Returning to Our Dreams

How are our dreams related to sustainability? The new continuing education programme at Ramat Hanadiv, The Pedagogy of Coca Cola, which shines a penetrating spotlight on how we live, buy and dream, deals precisely with this question.

Rohan Plaut

If you went to the shopping centre and suddenly bumped into a group of teachers wandering around as part of a study tour, you probably bumped into the continuing education programme for educators led by Rohan Plaut, as part of our educational activity at Ramat Hanadiv.

The combination of wandering around a shopping centre with studying and education sounds a bit like an oxymoron – what can be learned in a shopping centre? So it turns out that a lot can be learned, at least with respect to our consumer habits, which we are generally unaware of. ‘To approach something familiar and examine it from a new perspective nearly always leads to significant insights,’ explains Rohan, whose mission is to effect a perceptual change among teaching staff and educators, with an emphasis on sustainability values.

The continuing education programme, The Pedagogy of Coca Cola, is taking place at Ramat Hanadiv as part of our continuing education programmes for school and preschool teachers that are offered to educators on the topics of sustainability and learning in nature, in which Rohan sheds light on the cultural stories that shape and influence us through the world of advertising.


Each thing we chose to do has ripples that impact wider circles around us, and the wisdom is to be aware of them


He speaks from personal experience, as someone whose personal path underwent a dramatic change, from working as a publicist in one of the most prestigious companies in Israel, to the worlds of content and action related to sustainability and a connection to nature. ‘The world of advertising teaches us a lesson about how culture conducts itself and what drives people to do things, because those who stand at this crossroads are publicists, and their influence on the values we are educated on is enormous. We are surrounded by cultural stories that someone else told us.’

Which stories, for instance?

‘For example – not to be fooled, especially in Israeli culture. Or competition as a driving mechanism – a reward for first, second and third place, a reward for success but not for effort. There are also gender stories – for example, that the man earns the money and the woman wastes it. And the social and cultural impacts of these stories are enormous.

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During the continuing education programme we open their eyes to these stories and ask ourselves where we fit into them. And since our culture has gotten lost over the years, our way to change this is to tell other stories; only then will we be able to change ourselves and effect change among others.’

What does it mean that our culture has gotten lost?

‘Over time, a very problematic process has been going on: our sphere of concern, instead of being far from us, is coming closer to us to the point of the selfie, me and myself. Each thing we chose to do has ripples that impact wider circles around us, and the wisdom is to be aware of them.’

‘I teach how to expand the sphere of concern and examine all of the ripples, both positive and negative, of our deeds.


The courage to push our sphere of concern beyond what exists now is, in my opinion, the very heart of sustainability


The courage to push our sphere of concern beyond what exists now is, in my opinion, the very heart of sustainability. In the world of sustainability the term “common knowledge” is widespread – there are very few spaces that are mine and many spaces that are ours. A healthy culture tells itself – if we invest in ours it will really prosper.’

How can we translate this to our daily lives?

‘We can give ourselves a “where are our relationships leading” conversation and look at what we do on a regular basis. If we take plastic bags from the supermarket – what consequences will there be. What will be the ripples for my breakfast – will they be cereal that was produced in a distant factory and imported to Israel, or will they be bread and vegetables from the local farmer.

If I leave the air conditioner on every day will I care only about the electricity bill I pay, or also the fuel that was burned, the pollution, and the asthma it causes people? Each one has the ripple at which they stop, and to what extent they dare to stretch the space further.’

How can this be expressed in the educational space?

‘For example, when one student decides there will be no disposables on a school trip and the decision causes their entire class and all the teachers to change this habit. Teachers tell me that they began initiating all kinds of processes together at their schools. In a lecture I gave to high school students we spoke about the climate crisis and our choices, and a group was created to meet and think together about what they can do in this context. Another example is a teacher who activates the Ministry of Education to add a chapter about consumer culture to civics studies. Or an art study track in a school that initiated an exhibition about consumer culture and how it strangles them.’

‘In the community space too, if a resident approaches their council to expand the recycling system, that’s a ripple they create. The basis of sustainability is to know that there’s something much larger than me that has its own rules and cycles.’

We began with shopping centres and consumer culture, so what can we do there?

‘First of all, we can think about the amount we buy. We don’t have to satisfy every one of our needs with a product, which is a physical thing. Then we’ll want more of it and our problem will still not be solved. If each one of us would starting looking and understanding what they really need, and what they need to do to obtain it, we’ll discover that the ability of shopping to satisfy us is limited. If we look at what we really need in the world and examine it in depth, we’ll be able to discover our real dreams, and not the dreams that the publicists have chosen to tell us. And finally, our job is to find them.’

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