Being a self confessed misanthrope, I get asked the question "Why do you care?" whenever I talk about the need for education. To paraphrase Shakespeare's Brutus - "this is my answer: not that I loved humans less, but that I loved nature more". I feel that education can be used to lift the unwashed masses out of the morass of poverty, allowing them to impart the deserved love and dignity to their children. It thus acts as a benign virus that is transmitted down through generations allowing them to escape out of poverty forever.
But what's in it for nature?. Increased education leads to reduction in fertility rates as noted by the Economist. As fertility rates fall below the replacement level, we end up with fewer people fighting for earth's resources. This thesis is fraught with dangers though. Education could have the deleterious effect of increased consumption with every person aspiring for a car, house and other modern amenities. We thus need to ensure that our educational system stresses the need for sensitivity to the environment, other less fortunate human beings, etc.
How do we go about teaching our young?. I believe one option is to start your own school. Think about it - an entire generation of impressionable minds to be turned into an army of misanthropic minions (muah haha).
To know more about the relationships between fertility and living standards, go to this Economist link.