Personal Finance and Environmental Sustainability: Fixing the Gap in our School’s Curriculum

I find it interesting how some of the most important topics like personal finance and environmental sustainability are not taught as part of the standard curriculum within our school systems. We live in a time where the fiat monetary system touches every individual’s life, yet we don’t teach our young adults how to manage or navigate their personal finances. Once an individual turns 18, we automatically expect that they know how FICO scores, credit cards, saving for retirement, and managing a budget works. Human beings have certain base level needs that are the same across the world. We all need to eat, obtain clean water, feel safe, and have some sort of shelter. What is left out of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is the fact that at least half of these things are obtained with money!

We are told at a young age that it is impolite to talk about money, politics, and religion. Why is money such a taboo subject, when it is something that impacts everyone’s life? Every person on this planet has a financial report card, so why is it not taught in high school?

Environmental sustainability is another subject that is also not being talked about. There are nearly 7.3 billion people on this planet, and the human race is growing exponentially. Every individual has an impact, and can make an impact on how we use our resources. In economics, we are taught that we live in a world of resource scarcity. My goal with this blog is to shed more light on these topics, and provide an avenue for individuals to become more knowledgeable about their personal finances and to live in greater harmony with Mother Earth.

If we think on a grander scale, our planet is but one rock in the billions and trillions of planets in the universe. The earth doesn’t NEED to have human life on it, but WE do need Mother Earth. If we look at the natural ecosystems that exist on our planet (the water system, weather patterns, and how the rain forests operates), we can see that it all functions in harmony. I would argue that the way in which we use our resources has fallen into disharmony. In 2016, I created a nonprofit organization (which currently has its 501 C3 recognition from the IRS, and is registered in the state of Nevada) called Earth Mantra. The goal of this organization is to help educate the world’s citizens on how to live in harmony with our planet, and become knowledgeable about how to navigate their own personal finances.

Becoming financially solvent, allows individuals to be able to care about higher order issues (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). They would make more informed decisions on what kinds of products they purchase (consider a company’s overall impact) and companies they invest in. For example: a financially knowledgeable individual, who cares about sustainability, would decide to invest in a B-Corp, a CSR (corporate socially responsible company), or a renewable energy company. An environmentally aware individual would understand that they can make a choice to support companies (through the power of their investments) that put its people and the planet first. They would use their purchasing power to increase the demand for the products of eco-friendly companies, instead of supporting big oil or other antiquated finite resource consuming companies. We all live on this planet, and we only get one of them. Although we have plans to put humans on Mars, the reality of inhabiting that dreary and dusty red planet is a concept so distant in the future that we may not make it off of this planet for that reality to come to fruition (if we keep ruining Mother Earth). Some of the greatest minds, like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, believe that someday we will need to find another planet due to our poor resource management skills. This is such a tragedy, because if we look at all of the beautiful places that Mother Earth has to offer, and then compare the landscape of Mars… Well, there is no comparison!

Concepts like sustainability and saving for retirement can be seen as issues that will impact us sometime in the far future. Many people choose to ignore these issues, because there are other more pressing issues at hand. I see so many individuals problem-solving for today, but creating larger and more hairy problems for tomorrow. My wish is to help people problem solve out into the future, so that when the future comes to today the problem has already been resolved.

Through out my blog series, I talk a lot about goal-setting. In the book, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” the authors James Collins and Jerry Porras talk about the importance of establishing a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

What is my Big Hairy Audacious Goal?

I want to create a website for Earth Mantra which will allow me to work full-time on helping individuals change their habits to live a more sustainable life with respect to the environment and their personal finances.

In a past blog, I discussed how to use mental modeling to set goals and how to achieve them. One important point to note is that during times of radical change, we need to humble ourselves and seek the help of others. By reading and sharing this website YOU can help me achieve my big hairy audacious goal, and in turn I can help others learn more about personal finances and how to live in harmony with our planet.

What is your big hairy audacious goal? Comment below!


Photo credit waterfall

Photo credit Mars

Photo credit lake

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