The Sustainability Principle
 of Energy


Home   First draft Aug 2010 

About this Work and Updates  

  Online Etymology Dictionary


The Power of Symbols

What is a Prime Symbol?

Variations on the Wisdom Of Confucius

How to Conserve
the Potential

The Human Condition

General Theory

Practical Application

Index of Denial/Acceptance

The Joys in 
Are you vulnerable to denial?
Review Call
Evaluate your
teachers /media
The Compassionate Curriculum
Defining some Prime Symbols


Energy Efficiency









Climate Change





Peak Oil
Principle of Energy





















Sustainable Education
(Towards a sustaining curriculum)



The ultimate measure of the success of an education system is not how literate or numerate its graduates are or what they say or believe. Rather the measure of the ultimate success of an education system  is whether it produces a people that conserves the balances and flows of our planet that sustain humanity long term.

The overwhelming evidence of the statistics of our behaviour is that the current Anglo-American Education Curriculum Framework is fatally flawed. It would take several planet Earth's to sustain all of humanity with our lifestyle. We are destroying vital, minerals at an unprecedented rate.
We fail to address this failure of our education system at our peril.

This page attempts to identify the fundamental flaws in our current education framework (see the New Zealand Curriculum Framework) and provide a more sustainable model (See the Compassionate Curriculum Framework).

The New Zealand National Education Curriculum Framework. 

This curriculum framework assumes science is an amoral way of thinking, as are the other “learning areas”. Each is compartmentalised and they occur in the following order:


Language and Languages




Social Sciences

The Arts

Health and Physical Well-being


The nautilus shell presents one of the finest natural examples of a logarithmic spiral. Each new chamber is built on the previous chamber and enlarges on it in a constant mathematical progression. The nautilus symbol of an education curriculum framework reflects the belief that the development of an individual occurs in a similar progressive way.  

Observe how the learning process occurs without compassion.

This use of the “science” symbol strips it of its original associations with “split, rend, cleave”.(1)

Inherent in this use of the  “science” symbol is the denial of the limitations of thought and the embracing of Descartes dictum, “I think, therefore I am.” Thought is deemed to be knowledge and there is no awareness of the paradox that our act of consciousness of existence disconnects us from reality. Knowledge (information) is seen to exist independent of the individual rather than being integral to their existence. In particular science is deemed to be the exclusive domain of an elite called “scientists”. 
This faith in the power of thought means we are at risk of the misery caused by the self-deceits and denials of the ego that resides in us all.

Observe how the sequence suggests that language development can occur without science and social science is distinct from science.

Observe how the “art” symbol occurs in this framework and is defined as a narrow range of activities rather than being associated with all manner of skills. (2)

Observe how the adoption of Descartes’ edict and these uses of the “science” and “art” symbol coincide with the advent of the Industrial Revolution with all the excesses enabled by the belief there can be a logarithmic spiral in consumption.







Observe how this belief system generates and reflects our current unsustainable behaviour and the associated statistics.
In many ways this nautilus symbol of education reflects our culture’s belief that eternal, unconstrained growth of our population and consumption is possible.


The Compassionate Curriculum

The Compassionate Curriculum Framework 

This curriculum framework assumes science is a profound moral way of being. This state of being exists when the following requisite states exist:


Collegiality, openness and sharing

Inquiry, wonder and forgiveness

Honesty and trust

Generosity of Time and Reflection

In the absence of
any of these requisite states then science ceases to exist. This use of the “science” symbol retains its original associations with “split, rend, cleave”. (1)
Inherent in this use of the “science” symbol is the acceptance of the limitations of thought as we embrace the paradox that our act of consciousness of existence disconnects us from reality. We acknowledge that with conscious knowledge comes the experience of schism. Thus we can begin to transcend this paradox.

Observe how these requisite states are all properties of compassion and thus science can be seen to be a state of being born of compassion.

Observe how the acquisition of knowledge does not overtly occur in this education framework. This is because knowledge occurs with consciousness. We are knowledge. Information is physical and is in all things. 
What determines whether civilisation occurs is whether or not we use knowledge in moral ways. This is the art of civics.

Observe how the “art” symbol does not occur in this framework. This is because science is understood to be a state of being that enables the development of all manner of skills, including sustainable language, wise use of technology and civics in general. In this context the “art” symbol retains its original associates with skill, completeness, suitability.(2)
Thus students are empowered in the realisation that just as any one can learn a spoken language they can also learn to draw, dance and compose music, for they are also languages.

Observe how the skills of civics, technology and language are interwoven.

Inherent in the Compassionate Curriculum is the understanding that sustainable learning occurs when the requisites for science exist. Sustainable learning involves embracing change and the continual forgiveness of our perceived errors. The complementary, interchanging dynamic of perceived good and bad is seen in the Yin Yang symbol.

Note. The “tree” symbol too has limitations. Perhaps a sustainable education curriculum is, for instance, better symbolised as our out-breath. In the process of breathing out in a healthy way we experience all the requisites for the state of science to exist. When these exist we are reminded of how we breathed as a baby and we give all away most freely so the universe can most fully replenish us.  Trees are vital for our existence. However there is no act more intimate and instructive for a human being than the breath.

Footnote September 2012 re Learning Areas

Observe also the NZNEC Framework’s framing of eight “learning areas”. These are more usefully symbolised as “perspectives”.
The use of the “perspectives” symbol reminds us that any school or system of knowledge is relative and uncertain. Though it may be refined and amplified (become specialized) a perspective is just one of myriad ways of exploring and reflecting on existence.

Awareness of this is vital and it enables the humility and inclusiveness most conducive to sustainable learning. We become more open to the vast array of possibilities, which is the universal potential. Knowledge is vitalized in us by this awareness because we realise that each perspective of an aspect of existence is an active reminder in itself of the essential continuous change.

And even as we are reminded in the essential change we are also reminded of our roles as stewards amidst the universal flux. We have significant choice of which perspectives we employ and this choice affects how the universal potential is manifest. By embracing all manner of perspectives we are better able to transcend the paradox that knowledge disconnects us from all even it enhances our sentience of existence.

In the Compassionate Curriculum Framework there are three learning areas - civics, languages and technology. Even as they are known as three learning areas they are also known as one.

The Compassionate Curriculum Framework


Online Etymology Dictionary



c.1300, "knowledge (of something) acquired by study," also "a particular branch of knowledge," from O.Fr. science, from L. scientia "knowledge," from sciens (gen. scientis), prp. of scire "to know," probably originally "to separate one thing from another, to distinguish," related to scindere "to cut, divide," from PIE root *skei- (cf. Gk. skhizein "to split, rend, cleave," Goth. skaidan, O.E. sceadan "to divide, separate;" see shed (v.)). Modern sense of "non-arts studies" is attested from 1670s. The distinction is commonly understood as between theoretical truth (Gk. episteme) and methods for effecting practical results (tekhne), but science sometimes is used for practical applications and art for applications of skill. Main modern (restricted) sense of "body of regular or methodical observations or propositions ... concerning any subject or speculation" is attested from 1725; in 17c.-18

(2) ART

early 13c., "skill as a result of learning or practice," from O.Fr. art (10c.), from L. artem (nom. ars) "work of art; practical skill; a business, craft," from PIE *ar-ti- (cf. Skt. rtih "manner, mode;" Gk. arti "just," artios "complete, suitable," artizein "to prepare;" L. artus "joint;" Armenian arnam "make;" Ger. art "manner, mode"), from root *ar- "fit together, join" (see arm (1)).

In Middle English usually with a sense of "skill in scholarship and learning" (c.1300), especially in the seven sciences, or liberal arts. This sense remains in Bachelor of Arts, etc. Meaning "human workmanship" (as opposed to nature) is from late 14c. Sense of "cunning and trickery" first attested c.1600. Meaning "skill in creative arts" is first recorded 1610s; especially of painting, sculpture, etc., from 1660s. Broader sense of the word remains in

Fine arts, "those which appeal to the mind and the imagination" first recorded 1767. Expression art for art's sake (1824) translates Fr. l'art pour l'art. First record of art critic is from 1847. Arts and crafts "decorative design and handcraft" first attested in the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, founded in London, 1888.


This website is devoted to revealing the essence of energy so humanity may thrive and our daily lives be filled with wonderment and awe. 
It is a labour of love, dedicated to our children.


Updates and Additions 


 31 January 2012

A Practical Guide to Enjoying True Hope

An essay exploring how the great principles of physics can help identify false hope and enable the experience of sustaining hope.


5 October 2011

"An Orwellian Climate"

Letters to Australasian Chief Science Advisors explaining contemporary confusion in climate care communication (Prof Peter Gluckman, Prof Ian Chubb, Prof Tim Flannery, Dr Andrew Glikson ) 


15 September 2011

The 2011 New Zealand Election Campaign

(A letter to New Zealand people alerting them to the dangers of the huge hidden yet in-your-face advertising campaign promoting the sale of our national assets.)


16 March 2011

Thought Experiments re the Carbon Trading Ethos

(Originally designed for the Office of the New Zealand Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.)


26 February 2011

Letter to Radio NZ

(Contains  reflections on broadcasts and ratings of the sustainability of a wide range of its programmes.)


29 November 2010 
The Joy in the Art of Civics

(Brief reflections on this state of being and the dangers of Environmental Education)


24 November 2010

Celebrating Our Climate   
(Draft one: A climate education framework founded in the Sustainability Principle of Energy offering an alternative vision of how we can communicate the role of humans in Earth's climate processes.) 


13 October 2010

Conversation with NZ Minister of Education (Anne Tolley) re the sustainability of the national education system. Read the Minister's letter and reflections on the flaws inherent in the Education Ministry's response.


4 November 2010

Letter to the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Introduction to the Sustainability Principle of Energy  with discussion of the nature of science.