Americum [uh-mer-i-kum] n: any group of 350 million people with a per capita income above $15,000 and a growing penchant for consumerism. (p. 56 when I Searched Inside This Book at Amazon)
In the presentation Friedman says there were about 2.5 Americums in the 1950’s (America, Western Europe and Japan) and now we are approaching 9 (America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Russia, Japan, India, China and South America) – with 2 more just around the corner (India and China each giving birth to a second Americum). He refers to them as America’s “carbon copies.” Ouch. He goes on to say that the energy and natural resource implications of that are staggering, and therefore we need to redefine what it means to “live like an American.”
As a red-blooded, Prius-driving American, I can’t help but agree, but I also thought of this in terms of a presentation of my own. America used to be 40% of the Americums on the planet, now it’s 11%. Unlike some folks, I see that as a good thing overall (notwithstanding the environmental impact which I agree must be addressed immediately), and I’m optimistic about what that could mean for the human race, with people living free everywhere, and enjoying a much better standard of living than they have previously.
But it also means we need to change the way we teach our students, with not just global awareness as a goal, but global collaboration. We need our students to be working with students (and adults) around the world, to learn with and about each other, and to foster relationships that will help us solve problems that know no borders. With how many of the nine Americums (or other countries) have your students collaborated?