In order to shift a paradigm, you must change the usual way of thinking and replace it with a new, different, and/or innovative perspective. Thinking divergently, disrupting your natural flow of thoughts with differing perspectives, and an openness to learn are all ways to help yourself begin to shift paradigms in your own life. But, when it comes to helping others do the same in a way that is sustainable from a longevity sense but also from an environmental sense is where I have had personal difficulties.
I have come to realize the best way to shift perspectives sustainably is through education and a willingness to learn. Regardless of age, education is the main factor that allows perception to be shifted. Learning gives you the chance to question yourself and your past ideologies. “The more you learn, the more you grow.” But, I think what many people forget is the only way to make this sustainable is to allow people to make discoveries on their own. The goal is not to indoctrinate anyone with your beliefs or scold people for differing opinions and actions, it’s about creating a safe space where people feel comfortable questioning their beliefs. These spaces can only occur when people are ready. An unwillingness to learn is a closed door, and as people who are trying to shift paradigms its not our job to attempt to pry these hypothetical doors open. Rather, it’s our job to give people time and be ready to guide them through learning more about a specific topic when they are ready and open. Engaging yet verifiable lessons are important. Tell your story, hear them out, and work together to gain a better understanding.
My policy idea is a curriculum adjustment. I believe the requirement of elementary and middle schoolers to have earth science courses centered around sustainability, recycling, food education, etc. ( in 3rd grade and 7th grade) would make impactful and long-lasting changes as these students have been learning the importance of protecting the planet in their most formative years. I had the chance to learn earth science in elementary school from a teacher who stressed the importance of not only how we impact the Earth but also how the Earth impacts us in an engaging and age appropriate way and I still hold onto those classes as they are the foundation to my understanding of the sustainability. Learning these crucial lessons from a young age is the way to create generations of people who have an almost inherent want to protect and sustain Earth.