The word "ante-deluvian" may take on a new meaning after the biblical scale of the flooding in New Orleans. It may come to refer to those days before the deluge, when we felt, naively, even instinctively, that such apocalyptic destruction at the hand of nature wouldn't happen in a prosperous Western country.
And it seems clear that the scale of the disaster was made worse because our own poor stewardship of the Earth's resources has quickened the pace of climate change.
It is a stark demonstration, if one were needed, of the challenges children in school today will face when they grow up and take over the messy world we will pass on to them.
Fortunately, children are passionate about saving the planet. They are fascinated by endangered species, enjoy creating wildlife gardens and want to make a difference. Fortunately, as well, many teachers, heads and communities are determined to create schools where the values of sustainable living permeate everything they do, and where children's enthusiasm for these issues is fostered.
You can read about a few of them in this magazine (pages 4-7). It also contains practical teaching ideas, including a close look at the Arctic (pages 8-11).
And if you and your students find the state of the Earth too depressing, turn to page 12 for some thoughts from Professor David Hicks on how to feel empowered to do something.
First, read this special report. Then take action.
Diane Hofkins, assistant editor, TES
The contents of Down to Earth are the responsibility of The TES, not of WWF