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All creatures great and small

When the astronauts first looked down at the Earth from the moon, they didn't see the buzz of separate nations, striving and in conflict, they saw a small, vulnerable planet, alone in space. I have always loved the idea of Spaceship Earth. It tells us life's an adventure, if often a scary one. It tells us everyone is in it together, and that all we have is each other.

The infants starting school today are truly 21st century children, born after the turn of the 2000s. They will have to grapple with the future we bequeath to them. As ever more alarming reports appear about the impact of global warming on the seas, the poles and the world's climate, it is clear they have a tough job ahead.

This, the last supplement in our series on What is Education For, is about what it means to live not only in a global village, but in our smaller, more personal, communities. Sometimes it can be easier to care about those far away than the awkward, multidimentional individuals next-door. Teaching about citizenship and environmentalism will not solve the world's problems, but it enables us to have hope for the future.

Our 21st century children will have to take it from there.

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