Monday, February 26, 2007

Topic…Herbed Education for Sustainable Development

By Sylvester Oseremen Omosun
Planning Officer; Bells University of Technology, Ota

“I have traced all things from the start with accuracy that you may know fully the certainty of the things”
Luke 1- 3, 4, Isaiah 35- 5, 6.

This write-up is part of a resourceful research undertaken during my annual leave from work, between September 11th to October 9th 2006, the topic seeks to clarify the use of Medicinal Plants in relation to Sustainable Development, and why I think the strategy employed by saint Benedictine Monastery to the indigenes of Esanland [The venue researched were the towns around the Saint Benedict Monastery at Ewu-Esan in Edo Central Senatorial District] should be incorporated into the Nigeria education system in lieu with the aim of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, with special appraisal on Fr Anselm Adodo; coordinator of PAX herbal clinic and research laboratories.
“The aim of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development is to promote and improve the integration of education for sustainable development into the educational strategies and action plans at all levels and sectors of education in all countries.”
The decade running from 2005 to 2014 was declared by The United Nations as “the decade of Education for Sustainable Development.” According to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
Below I will try to explain how with the aid of a monastery herbal garden, a monk has affirmed with UNESCO key themes in education for sustainable development in Nigeria, which are:
1. Overcoming Poverty through herbal medicine,
2. Health Promotion,
3. Environmental Conservation and Protection,
4. Rural Transformation: Education for Rural People ,
5. Understanding and Peace,
6. Sustainable Production and Consumption ,
7. Cultural Diversity and,
8. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
Plants are the ideal educational tools for the natural habitat attributed to Africa, and I believe that the study of the various African plants can be used in virtually every subject across the sustainable development initiative as well as the University curriculum if accredited. I also believe that the fate of the world’s environment will depend to a great extent on the actions and decisions of plants conservation for the said development strategy, my belief planted this article
· Environmental Conservation and Protection,
During a two week period of researching some of the herbs gardens with the priest who is currently pursuing two doctoral degree programmes in sociology and history of medicine, I observed how some youthful workers between the ages of 16 and 21 worked to conserve one of the monastery gardens, fencing of the adjourning passages with new flowerbeds; containing mostly special species of herbal and drought resistant shrubs.
Observing the workers, a bible passages came into the field of reasoning {Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Gen 1:11-12}
The Monastic herbal garden caters for over 10,000 people in the last six month, Direct contact with such natural surroundings is new to many of the visitors, and responses show that it is a very enjoyable experience for all these people, because many of the people who take part in the monastery awareness seminar, as well as these coming in search of healing are from urban areas and have had little or no contact with the natural world as quoted in the passage above, and often it greatly enriches the overall value of the education they receive. That is what it did to me; the reason this research ended up being a lot of fun
I believe that combining environmental conservation with youth employment is an essential step to sustainable education initiatives lacking in many higher institutions and religion today, the employment program whereby the youth are recruited into the monastery ground provides a structured learning environment where participants developed basic job readiness skills while receiving mentoring for future prospect
How does the PAX Herbal Research Laboratories conserve and protect the Environment for sustainable development in Edo Central Senatorial District?
According to Fr. Ikeke, PhD, a catholic priest, who is the director of the Justice, Development, and Peace Commission of the diocese of Warri.

What is sustainability? What is its relevance to the herbal question? The question of sustainable development gained prominence in the late 1980s. It was promoted by The World Commission on Environment and Development. The World Commission says Promoting development and protecting the environment should not be separated. They are one integral whole. In the official website of UNESCO, it is affirmed that:
This new paradigm of sustainable development establishes linkages across poverty alleviation, human rights, peace and security, cultural diversity, bio-diversity, food security, clean water and sanitation, renewable energy, preservation of the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources. This view of sustainable development seeks to ensure a better quality of life for everyone now and for the generations to come.
The phrase “preservation of the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources” are of great interest to us here. The forests, plants, animals, and other natural things which herbal practitioners gather their herbs and materials are part of natural resources or the natural world. They need to be used in a sustainable manner. They should not be depleted. The benefits in the natural world are destined not only for our own good but the good of future generations and other biotic life flourishing. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches on the integrity and respect for all creation as follows:
(2415) The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.
Such conservative strategy is a crucial aspect of the works done in saint Benedictine, it open our eyes to the importance of plants in our everyday lives while enriching our learning experiences, such a study if addressed in the educational sector will inspire an appreciative and understanding of nature in today’s people
The goal behind setting up many of the herbal gardens in the districts is to conserve those species found infrequently in the wild. The resolute tending of herbs will be useful to the entire community as and when any need arises
Such courses were plants are being conserved sustainable are being studied in countries like china and India, the study of herbology is an example, Nigeria can take a green leaf from them, a designed learning strategy to make erudition of plants interesting, where students learn how plants can be used for food, medicine and shelter. And thereby provides information not only on the plants themselves, but also on the culture and history of the people involved in the usage of such medicinal plants
{Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so. Genesis 1:29-30}
the program employed by the Pax researchers for the conservation of medicinal plants gardens supports education initiatives noted all over the united Nation initiative for African society and highlights the importance of the local environment in conservation.
Here the community get the training from the monastery, a training by a qualified horticulturist teach them basic usage on their locally available herbs/plants right from nursery, conservation, practical identification to preparation
I agree whole heartedly with to Fr. Ikeke when he said that… Many people, even educators, are unaware of this decade of education for sustainable development. Because of this, the benefits of the decade cannot be fully distilled to the grassroots and daily life. It should be noted that the United Nations decade of education for sustainable development is not simply meant for educators or educational institutions in the real sense. We know that education should be a task for all social agents including religious bodies and indigenous institutions like the herbal medical institutions. In the light of the United Nations decade of education for sustainable development, no human subject or issues should be discussed without reference to the decade. Every purpose of the United Nations is to make life on earth better in a healthy planet. Today we live in a global planet and we are cosmopolitan or global citizens. The issues that affect the global world should not escape our frame of reference. A global issue that has implications for every locality is the issue of developing a sustainable society.
Researching the monastery garden has heighten awareness of the need for conservation and herbal education to the local communities, working in a research based university has given me the platform for air my views
The rarest essence from the monastery
Come streaming down from Esanland
The mandrakes yield their fragrances
Re-awaken in me -the healing faith
“We need to promote the scientific exploration of Africa flora and fauna for the benefit of our people,” Governor Igbinedion on the Commissioning of the herbal clinic

No comments: