An A-Z of Dysfunctional ELT: E is for Environment

#7: E is for Environment

The flames will burn for decades, and humankind will shelter, like moles, in underground complexes waiting for the planet to heal itself after centuries of abuse. None shall dare tread upon the surface of the parched, scorched earth. Humans will survive on fungus and recycled sweat, until conditions are finally right for us to return to a place under a friendly sun.

When the historians of the future finally uncover the dusty servers and musty documents that show the root cause of the catastrophe, they will reel in shock and horror. The trail of evidence will be clear. What killed the planet? What drove humankind underground to escape the barren surface? Wait, I’ll tell you in a moment, but I want to keep you in suspense for the big reveal. Read on, there are more questions ahead, before the mystery is unshrouded.

What terrible series of events led to the downfall of the human race? What was the root of the uncaring, lackadaisical attitude that meant humans ignored the desperate signals of a planet in turmoil? What caused the apathy that made people sniff their noses at the disappearing forests, the increasing pollution, the severe droughts and terrible cataclysmic storms that racked the earth?

Still here? Then come close. No, closer.

It was a small, seemingly innocent thing, like the drop of water that displaces mountains. It was the unit in every course book called ‘The Environment’ or ‘Our Planet’, with its texts and audio, it’s future in the past and it’s future perfect, all wrapped up in an environmental lexicon.


ELT Killed The Planet

Think about it. What is the moral effect of studying English for 5, 6, 7 or more years, where every year one is browbeaten by a unit that asks you to repeat your crimes and the crimes of your fathers, to discuss your views on global warming or to read about the sixth extinction in the Anthropocene? Simple, it’s one of defence – numbing self-defence.

It’s clear that those who study English to a high degree will later fill positions of great responsibility in business and society, and when those people are flu-jabbed on a yearly basis, immunizing them against the environmental message, they will not react to the transformation occurring around them.

ELT made us blind. ELT killed the planet.

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Dennis Warren

I'm a teacher/trainer but I have a background in computational linguistics, and am interested in virtually everything. I hold a bachelor's degree in Linguistics and a master's degree in Cognitive Science.

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