincere gratitude for the work they do specifically in the development of students, more so just than forming knowledge.
But really in this evolutionary process through education and originally thinking of starting Regenerate, there was a very focal point in making teachers lives easier because of the different stakeholders they manage. So the response from teachers has been has been really loving as well. A common response is that because all of the activities that we create are multi-sensorial, so it doesn’t only include visual learners, it also includes kinesthetic learners, objective learners, thinking of inclusivity in the different ways, and we learn also through taught in the different senses. A lot of teachers share that their students, who usually are labeled as problematic, are a lot more engaged in these classes because their senses are being stimulated in different forms, which in return results in happier parents. So the apiary director and this kind of water flow effect, and really it’s so beautiful to hear that something as simple as making space for this regenerative education to be part of the core curriculum can result in this change and it can be really simple. Most of the time, humanity loves to complicate stuff, but life can be simple.
0:15:02 – Kyla
That’s excellent. That moves nicely into the next question I was going to ask. So your company outlines some key ingredients that constitute your pedagogical style, which includes the importance of inclusivity, trans-linearity, practicality and being in alignment with the 17 SDGs that we have been discussing. Can you tell us more how these ingredients were chosen and why you see them as important for regenerative education?
0:15:27 – Zouheir
Yes. So before we started formulating this curriculum, I did, in some other team members, a deep dive into what makes an education system innovative in different continents and different parts of the world, and we took out these different educational standards or requirements from these ministries of education and analyzed them, and we realized that a lot of countries have started to adopt educational perspectives that go beyond just knowledge or even, when it is knowledge, beyond just the core subjects like science, math and language arts. And then we also decided to take a look into the different emotional, neurological, social changes that students go through, really starting to think of this regenerative education as something that contributes to the evolution of the being, which then results in the evolution of humanity and the planet as a whole. And then we combined these two with different pedagogical tools that you can use to be able to fulfill these ministries requirements as well as this more holistic perspective, and when we talk about trans-disciplinarity, it’s the interconnectedness of everything.
I think we’re at a point where we’re starting to realize that gender equality has to do with access to water, access to finance, with the different ways the electrical grid is organized, and when stuff is based in reality, when it’s not. You know, sue has a million, water millions and John has 35, and they want to interchange. It’s like, well you know, when a third of schools around the world don’t have access to electricity, what is it that we can do about it? When this sense of motivation is found, it actually triggers the learning process. And then when students, when that motivation is triggered, it makes the learning process more engaging, which results in students taking leadership or stewarding that emotional the learning process themselves, and that’s kind of the different combinations of our pedagogical style.
0:17:42 – Kyla
No, it’s amazing. Yeah, as a psychology major, I was fascinated by your discussion about emotional, psychological perspective of it and I’m particularly particularly interested in how the harmony between people, like neurological and physiological growth, was included as a key ingredient. So can you elaborate, like how you have, how your approach identifies and tracks like these emotional, social, neurological, physiological changes at each grade level?
0:18:06 – Zouheir
So we did this investigation, first looking into the different parts of the brain that are developing different stages of life, which can be around different ages, and then, based on these different sections, kind of what is the growth pain or the growth process that the student is going through. You know, for example, when we’re talking about the teen years, when sexual hormones start to take coming into play, thinking of that as well, and then activities that stimulate different forms of neurological movements. And then we use a mechanism that we call impact evaluations that actually tracks specific skills from specific areas that help create a personalized report for students and teachers in terms of the evolution of their being before and after regenerative experiences.
0:19:11 – Kyla
That’s really fascinating.
So, yeah, so what I hear you’re saying is it’s more like this awareness that, like, children are going through like these, like deep developmental changes on a neurological, physiological level, and so it’s not so much that like you’re doing brain scans and tracking them, but it’s like we have to be aware that these children are going through them and then how can we assist them and navigate them and just pretend like just doing what I assume traditional curriculum does is just has like a standard, regimented thing and treats all children the same and like not being aware that they’re going through like these deep changes, especially in terms of like, especially going back to what you mentioned about transdisciplinary and like setting in reality, especially in teenagers, the sense of agency and treating them like like not that not like they’re an adult, but like teenage hood is such a such a deeply impactful time where children are learning that they have a role and they want to be independent in this sort of way and they want and they need to know that the realities and what’s going on, that they can have an impact on them.
So, yeah, I love how you combined both this understanding of a neurological, physiological level but like an individual level with it, with the children as well.
0:20:28 – Zouheir
And I think, just to compliment what you said more, more so than studying brain scans, I think when students are able to respond and assess their own growth process, it also relates back to the sense of agency and all that I am able to contribute to my own evolutionary process through education.
0:20:49 – Anna
That moment of self, or many moments, but just the process of self reflection and really learning that as a skill is so powerful and I think, as you’re saying, like it, it provides a different kind of meaning to the learning experience when you can sit with something and recognize how you have been changed by it.
And I think we can all do this, even really young kids can do this right at an age appropriate level.
And to me that is one of the ways that education, or just those, that moment of self reflection, can actually help to transform us and give a lot of purpose and meaning. Because it sounds like one of the things you’re saying is that, like, you’re really providing these experiences that are really deeply meaningful and at this age, especially as we’re thinking about the later teens, where it’s this really potent moment of wanting purpose and meaning in life, and so you’re really offering these experiences for people, which is just so powerful. So I have a question also about wholism, because you’ve mentioned that word before and it in Canada we are really within curriculum and just as people, many of us working to really try to deeply understand indigenous ways of knowing and being, it’s woven into some of our curriculum that’s within K to 12 and then also within higher education, and this attention to mind, body, emotion and spirit, and so I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit about how you see regenerative education being able to to address the person in their wholeness.
0:22:28 – Zouheir
I love that question.
So part of sometimes, when we’re talking to traditional school systems, the way we position ourselves is look, if you’ve got the knowledge down really well.
What we do in terms of what is incorporated through regenerative education is focusing on students taking more stewardship of their learning process, the evolution of their emotional intelligence, the development of life skills and actions towards fulfilling the global goals.
And when we see and are able to track for these different factors, a lot of it is incorporated in into thinking of this evolution of the being more than just through knowledge, because knowledge is one thing and then being able to apply knowledge is a whole other thing.
And then being self aware is an entirely other phenomenon that kind of helps steer you or helps listen to these inner voices and kind of mute the outside interference of I’m alive on planet Earth in this time and space and dimension and what is it that really I am here to do? Am I fulfilling myself? Am I alive for someone else? And then, through being exposed through these different global goals and these different targets Whether it’s water or energy or the economy or infrastructure or languages of programming You’re able to figure out a little bit more of who you are through these different, immersive experiences that you’re in and I think that is something very vital in the educational sphere is you finding out who you are through the diversity of experiences that are given to you, and not whether you are able to multiply or subtract faster than someone else?
0:24:37 – Anna
Yeah, and so one of the things that’s coming up as you’re, as you’re talking about this, is that, like there’s there’s so many domains of our being that that regenerative education really embraces and it it sees it as integrated. It’s not just kind of these separate things, but if we, if we can kind of just focus for a moment on, I guess, emotional intelligence, for kind of I don’t really like that term so much, but it seems like emotional well being, spiritual being, like it’s all interconnected, but just the well being of the student and the teacher really. And so I think that’s a focus for the work that you do, which I fully fully support, and I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about how going through these processes and having transformation, and really, if we, if we act from a place of wholeness, I think that that can help us to develop more global compassion, especially in these times where we’re seeing so much suffering and like how does that, I guess, translate from the, the wholeness of a student, into a greater, more global compassion?
0:25:47 – Zouheir
Absolutely. I think you make a really good point Starting with. I think sometimes the lack of compassion comes from unprocessed trauma and sometimes it’s not just in this lifetime but it’s intergenerational. And I spend a lot of time reading specifically about trauma and trauma transformation and a lot of times the way we transmute trauma, which is kind of like this barrier to compassion or to empathy, is through movement.
When we think of water, water is related often to when we think of emotions. Emotions are often related to water and water. If it’s not given a direction, it can cause flooding or droughts. And then it’s the same when we’re thinking about our emotions to be able to lead to compassion.
If you’re working with your hands, if you’re creating a song to think about how to make access to education more, more how to make access to education more equalitarian around the world, or if you’re taking these different recycled materials and thinking how can I make a solar panel to be able to charge my phone and that offsets something, through this specific, different process you’re actually processing your own self, be it through your hands, through your ears, through your different senses, and I think this focus on immersive experiences that allows to process trauma. We all carry trauma, whether people want to admit it or not, we all do, from this lifetime or others, and then school also being a place where you can process it, and so I think that this is a very powerful result in this compassion and this empathy, not only for humanity, but also these other, the other elements animals, plants, microorganisms that we share planet Earth with.
0:27:49 – Kyla
And so there’s a connection between emotion and movement and how, in order to overcome trauma, there needs to be some sort of movement through it, because I, trauma is such a, is such a barrier, is something that is like blocks you right, and it often comes from from suppression of emotions.
It often comes from and it’s it is ultimately a protective mechanism for rightfully so. But I just love how your work and your curriculums and your pedagogies like say it needs to be an immersive experience, a hand on experience, and and in doing so, it can move your emotions through you and then open you up to seeing ways in which to gain compassion, especially, you had mentioned earlier that I like to touch on, like the through diversity of experiences, you learn who you are as well. So if you’re only seeing one perspective or you’re only engaging, and even in one activity yeah, that’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately it’s you need to kind of go through different things in order to learn about yourself. You need to be push up against boundaries, like push up against things to, so when you face something, then you learn so much about yourself. And then to pivot a bit back to you had discussed about your impact evaluations and it was like really curious about. Can describe more about the impact evaluations and how they differ from traditional modes of assessment?
0:29:09 – Zouheir
Most methods of assessment are looking for a specific answer to questions, and then that creates a very slippery slope of you trying to teach someone what the truth is when it’s really difficult, because, as an educator or as a parent or as really whatever your role is, I believe that you can offer the tools to someone to be able to construct their own truth. And then this idea of something being right or wrong, living in this duality, is very misleading, because you start studying, looking for how to respond to the questions, rather than you know how to innovate or creatively think for yourself. And that’s kind of where this idea of the impact evaluation, this mechanism, was born, thinking of these, these four different areas that we track. So, in terms of the, the areas, like I mentioned, taking stewardship of the learning process, are the different neurological processes that someone goes through to be able to register. So we’re talking about learning, learning, experience, motivation, comprehension, systemization, feedback. So we track for these different steps neurologically. And then for developing life skills.
We did a deep dive into what the labor market looks for, what continue, what higher education looks for, people who said that they’ve lived a fulfilled life, what skills they said that they had that helped reach the state. So it’s diverse in nature, it’s like an entrepreneurial spirit, collaboration, and then among other other skills, and then when we talk about the evolution of emotional intelligence and the way we do it is we with different groups it’s it’s done differently, but usually we we pick out the different skills that the activities work through for with each educational package and then there’s a list of questions that you can respond to written, verbal videos, pictures, paintings, drawings and we try to avoid using the word writing and more so use the word represent so students can express themselves, and in different forms, and then teachers as well have their, their own mechanism. And then, when they respond, before the regenerative experience and after we put the questions that are aligned with the specific skills, so, for example, empathy side by side, and then we have not specifically a scale, but we think of the evolution of the scale from an exploitive, sustainable and regenerative perspective, and then be able to draw conclusions from the responses and put together a personalized report for the students celebrating their strengths. There’s a section sharing what we specifically learned from them. And then the last section is a list of questions for them to be able to dive deeper into certain areas or specific skills, and we do the same for teachers as well and then, based on that response, we put together a detailed analysis for schools on a broader perspective on changes and we saw in these different areas and really the biggest changes we usually see are in emotional intelligence, specifically towards empathy of every educational package is narrated by or accompanied by a plant, micro organism or animal species, and so we’ve been saying that, you know, the pink dolphin in the Amazon is impacted by how much water I’m extracting from the water table and Jordan and then being able to draw these, these interconnections, as well as for us to be able to say, hey, you know, this is what we’re doing, this is the results of what we’re doing and this is what we can help.
Really, when you’re also talking to bigger kind of foundations or government forces that are like you know, this sounds great on paper, but what’s what’s in it?
for me it’s like well, you know as we show you the data analysis and it looks great.
0:33:43 – Anna
It’s comprehensive, it’s amazing and it captures like this kind of so many things, but like these so called 21st century skills that that you know lots of businesses and companies are saying are really lacking in students, things like collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, compassionate thinking, and also this, this really beautiful moment where you, you discuss what you learn from the students or from the teacher from that experience is so powerful and so and it is so I don’t know I’m just so excited by that model. I’m wondering how it like. So how does it sit within this kind of traditional, mechanistic school, like our teachers finding ways to just weave it into their the current curriculum that they might have to teach, or like, because you’re so evidence based, I think it it really speaks for itself of like, why it is important and how it’s measured, so it has some credibility there. But just how do teachers find weaving it into their curriculum?
0:34:45 – Zouheir
I think that’s that’s been one of the obstacles of school saying oh, you know, the ministry is requiring me to teach these 10 core subjects and I’m not specifically sure where I can implement the subject. I’m thinking that it’s going to displace one one of one of the other learning. So a lot of, a lot of teachers or a lot of programs started in this being like an after school model or something complimentary to teaching, specifically to students that tend to struggle in your educational, educational space and then, as they see the results, it’s becoming more vital to integrate it. Also, many institutions and localities around the world have declared a climate emergency and then part of the action plan after the climate emergency is a requirement of like, what are you doing? Education lead to be teaching about climate emergency and a lot of the education is very cognitive based. It’s like All right, great, what are? What is global warming, what are greenhouse gases? And only 13% of it is is action based. So kind of trying to position ourselves from from this perspective as well.
0:36:03 – Anna
And so you’re kind of touching on some of the next part of the question that I have for you, not not only within schools, but just in general. What do you see, what are the obstacles that you see for really embracing regenerative education, but just also just regenerative approaches to life, culture, to ways of being?
0:36:24 – Zouheir
That’s a great question, because sometimes I have this internal question my myself as well. Sometimes the education sector is is a late adopter, especially when we’re talking about public school systems and certain countries like this is great, we want to run a pilot study, but you have to wait until November of next year, when the budget, when this budget is set for the following year. So you know paperwork. Once a really good therapist of mine told me you have to keep in mind that bureaucracy was born with the idea to stop revolutions and when bureaucracy is the is a really big obstacle, especially when we’re talking about public school systems and on a on a grander scale. Not taking it to me but also not letting it stand in my way, you know it’s like alright, great, you want to wait until next November, let’s find another foundation or something that can pull out that have the budget to run a pilot study so that when next November comes, we can talk about a million students who are 500. So that’s, that’s been an obstacle. Getting people familiarized with the word regeneration has also been an obstacle, which I also think is great in the, in the work that you’re doing specifically with with this podcast, when we start kind of dismantling the words, of greenwashing and really getting to the roots of this evolutionary process.
Sometimes there’s certain themes when we’re talking about regeneration, especially from a social perspective, when we’re talking about stuff that can, that can trigger people from a certain perspective. When we’re talking about regeneration from an identity perspective, of transcending this idea of gender being only masculine or feminine. Or, you know, when you’re assessing the access to politics in your country and we’re talking about how is gender being represented in terms of non binary, the transsexual rights, also, the these next books that are coming out on sexual health and well being. It’s like, oh, you know, this is great, but I don’t know, is the parents are really gonna like this being implemented? It’s like, look, it’s 2023.
The kids are really curious. They have access to an immense amount of information online. You can either get with their process and support what it is that they need, or we can keep pretending that the world is black and white and choosing to intentionally victimize or marginalized certain populations, or pretending that they don’t exist, just for the sake of your own well being. And you know, sometimes you lose schools or schools don’t want to work with you anymore because of this, and it’s like you know what if you’re not ready for it. So thank you so much.
0:39:18 – Kyla
What I love about what you’re saying is that, in the discussion of obstacles, I think what people originally think is like, oh, I’m going to let stop me. But you’re seeing these obstacles as just like opportunities. I’m not going to let stop me, I’m just going to move through it, I’m just going to go around it, I’m going to find other ways in order to make this happen. I think it’s really beautiful and inspiring. As someone who is in the field of gender and sexuality as well, I love this idea of regeneration, not just in the realm of environmental ethics or climate resilience. It’s everything. It’s all of the systems in place. That’s been a recurring thread, I think, throughout our conversation. It’s like yes, of course we have to look at the climate crisis. Of course we have to look at what’s going on, but everything is enmeshed within it, especially if you think about who’s being disproportionately marginalized within the climate effects as well. Thank you for saying that. Is there anything else, before we end our conversation today, that you would like to add that you think needs to be mentioned?
0:40:20 – Zouheir
Just a touch on something you just said. One of the activities in one of the book is called the diversity of identity. One of the activities is you cut out a puzzle with different parts of the human body and then each, going through interconnecting pieces of the puzzle, have a statistic and stereotype on it related to different parts of religion, machismo, specifically, more so related to gender diverse identities. What we do with the students is we put together the puzzle and then the activity is take a specific statistic and a stereotype and think about how does it relate to you and then how can we specifically regenerate this part of the body. You would be surprised how difficult this activity has been with a lot of students of like, oh you know, this is just the cards that I was dealt and this is how I have to live with it until that light starts clicking that like oh you know, maybe I don’t have to be treated differently just because I’m this type of gender and that, or maybe it is wrong that I earn less just because I look a certain way.
0:41:36 – Kyla
I would love to see that activity. Yeah, and it goes back to again, like deep questioning of systems is deep questioning of what it is, and it’s based in reality, like what you said. It’s not just these like hypothetical problems that exist, like no, like all of these issues are based in a reality and I think that’s really incredibly important what you’re doing, and thank you so much. Actually, the last question we ask all of our guests and I think it ties in nicely is, in the work that you do, what gives you hope?
0:42:07 – Zouheir
Professor, anna, something you mentioned initially was kind of this there being a fine line between education for sustainable development and regenerative education, and I think a big difference is that regenerative education has a process of destruction, being able to destruct these systems that are not working for us to be able to recreate or rebirth or nourish or mature or conserve, to be able to grow from one adaptive cycle into the next in this evolutionary process.
And it really happens through this process of destruction, which you know, through a way, instruction can be hopeful.
And, on a more personal level, I love seeing my niece and nephew grow and I love hearing them ask questions that I never asked as a child and not taking no for an answer, and seeing coming into an education space and seeing like kind of, not only a light turn on but a change in attitude towards life with students, with teachers, through this regenerative educational style curriculum that we are creating.
And I have a lot of hope for the future based on just how much strength, how this inner rage is being channeled, the questions being asked, the work you are also doing in giving light and visibility to other regenerative projects and being able to wake up every day and, you know getting a message from this company we’re working with in Mexico of feedback they provided about this pilot study and being like you know what it’s like peaceful, simple, joyous life.
That now, I’m aware is possible, can be possibly translated through different people in different parts of the world through an educational experience, and that really excites me, not only for humanity, but being able to wake up and hear more birds singing in the morning, being able to breathe easier, being able to hear that the whale population is growing in the oceans, that specific banks are opening up, providing lending to certain populations that were excluded and then, hopefully, one day, regenerative education being a core subject in schools around the world. And you have the evolutionary process to keep going where it needs to go. And as the universe expands, this expansion on planet Earth also results in the same translation between the universal expansion and expansion of humanity and life on planet Earth towards where we need to go.
0:45:24 – Anna
It’s such a powerful way to end. Thank you so much for the conversation, but also for the work that you’re doing. It’s really amazing.
0:45:33 – Zouheir
Thank you so much. Thank you for celebrating our work, thank you for reaching out, thank you for having me here. I’m so eternally grateful. I love hearing kind of how this vision was born and you know you being called to this regenerative education. Also your jobs of hearing what different people in different sides of the world are doing along this path as well. Thank you, I’m so grateful. Thank you.
0:46:16 – Anna
You can find our guests’ contact information and any resources they mentioned in the show notes for the episode. If you want to stay connected with us or learn more about our work, visit my website, annagriffith.ca. There you’ll find additional resources and ways to contact us directly. We would love to hear from you, so if you have any feedback, suggestions or topics you’d like us to explore in future episodes, don’t hesitate to reach out. The Creative Praxis podcast is produced by me, Anna Griffith with support from Kyla Mitchell-Marquis. Sound editing is done by Brendon George, with music from Wattaboy on Pixabay.
Transcribed by https://podium.page