Saturday, May 25, 2019

Water Walk Experiment

Water and walking... two things we take for granted. When combined, it amounts to what 14 million women and 3 million children do every day (for 30 minutes or more) to access clean water.

This social experiment really helps to put it all into perspective:

 

Here are some past posts that tie to the importance of clean water! It doesn't need to be World Water Day to make this a priority or a focus--it just so happens to be that's a lot of when I wrote about it!

Video from https://www.facebook.com/ajplusenglish/videos/1043829469091893/

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Break Up--It's Not Me, It's You

When teaching my 5th graders about PSA's and what exactly a Public Service Announcement is, I ran across this (and later the second & third one).

Might be time for all of us to have a break up or two!!






Videos from https://youtu.be/YsRjgraJfA8 anhttps://youtu.be/-DEc16dEMns and https://youtu.be/76YtUwwW-LI, image from http://ceec.ca/post/lets-break-up-with-single-use-plastic/

Saturday, May 18, 2019

John Oliver: For the Climate Awareness Win

Sometimes you just need to laugh... in order to not cry. Our late night comedians know how to do this well.

In a very "not safe for work or in the presence of small kids" sort of way, John Oliver nails things once again last week (on May 12th) Climate change, the "Green New Deal," carbon pricing/emissions, oh my! Not to mention, he brings in Bill Nye to help him bring it all home later in the episode. (Bill Nye is always for the win! Even when he's fired up [quite literally] and cursing.)

"It's just science everyone," John Oliver states. Yes, yes that's true.

For more on science-concerns right now that American voters should have on their radar, read this article and the 9 bullet-points of scientific & environmental neglect.

And then, there's this. Always this:

Image result for regardless of whether you believe in science it's true, neil degrasse
 
Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDcro7dPqpA, photo from http://www.lovethispic.com/image/227430/every-time-you-find-some-humour-in-a-difficult-situation,-you-win and https://warosu.org/sci/thread/9134322

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Endangered Species Day--May 17, 2019

The 3rd Friday in May (aka: THIS FRIDAY, May 17th) brings us another annual environmental day: Endangered Species Day. This video gives you a snapshot on why it's important. Then investigate some of the links below for some resources to learn more.




Resources:

The IUCN Red List
Created in 1964, the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species
is the place to go see where exactly we are when it comes to critically endangered species and our planet's biodiversity. Conservationist will appreciate all the facts here as they work to create policy change and decisions. Be sure to click the "Advanced" button to zero in on specific search criterion.

National Wildlife Federation
Come here for a quick overview of the specifics behind Endangered Species Day. You will also get some good ideas on how to take action, especially with some tweet suggestions and photo banners to spread the work via social media! A couple clicks in can give you a link to:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
More resources including podcasts & transcripts of these including an overview, the reasons for species decline, species recovery, and how you can help

OneKindPlanet.org's Top 10 Most Endangered Animals
There, you can see gorgeous pictures of these 10 and learn more about each one... and maybe learn about a new animal or two!

Arkive.org
Arkive.org has been my favorite go-to place for "all things species" for the last 8 years or so. They had copious amounts (over 100,0000) of wonderful photos, videos, and even animal cams (not to mention information about all elements of habitat, needs, threatened level, and more).  I was saddened to see that due to lack of funds, they had to close down this portal in February 2019.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

13 Ocean Heroes Fighting to Save Our Seas

I ran across the article "13 Ocean Heroes Fighting to Save Our Seas" by Lauren Paige Kennedy on "Coastal Living's" website, and it was too good not to share. You must visit it to learn more about these ocean lovers & heroes! I love the slideshow Kennedy created with information about teaching of these individuals, plus there's a link per slide to more in depth interviews with each person or duo (which I've linked you to below).

There, you'll find these people and all the good work they are doing for our oceans:


Images from Lauren Paige Kennedy's article (http://www.coastalliving.com/lifestyle/the-environment/ocean-heroes), as compiled on PicCollage EDU

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Sesame Street: Device Free Dinner

In my last post, I discussed my all-day affair early April at Common Sense Media's Truth About
Tech: Solutions for Digital Well-Being Conference in DC.

They closed the conference with some familiar faces--those on Sesame Street. What a great way to tie together Sesame Street's 50th anniversary and Common Sense's #DeviceFreeDinner campaign!

Be sure to check out their Device Free Dinner YouTube playlist of other videos in this series!



Screenshot and video from https://youtu.be/SMBPY3oqPys

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Common Sense Media Digital Well-Being Conference

Anyone who has been around GTG for awhile knows I'm doing a personal quest this past year on the good, the bad, and the ugly of screen time. I've long had a love-hate relationship--it's my job, it's my hobby, it's how I write this blog, it's in my house and soaked in with my kids. At times, I'm very good with disconnected, and other times it can be my own personal wrestle-fest. (True confession: last night I "got in trouble" while watching a movie with the family here at home, as I was too sucked into my phone simultaneously.)

It's tricky, being the adult and parenting tech, when we adults are human too. We all can get sucked into the dopamine rush akin to the slot machine mentality of "likes" on social media, or return texts, or busy trying to see what we're missing out on (#FOMO). It takes a lot of education and also a decent amount of willpower to redirect our efforts.

Luckily, there are organizations such as Common Sense Media, and I was privileged to be able to attend their April 4th Truth About Tech Conference in DC at Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies. We had a full day.

The conference opened the conference with this video:



The day was packed, 9am-5pm with sessions 30-45 minute sessions running all day long. It was a live-streamed event, so the exciting thing is you can go see what I saw on the Common Sense Media YouTube playlist. My favorites were Common Sense Media's CEO Jim Steyer's opening comments, Massachusetts' Senator Ed Markey's Opening Remarks about legislation they are working on, Obama's US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy's comments on connection and social relations under the lens of technology, and March For Our Lives Co-Founder Cameron Kaskey's commentary on his experience and using technology to build a movement.

Cameron Kaskey with
moderator Elizabeth Galicia
Of course, you might have your own personal favorites.

I encourage you to check out their playlist so you too can build up your wealth of information on this very important topic.

To learn more, you also can check out Common Sense Media's portal on Digital Well-Being for more resources.

Additionally, I'm looking forward to live-streaming Common Sense Media's Designing for Our Future: Solutions for Digital Well-Being May 29th Silicon Valley Tech Conference, held at the Computer History Museum in combination with Stanford's d.school.
Jim Steyer with Dr. Vivek Murthy

Video from https://youtu.be/sJFO6SjtR3w; images from my camera, screenshot of the agenda from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/livestream-april-2019 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Bicylcing Recyling!

I love it when innovation is in action.

In the Netherlands, where a million bikes are discarded every year. To solve that problem, Roetz-Bikes is redrafting them into custom bikes.

Given that, the wheels on the bike aren't the only thing that's circular. So is the system of design, use, done, recycle, and recreate. This is what the world needs more of! A closed loop system! An innovative sustainable plan to help out our planet by repurposing materials!




video from https://www.facebook.com/1MillionWomen/videos/388308018663740/ and image from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC8B2D_w7eM

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Nature's Alarm Clock

The sound of a Canadian goose was my alarm clock this morning (supposing that the honking call is we have this here). The open windows and freshness of spring led to crisp morning air whisper-tickling my skin. Accompanying that was the shifting sunbeam on my face, working its way up and through the slats of my blinds.

Disclosure: I am not a morning person nor do I typically wake up well or easily. Rather I’m a creature of sleep who loves my bed. Always have been. I don’t pounce up, ready to face the world. Rather I wake up tired, wanting to pull the covers over my head, craving more sleep, wanting a good two hours or more. (And this is a girl who has read Shawn Stevenson’s book Sleep Smarter and has purposely tried to go to bed earlier having learned the importance and value of sleep for our health and well-being.)

I know that my slow-to-wake side comes from more than my innate craving for the quiet of the house at the end of the nigh after all go to bed. It’s more than the second wind of creativity I can get in the evening. A lot probably comes from being a working mom with a to-do list that grows faster than it can get all crossed off. Maybe too it’s because I’ve yet to craft that morning routine where that first hour is deliciously mine. Instead, especially on work days, I’m too busy for a morning routine because I’m preoccupied with hitting the snooze button a number of times. Then I’m too busy scurrying around getting ready and organized to get out of the house...frequently running tight on time, hoping not to be late. Clearly we aren’t perfect beings, we have our flaws, and this is among mine.

But I digress—and return to the moment.

Another sunbeam is hitting that sweet spot in the blind, landing it directly on my face. I notice the blessed blue skies and the peeks of green on the trees (almost like a silhouette) through those slats as well. I start to count bird songs I hear, wishing I were more skilled with my identification skills.

I love the early days of spring where all of this is fresh and new, truly waking us up from winter. Hyperaware of it all— in part because we are so grateful winter has finally passed. (My affinity for winter is quite similar to my love of my morning extraction from bed!!)

A sneeze and nose twitxh surprises me, making me aware too of the miscroscopic pollen that is also wafting through my windows on the blowing breeze I feel. But I almost welcome it given it’s a necessary side effect of the beautifully flowered trees that dot my neighborhood and serve as pollination stations for the bees. All good things necessary in this wonderful world of ours.

I’m struck that I’m having an eco-mindfulness moment. And I’m struck that perhaps this indeed is the best way to start the day—filled with a bounty of love. Reminiscent of Earth Day, and the fact that every day should be celebrated as such.

My intention: to go forward through the day maintaining this level of eco-awareness and gratitude, thanking Spring for fully springing.

My hope: I start tomorrow with this same morning mindset! Maybe the new leaves of Spring may help me turn over a new leaf of my own!

Photos from my camera.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Blue Mind: The Book

Fitting that on World Water Day (March 22nd) I wrapped up Wallace J. Nichol's Book Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do. (It's amazing what you can accomplish when you have a 5 hour layover between flights!)

Fitting too, to share these thoughts during Earth Week!

In reading this book (which came recommended from a colleague at school), it made me realize why I love my pool so. Now that Spring has sprung and the warming has begun, I've got some of my neighborhood hot spots and watering holes on my mind. Also, I have a greater intention to get there more often.



Here are some take aways from this brain-based, research-backed book on the effects of water on the brain and body... and the science of happiness:

๐Ÿ’งThe key questions of the book: “What is water? Why are we humans so enthralled by water? Why is this question so obvious and important, yet so hard to adequately answer?” ( page xviii)

๐Ÿ’ง“The name for this human-water connection: Blue Mind, a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peaceful, unity, and a sense of general satisfaction with life in the moment. It is inspired by water and elements associated with water, from to color blue to the words we use to describe the sensations associated with immersion.” (page 6) Some of those "words" that have infiltrated our vocabulary: Times when we are 'in the flow' of creativity; when we have 'waves of emotions;' we can feel like 'fish out of water' when we are uncomfortable; or we might have a 'sea of questions.' There's a million of them!

๐Ÿ’งThe opposite of Blue Mind? Red Mind. A more attention-to-detail, stress-driven, anxiety-fear-anger-ridden mind. The mind that lives in this age of instant-global-connection, hyper-aware, tech-driven world that has us always overstimulated, over-stressed, over-screened. The exact reason why we need to let go of multitasking and spend more time being digitally mindful. Just like in Florence Williams' book Nature Fix (which this is a great companion piece for), being in nature (near water particularly with Blue Mind) gives our frontal lobe a break and helps equalize our emotions and build our empathy. Empathy--what connects us to all things (and perhaps what is missing when it comes to the polarized political world in which we all are living--and needing to disconnect from!)

๐Ÿ’งWhich of these lists sounds better and more helpful?
  1. Nature Immersion therapy, Spa Bathing, Hydrotherapy, Eco Therapy, and Wilderness Therapy
  2. “Monkey mind. Toxic stress. Chronic stress. Stress overload. Directed attention fatigue. Mental fatigue.” (page 140)
๐Ÿ’ง“What if your doctor handed you a prescription for stress or ill health that read, ‘Take 2 waves, a beach walk, and some flowing river, and call me in the morning?’” (page 141)

๐Ÿ’งWater has power. It is a basic human need. As Americans, we use 80-100 gallons a day. Yet we know that approx 1 in 10 people in the world don't have access to clean water. (Roughly 663 million!) Our bodies are made up of 78% water. Water energizes us via hydration, water splashed on our face, or even just our proximity to it. If climate change doesn't get addressed, the waters will rise and coastal communities will be in danger.

๐Ÿ’งWater is also a 5-senses experience:
  • See: Light takes on a new look when playing on water.
  • Taste & Smell: You can smell and taste the saltiness near ocean water or smell the freshness after a good rain. Smells can also trigger memories.
  • Sound: I can hear it now: the waterfalls, the swish of waves, even the trickling of water in a stream or the rain hitting the wind.
  • Feel: We feel like we weigh less in water and we notice it in our buoyancy. Water exercise or aquatherapy is highly beneficial due to this. I know my aging knees certainly are much more capable in the pool than on land these days! Additionally, between the water pressure, the flotation sensation, and all of the above--our senses tend to come more alive in or near the water! 
๐Ÿ’งThere are 3 perspectives when it comes to people and nature:
  1. Egocentric is when you put yourself at the center and only can see what nature can do for you personally.
  2. Anthropogenic is when you broaden from the self and consider everyone, but more "how nature serves humanities needs and desires." (page 250)
  3. Biocentric is when you see "humanity as part of nature, rather than separate." (p. 250) It broadens the perspective to help you realize that you are part of something bigger than yourself. By connecting with nature or water, you become not only more engaged and attentive, but also more invested. You begin to care... which leads to empathy and an emotional drive to take care of it so you can share it with others. 
๐Ÿ’ง“Being in nature quiets my mind, and out of that quietness is where the real art happens." ~ Sculptor David Eisenhower (page 223)

๐Ÿ’ง"The real voyage of discovery consists not so much in seeking new territory, but possibly in having new sets of eyes." ~ Marcel Proust (page 269)

๐Ÿ’ง“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” ~ John Burroughs (page 84)


Rereading this list and thinking about my blue mind, it's made me realize just how much of an aquaphile I really am! No wonder we gravitated toward a water-oriented vacation for this summer ahead! ๐Ÿ’ง


Images from https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Mind-Surprising-Healthier-Connected/dp/0316252115 and video from https://youtu.be/2ANB5nDW9q8

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Happy Earth Day

Jane Goodall always strikes me as the Mother of Earth Day. Perhaps it stems from her having an April birthday, and seeing her years ago right around Earth Day. Her dedication to our planet throughout the course of her lifetime adds to this as well, I'm sure.

In honor of Earth Day Monday, take 6 minutes out of your day to watch this, to be inspired to do something for our big beautiful world.



Here are some ideas below if you need a little help getting started this weekend being an environmental steward. Take a friend or your with you!

๐ŸŒŽ Unplug from those devices and do something outside.
๐ŸŒŽ Plan a picnic, a bike ride, a hike, a walk in the park, or time outdoors in. your 
        own backyard!
๐ŸŒŽ Clean a stream, a park, or a community area.
๐ŸŒŽ Shop at a local market, bring your own bag, or don't go shopping at all to use 
        less resources.
๐ŸŒŽ Plant a tree, plant a garden, plant a seed of hope!
๐ŸŒŽ Visit an outdoor festival or an Earth Day event.
๐ŸŒŽ Pass on the plastic bag, the plastic straw, the plastic cups, and plastic utensils.
๐ŸŒŽ Step up your recycling, composting, water usage, or home energy reduction 
        plan.
๐ŸŒŽ Educate yourself or others, write letters to your leaders, make posters for 
        your neighborhood, or share forward eco facts on your social media.
๐ŸŒŽ Volunteer to help out an environmental organization, a community service, or 
        your neighbors.
๐ŸŒŽ Donate to an environmental cause that you believe in.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Eco-Mindfulness

Mindfulness is quite en vogue right now. All the podcasts I listen have both hosts and their guests (many of them leaders in their field or entrepreneurs) that talk of their morning routines that morning routines that help shape their day and promote their productivity. 96% of those morning routines have elements of meditation or gratitude in them. Both of these are mindfulness practices. A good friend of mine is a life coach and she swears by mindful practices and has even brought it into our Lower School with great success. (Check out Karin Mitchell Coaching).

As for me, I get glimmers of mindfulness—like when I went on a college visit exploration trip with my family. I found myself very “in the moment” a lot of the time: soaking up the setting, experiencing new things, and looking with fresh eyes. Seeing the first glimmers of Spring, down south (earlier than our “at home” sights) it was refreshingly striking and I found myself really absorbing my surroundings.

Typically though, I wrestle with being in the moment. I'm always trying to investigate new ideas, do "one more thing," check off something on my to-do list... or even mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Apple News.

Yet it was in reading Cheryl Leutjen’s book “Love Earth Now: The Power is Doing One Thing Every Day” that I couldn’t get past the introduction without being struck by the term “eco-mindful.”

I also highly related to the intro alone as an environmentalist. This quote struck a chord, as I too “attempt to navigate the fine line between eco-mindfulness and eco-madness.” Watching the news reports about plastic pollution, the growing effects of climate change, environmental laws that seem to be going backwards rather than forwards, the arguments from science deniers and politicians who clearly need to take a science class or two—it can be overwhelming and often times downright depressing.

But science minded Cheryl Leutjen embraces her own discomfort with mindful practices to be just that. Additionally, she does it with humor. To inspire mindful moments both “with nature” and in thinking about the environment, it's important to do small actions to make your eco-vote heard. We all can do that whether we are voting via our decisions, our wallet, or our actions & examples—especially to our own children.

Fitting: I was reading all of this, and thinking all of this, while sitting outside. Doing so, I was feeling the shadow-to-sun-ratio above shift, leaving me more and more in the warming sunbeam of early Spring. That alone made me grin back to the sun. In my basking moment, I was struck by a bird call I wasn’t accustomed to, so I started visually scanning my surroundings. I finally locked on a remarkable blue jay hiding noisily in a nearby bush. A rare sighting for me. My blue jay pulled me in to just stop and watch him, preening in the sun much like myself. I wasn't digital-scrolling mindlessly. I stopped reading and just was there, in that moment, in nature.

And... I was richer for the experience!

May you find many moments of eco-mindfulness this Spring, especially with Earth Day on the way!


Images: Book from https://www.amazon.com/s?k=love+earth&ref=nb_sb_noss_2, "Eco-Mindfulness" was created by me at canva.com, and the cherry blossoms from my camera.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Earth Day is on the Way

During an Earth Day lesson this week this week with first graders,  I told them that Earth Day was my favorite holiday. I left out the part about my teaching experience at previous school that was รผber environmental. I also left out the part about writing an eco blog for the past 9+ years. But they got the impassioned point, none the less, and who knows, maybe they could guess the rest.

Earth Day, just like your birthday, is annually on April 22nd. This year, Earth Day turns 49. The 2019 theme: Protect Our Species.

For teachers, Earth Day is ripe for lesson plans and curricular tie-ins at every level. Here's a collection of resources for you if you are still looking for something for the next week or so ahead. (Though, one could argue, environmentalism can and should be taught all year long!)

๐ŸŒŽ Earth Day Network
This is your first stop on Earth Day, from the source. Their mission: "To work year round to solve climate change, to end plastic pollution, to protect endangered species, and to broaden, educate, and activate the environmental movement across the globe."

There, you'll find a wealth of toolkits & background information for teachers and groups including:
  • Organizers' Toolkit
  • Primer & Action Toolkit
  • Teach In Toolkit 
  • Climate Education Toolkit
  • Mobilize U: Campus Teach In
  • Cities & Leaders Toolkit
  • Faith Leaders
Likewise, you can take part in Billion Acts of Green and other campaigns. You can also test your knowledge (or your students') with a variety of Earth Day quizzes including the following: 
  • Protect Our Species Quiz
  • Climate Change Quiz
  • Oceans and Plastic Pollution Quiz
  • Earth Day Environmental Literacy Quiz
  • Deforestation and Biodiversity Quiz
  • Clean Energy Quiz
๐ŸŒŽ Climate Change Resources for Students and Teachers from Common Sense Media

๐ŸŒŽ Ecology and Environmental Science Apps, Games, and Websites from Common Sense Media


๐ŸŒŽ We Are Teachers Website's 12 Meaningful Earth Day Activities for Every Grade

๐ŸŒŽAlso, if you teach using Seesaw Digital Portfolios/Learning Journal, be sure to browse the Seesaw Activity Library for "Earth Month in Elementary" section for approximately 100 Earth Day related student activities.

๐ŸŒŽ And... if you still can't get enough, there's always the GTG Archives of Earth Day Activities


Images from https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/why-and-when-is-international-mother-earth-day-celebrated.html and https://billboardinsider.com/threatened-species-displayed-across-the-us-for-earth-day/

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Compost Cab


For those of you who have been around awhile, you know I'm a fan of composting. Sadly though, I had to bid adieu to composting. Seems our compost was becoming a fine French Restaurant for all the neighborhood critters...which was not our backyard plan at all! All still perils of the closing the the greenest school in America, now almost 5 years ago!

If I lived closer to Washington, DC, I'd be sure to be in touch with Compost Cab. They could bring about the trifecta: tackle my food scraps while satisfying my environmental desire to compost... all the while without catering to the critter cafe. Yes! I could once again (to modify their tagline) be a Waste Zero Hero!

Created in 2010 by Jeremy Brosowsky and a production of Agricity, Compost Cab's mission is to help "urban agriculture thrive." Not only does it center around local, homegrown food, but it helps work to reduce waste by using that food waste to create soil!

Watch this video to learn a little more about Brosowsky & Compost Cab:


Compost Cab provides its clients with a bin for food scraps. A key component: "If it grows, it goes" (in the bin). They weekly come by to collect your compost, leaving another bin bag for your following week. Your big takeaways (as they take away your compost) is that you are reducing what's carted away to the landfill, you're helping to create soil at Engaged Community Offshoots in College Park, MD, providing great soil for local farms or community gardens.

Compost Cab also has an Education component. They will bring their "Compost Academy" and curriculum to your school to teach kids how to compost, perform "waste audits" of the school, or bring their services to your school.

Compost Cab has two goals: make it easier for people to compost, and easier for urban agriculture to thrive. They achieve these two goals by providing home and commercial composting services, and by partnering with urban farms and community gardens to build soil in the city.

To learn more about composting, check out their websites Resources, click here.

Additionally, learn more here at this Washington Post article from a couple of years ago or The Department of Energy & Environment's 2016 District Sustainability Award Winner Case Study: Compost Cab


Images: screenshot of Agricity from http://agricity.net; photo and logo from https://compostcab.com/mission/ and https://compostcab.com/#community; Video from https://youtu.be/pwSKRrrmTGw

Saturday, April 6, 2019

What's In Your Kitchen Sink For Clean Up?

We all have kitchens, and they all need attention & cleaning.

Watching this video created by 1 Million Women, (which I found on the Unf**k The World Facebook page) it struck me how little we think about the hidden places disposable plastic resides.

It's here that we made environmental decisions with our dollars. The fixes shared are so simple--and more economical! Our consumer mentality has had people creating items and marketing, letting us know "we need these" in order to maintain our life. Do we? If we all pared down and simplified, we'd have more money in our banks and live a cleaner, less wasteful life. May that be a vision for us all here in 2019!

 


Video from https://www.facebook.com/1MillionWomen/videos/440439903029942/
photo from https://startsomegood.com/1millionwomenapp

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Waste Not, Want Not

I love Sir David Attenborough. A wise voice in our world today.
His message--one we all need to hear: let's not waste.


Here are some great resources to help you lead a less wasteful life....the perfect follow up to my post last week and with Earth Day ahead, April 22nd.

Huffington Post's "How To Stop Being Wasteful This Year Once And For All"
There are 10 great items on the list to help you make the most of sustainable practices around your house!

Kathryn Kellogg's website: Going Zero Waste
Lots of good ideas here... including her April 2019 book release: 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste

National Waste & Recycling Association's "Fascinating Facts About Waste & Recycling"
Here you'll see a super 2-page infographic!


Video from https://www.facebook.com/sbsnews/videos/397621647649854/ 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Earth Hour Tonight: March 30th 8:30--9:30 pm Your Time Zone


Tonight is the night to turn off our lights. Only for an hour. Earth Hour 2019.

March 30th, 8:30--9:30 in your own time zone.

Are you planning a bonfire, a picnic (either by candlelight in your living room or in your back yard), or a night hike? A board game or a candlit dinner party? An artsy event or time in meditation?  Unplugging and observing nature, or just going to bed early?

Whatever you do, turn off those non-essential lights (porch & patio lights too) to be a part of this global movement. Doing so shows your commitment to our planet, your fight against climate change, and your desire to take action. To learn more, click here.

I'll be taking part, will you?


Images from https://www.earthreminder.com/earth-hour-2019/ and
Video from https://youtu.be/wKwhuQ9bmIE

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Our Planetary Plastic Pollution Problem

I was recently at the airport, spending copious amounts of time scrolling through Facebook while waiting for my flight. While doing so, I was struck by the number of posts along the scrolling all about plastic pollution.

Now I will say, for full disclosure, I do follow a lot of environmental organizations an Facebook, so it isn't a surprise I'd happen on these types of posts. But, I also follow news and other organizations too... along with edtech and educational groups. So I follow a lot about a lot. Given that, I was struck that there was far more on this one topic of environmentalism than usual.

It feels like the situation with China no longer taking our plastic (as it's done for over 2 decades) is really starting to take traction. Sometimes it takes a crisis situation to really help open our eyes. (We have all certainly seen that in many ways--take the horrific mosque attack in New Zealand and how that was pivotal for making a change in their gun laws.)

As long as China was taking all our trash over the years, we could bury our head in the sand. Case and point: why have I been writing about the overabundance of pollution (among other things) for nearly 10 years? During all that time, there was no real headway. Now with onset of  plastic bag bans, straw bans, and systems having to overhaul their recycling programs due to there being nowhere else for it to go, perhaps now... NOW is the time to make a positive move. For that, we should be both hopeful and thankful as it is long overdue!

To check our some of the articles that were poignantly striking me, check out my list below:

Images from https://www.cawrecycles.org/recycling-news/3p93l3t3k8plh8tctw6a23y4t5fjsz and https://storyofstuff.org and https://www.facebook.com/punksagainstlittering/ and http://www.golfian.com/plastic-pollution-by-numbers-thrown-away35-billion-plastic-water-bottles-a-year-in-the-us/ 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The View From Above

They say that you gain perspective from looking at the big picture... it's akin to your vantage point from an airplane:

As a creature of sleep, I don't see as many sunrises as I'd like. I certainly don't see many aboard a plane, with the horizon shoulder level. In fact I know this was my first sunrise from a 10-seater plane.

I watched the sun peak it's yellow-gold sphere over the horizon while taxiing... it's amazing how fast that fiery ball rises.

Once in air, feeling the warmth on my face from the sun rising on my window to the right, I was seeing aerial vistas that certainly give you perspective.
Flat lands of the Midwest.
Farmlands of bounty, readying for Spring planting.
Wind farms as far as the eye could see.
5 wind farms total along the trip, & hundreds of wind turbines by the time the trip to Chicago was completed. Spinning slowly in the wind du jour, as far as the eye could see. Standing tall and proud doing their daily sun salutations.

Aerially, the view struck me with awe. It also left me proud, as I saw this Midwest home that I love as a symbol of what our country could and should be. What our planet could be.

America could lead--if we wanted to. Unfortunately it feels like we are enmeshed in a Marty McFly Throwback (from Back to the Future I for you young'uns). Some would rather us be back there, to where Marty travels, back in the 1950s.

It led me to think of our technological timeline (not hard for a Lower School Tech Specialist who lives in a land where innovation is always in the foreground of my job.) To be in this little 10-seater plane, sitting RIGHT behind the pilots in that first row, and thankful for where technology has brought us over time. We can cross states in a matter of hours, versus the dozen hours it takes me to drive. It reminds me too of my real and virtual visits to Computer History Museum and where we've been over the last 2000 years. Seeing the 20+ dials, gizmos, gears, and navigational gadgets--while defying gravity--it puts it into perspective of how far we have come, thanks to technology.

Even more so when looking below at the landscape and knowing what's below in farming, industry, transportation, and businesses (in all those tiny buildings below.) Even more so as I entered the suburbs and then city limits of Chicago, seeing 1-2 inch building that tower above you when walking on the sidewalks below them... all beside the vast Lake Michigan.

I marvel at life here in 2019.

Likewise, I smile as I think of the precious cargo I'm transporting on this trip: my circa late-'80s prom dress as a joke for my soon-to-be-prom-going daughter. (An antebellum dress I know that she won't wear, but was so typical, back in the day.) I found myself pondering the changes and advancements over the years from the my-prom to her-prom span. I can project forward and marvel in amazement as to what the world has in store between her prom and my one-day/some-day granddaughter's prom. So many things we have yet to even imagine.

As educators, we are preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist. That statistic whispers (or screams) the words of Thomas Friedman's book Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. It's exciting ahead--despite how exponentially-fast the world seems to be spinning and catapulting forward.

It's ironic too, that the observation and inspiration for this blog post stems from both the novelty of being 1 of 5 people (along with the 2 pilots) on a 10-seater plane (while sitting directly behind those pilots), with a literal bird's eye view out the front window of the plane, feeling like I'm right there in the cockpit. Moreover, this all came after "powering down" my phone completely.

It's in the quiet that the magic happens. The dichotomy of the rectified world comes in the fact that it is only in powering down do we look up.

Who knew that seeing a total of 5 wind farms from overhead would make me wax so philosophical? No matter, I'm grateful for the magical insight it gave me under the warmth of the rising sun.




Sunrise prop image from my camera and all other photos from  https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/abovehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_to_the_Futurehttps://www.amazon.com/Thank-You-Being-Late-Accelerations/dp/0374273537 , https://agaviation.com/wind-farms/https://imspatial.com/the-top-10-in-demand-jobs-in-the-future-dont-exist-today-2004 and https://observatory.tec.mx/edu-news/creative-problem-solving-skills-for-the-jobs-of-the-future

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Happy 1st Day o'Spring

Ah, the first day o'Spring is upon us: March 20, 2019. Spring Equinox.

From this point on, days get longer than the night. Why? Because the sun is directly over the equator and will be shifting (due to our planetary tilt) so that the sun shines and aligns more directly over the Northern (versus Southern) Hemisphere. While this all happens, Fall descends on the Southern Hemisphere. Warmth is on the way for those of us north of the Equator.

And who knew: it happens on the same day as the "Super Worm Moon"--apparently, for the first time in 19 years! And... our last "super moon" of the year.
"According to National Geographic, on March 20, the Super Worm Moon will be 223,309 miles from Earth at 3:45 p.m. EST, making it especially close to the planet. Then, at 9:43 p.m. EST, the moon will reach its full phase and appear 14 percent larger and 12 percent brighter than usual."
What are you going to do to celebrate the start of spring?

-Plan an evening picnic?
-Go on a long walk?
-Stand an egg on its end?
-Look for signs of Spring?
-Plant something?
-Eat healthy?
-Renew your resolutions?
-Unplug and step away from your tech?
-Set your table with some flowers?
-Camp out on the patio with a good book?
-Plan ways to get in your 1000 Hours Outdoors for the year?
-Set your sights to the sky to see the Super Worm Moon?
-Night time moonlight hide and seek?
-Have an evening bonfire?
-Make plans to celebrate Earth Hour coming up? (March 30th, 8:30-9:30 pm in your time zone)

I'd love to hear what you choose to do. Whatever it is--enjoy the warm spring winds that are coming your way.


Images from https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/03/19/supermoon-spring-equinox-2019-why-moon-shine-brighter-first-spring-night/3209726002/ and  https://www.kidspeakdallas.com/events/first-day-of-spring-2019-semester

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day Season!


St. Patrick's Day Season has spoken to me through the years in a variety of ways. 

Sometimes it's "go green" (in an eco-sort of way). 

Sometimes it's taken the flavor of green tea (just had my 2nd anniversary DietCoke-free, on the green tea bandwagon). 

Sometimes it has come in a more edtech sort of way--as in going green with green screens!! 

No matter how you celebrate it this year, may you have the luck o'the Irish and green be your favorite color!!

Image created at Canva.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Earth Hour 2019

Earth Hour is around the bend-- just over 2 weeks away! It's one of my favorite "environmental holidays." Why?

1. I love the grass roots growth element of it.

2. I'm energized by its expansion over time, from Sydney, Australia alone in 2007 to an exponential fire burst of every country being involved in just a few short years--most recently, over 180 of the 195 world countries and territories.

3. It's like a virtual "wave" across the globe, in your time zone on Saturday, March 30th, from 8:30-9:30 pm, where your lights go out and you keep passing the (extinguished) torch! In doing so, you are messaging the world that climate change and our planet Earth are important!

4. You can make a small yet powerful statement in your time zone, giving an hour to "unplug," which then ties to the tech-side of GTG.

5. It's a positive event. A non-partisan, taking-action kind of way of raising awareness. You can do it it a big or small way, and be part of a global movement. This feels good, making your voice heard.

6. I've been taking part in Earth Hour since the 3rd one, in 2009 (including speaking to the Maryland House of Delegates Health & Government Operations Committee in 2011. By this point, it's now a time-honored tradition!!



Earth Hour has a slew of resources--here are some handy links to help you out.


Looking at the latest reports over the last few months, general consensus puts us at a dozen years away from being at the tipping point. (Need to verify that stat? Check out these resources on climate change to verify why it is indeed important):


The New York Times (2-14-19): Skipping School to Save the Earth (March 15th is the next school skip day)

Up"

Report"
Earth Hour banner and poster from https://www.earthhour.org/, video from https://youtu.be/wQ6S-pkbgB0

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Are You In the "Loop?"

This morning, as I was washing my hair, I came to the last drop of conditioner. It happens. The bottle's empty and into the recycle bin it goes. (Where hopefully, I'm not just wishcycling, and it actually ends up getting recycled... which is especially important after reading this highly disturbing article from The Atlantic (3/3/19) "Is This the End of Recycling?")

But what if there was another way? A way to replenish my conditioner without making waste!!

That way may indeed be "on the way!"

Tom Szaky, Terracycle's CEO & founder, is taking the idea of "eliminating waste" one step further with the creation of The Loop.

What is the Loop? It's a circular versus linear way of doing things--meaning the packaging goes back to the company to be refilled. The idea of waste is truly eliminated. These two videos showcase it better than words!



From their press release on January 24, 2019 at the World Economic Forum, there's a lot of corporate buy in! Here are the companies involved:
The idea for Loop was founded at the World Economic Forum by TerraCycle and consumer product companies Procter & Gamble, Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars Petcare, The Clorox Company, The Body Shop, Coca-ColaEuropean Partners, Mondelฤ“z International, Danone, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Lesieur, BIC, Beiersdorf, RB,People Against Dirty, Nature’s Path, Thousand Fell, Greenhouse, Grilliance, Burlap & Barrel Single OriginSpices, Reinberger Nut Butter, CoZie and Preserve. 










Pilot programs are starting this spring in both New York City metro area and Paris. This could certainly turn shopping and packaging into a whole new ball game! To learn more, be sure to read GreenBiz's article "Loop’s Launch Brings Reusable Packaging to the World’s Biggest Brands"

Szaky also has a new book out: The Future of Packaging: From Linear to Circular. Mine should arrive tomorrow!

I've always been a fan of Terracycle...and they may just have outdone themselves with their newest venture, Loop. Can't wait to see it come to life!

Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RU3JffV4LM&feature=youtu.be; List of companies involved & "How It Works" piece from The Loop's January 24, 2019 press release: https://s3.amazonaws.com/tc-global-prod/download_resources/us/downloads/5113/Loop_Announcement.pdf; The Loop logo from https://www.greenbiz.com/article/loops-launch-brings-reusable-packaging-worlds-biggest-brands