Saturday, July 2, 2022
Friday, July 1, 2022
The United States Supreme Court has had a wingding of a week. (Insert eye roll here! 🙄🙄)
I defer to our 44th president for his grace and wisdom. And hope somewhere along the way we, as a country, wise up. This is where individuals and companies and communities need to take the lead!
Barack Obama’s quote from his June 30, 2022 Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/100044322825129/posts/pfbid0DjzpGoEEfvD2AaT4Bp6jUeCy2jCHyXK8Hu6pQr8xmTaM5kUmAKSMNpQzVpfm3EyHl/?d=n
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Plastic pollution comes in all sorts of new names and sizes. As plastic use continues over time, we get a new idea of how it breaks down and what kind of plastic waste it leaves behind. It's seemingly becoming a whole new level of plasticized geology, that needs to come with its own glossary to define this new vocabulary, some of which sounds a bit like a foreign language:
Marine debris: We've known about marine debris for a long time and it is the most synonymous with oceanic and waterway pollution. It it is not limited specifically to plastic, and can include aluminum soda cans, fishing gear, even abandoned boats It' typically is anything solid and of any size that winds up in a waterway. It can break down over time from the water or the sun. We often see it wash up on the shores, and it can travel from streams to rivers to lakes or oceans. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (along with these gyres in all other oceans as well) wind up being the dumping ground for such objects.
- Fibers: These largely come from fleece or poly-blend clothing, diapers, and cigarettes. Most of them enter our waterways through our washing machines. Given they come from materials that are not natural, they do not biodegrade and they are not filtered out of wastewater treatment plants.
- Microbeads: These tiny items are less than a millimeter in diameter. They are often found in cosmetics, lotions, or face creams as exfoliants and easily drain down the sink. They are often mistaken as food by marine animals one they get into our waterways. They are not fully digestible and are often toxic.
- Fragments: These are small pieces of plastic that break off larger items. Typically they come from single-use items like plastic cups, silverware, lids, toys, or a myriad of other items. The sun continues to photodegrade them into smaller items. These too can be mistaken as food by smaller animals.
- Nurdles: Nurdles are small plastic pellets purposely made by companies in order to create bigger, plastic-created items such as storage bins and lids, garbage cans, and more. Depending on how they are handled in a facility by humans or weather-related situations, these can get into the waterways and become a hazard to other animals as they look like food.
- Foam: Styrofoam breaks apart easily from weather or sun, and small particles remain given the substance itself is not degradable. Not only can the chemicals from styrofoam leach into the drinks or food (if they are cups or plates), but they also can become small fragments in the water, harming marine creatures.
Plastiglomerate: Just like it sounds, plasticglomerate is the combination of plastic and conglomerates, making it like a combination-style sedimentary rock. It is formed by mixing and merging plastic with something like coral, cooled lava, or shells. It can be considered a subset of pyroplastics.
Plasticrust: A subset of plastiglomerate, plasticrust is when plastic melts onto rocks of shorelines.This is going to be consumed more by land animals versus sea life. These are created by sea waves depositing the plastic on the shore and it melting onto rocks.
Neopelagic communities: When plastic trash hits the waterway, they can become a habitat for organisms. Often time, marine debris lands on a coastline. But, if it goes out into the open shore due to currents or weather systems (or other reasons), they become a raft-like habitat. It is not uncommon for some coastal creatures such as anemones, hydroids, and shrimp-like creatures to hop a ride and make themselves at home on floating marine plastic. As long as the creatures have food source, they may have found themselves their own little floating plastic house boat. This in turn can take coastal species to other areas where they are not native. At that point they have the potential to become an invasive species, threatening others around them. Additionally, it could take them to environments where these creatures are not suited for survival.
Saturday, June 25, 2022
I’m not going to say much, other than I’m highly disappointed with the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that turned upside down women’s rights in America. As with many social justice issues, there’s an intersection which relates to socio-economics, race, location, and more. Personal matters are always harder for those with less access and resources.
I believe that the late Supreme Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said it best in this graphic I have seen multiple times in the last 24 hours on social media (original source unknown). Clearly taking action, peaceful protesting, and voting are the best ways to address this miscarriage of justice.
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Today is Tuesday, June 21, 2022... Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year. The shortest night. The first day of summer. The pinnacle for summer, sunlight loving people.
Here in this season of summer solstice and highlighted sunlight, I share this blessing and beautiful art from Stephanie Laird. May well-being and peace be yours.
Art from https://pixels.com/featured/a-beautiful-pagan-summer-solstice-original-blessings-poem-with-oak-tree-and-sun-stephanie-laird.html and shared with the embed code from this website.
Saturday, June 18, 2022
This Father's Day, may the world slow down for you so you can share it with those who mean everything to you...be they your fathers, your children, your grandfathers, your uncles, your coaches, your neighbors, your mentors, your mothers who are filling the roles of fathers in your world, and more.
Image from https://christineelder.com/earth-day/
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Today marks my last day of school meetings and events...ergo, my first official day of summer. This date has been out there, shining like a lighthouse lamp, a beacon of freedom and the succulence of summer as the days grow closer.
I love teaching, and I love my job, but the last few years have been hard. Pandemic, remote, hybrid, masks, vaccines and boosters yet climbing numbers. It's been a hard wear and tear on my body (knee replacement surgery a month from now) and on my collective soul and mind.
For me personally with my deteriorating knees, I've seen how physically demanding elementary school is (and the running around the building I do as a Technology Specialist)... and how you don't realize how important health is until you don't have it!
For my fellow teachers out there--I see you and I know how hard we all have been working. I tip my hat to all that you have encountered and accomplished this year. I know the sweet victory of the making it to summer. Please take time to enjoy, to recuperate, to rest, to remind yourself what fun there is as you step away from lesson planning and paper grading these next several sensational weeks of summer. We have certainly earned it!
Images from Images from https://katelynslearningstudio.com/2017/06/treat-yo-self-teacher-summer-bucket-list.html and https://medium.com/@spencerideas/making-rest-a-priority-in-the-summer-52e5dc99746c (the latter which was written in 2018--showing you how tiring teaching is in "normal" years. It's been 10x harder since March 2020!)
Saturday, June 11, 2022
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
A bit ago (perfectly timed about a week before Earth Day) the Baltimore Speaker Series had their final speaker of the season: Bill Nye. To me, he'll always be known as "Bill Nye, The Science Guy" (because I'm in that age group that knew him as such.) It was a sweet li'l moment of nirvana to be in the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, basking in the presence of his wit, humor, and intelligence, talking about science and our planet during Earth Day season!
Being foremost a scientist as well as an engineer, an author, speaker, inventor, he knows a lot about a lot. Clearly he believes in science and wants us all to know that it's important. The whole evening, and now as I reflect back, I'm struck by this quote that hangs in my office which is from Neil Degrasse Tyson [who is a good friend of Bill Nye's, by the way]:
I love Bill Nye's approach to everything. He makes you think. He makes you laugh. He makes you think some more. It seems a lot more of us in the world need to adopt that approach! A big part of his conversation was that the denial of climate change is NOT going to change anything. The science is real. 2010 to 2020 was the hottest decade on record. There is science in ice core samples, tree rings, fossils, shrinking glaciers in Greenland, and more that backs up the fact that rising historic temperatures all point to human impact.Amanda Gorman post. Their messages of both were the same. We have a shared reality here on planet Earth. No political boundaries. One place. One people.He also made reference to the 2022 Oscars Night/Will Smith slap that was heard around the world. Of course by now, that news has died down a bit, but media in the instant aftermath was highly abuzz about it. Bill Nye said if we all were talking about climate change in the same way and to the same extent that everyone was talking about Hollywood news, we'd be "getting it done." His messages:
- We indeed need to be talking about climate change and science as much as possible.
- Secondarily, we need to be voting (with the environment in mind when we do) or basically shut up and get out of the way.
Bill Nye also commented about Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S Constitution and how one of Congress' roles is to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." Useful arts is engineering and innovation. He stressed that it is in the Constitution to go forward with our big ideas and be problems solvers using innovation! It is our job to "create the future we want." Not surprisingly, this is the motto and mission of The Solutions Project, where Bill Nye is one of the 40 funders. Their goals?
- To celebrate those leaders in the forefront of climate awareness and justice.
- To push for 100% clean energy by 2050. Not only would this significantly help our planet, but it could generate 3 million jobs in renewables.
- To offer grants and support to those out there making a difference through climate innovation.
Bill Nye left that evening with an inspirational call for action--to go forth and change the world. It's going to take us, people! Let's do this!
Neil Degrasse Tyson quote created at Canva.com; Final picture from my camera. Earthrise pic from https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/dec/22/behold-blue-plant-photograph-earthrise, Bill Nye photo quote from https://www.ebaumsworld.com/pictures/great-bill-nye-quotes/84820033/
Saturday, June 4, 2022
Nathan Sawaya's story fascinates me. Not many people go from lawyer to LEGO artist with a traveling art exhibit of his own, but Nathan did in 2007. I was in awe years ago when I saw his Art of the Brick exhibit (then in Philadelphia). It's amazing to see what he can do with buckets full of LEGOs. Sharing his story becomes a favorite for both my kindergarten students and me as I share this video and inspire them all to use the design process to become creators and LEGO innovators.
For the last year, Nathan has a new element to his Art of the Brick exhibit. Working with Australian-born photographer Dean West, they created the PERNiCiEM Collection. PERNiCiEM is Latin for extinction. This part of the Art of the Brick exhibit highlights endangered species with a mix of Nathan's LEGOs and Dean's photography. They feature fascinating facts about 18 animals in 19 exhibits. Included are where on the ICUN Red List of Threatened Species these animals are and why their numbers have diminished. (Spoiler alert--human threat to habitation or humans themselves are often the cause.)
Wednesday, June 1, 2022
José Andrés was in the news again earlier this year when he went to Poland with World Central Kitchen to help feed Ukrainian refugees after Putin and Russia's invasion into Ukraine. It was once again timed perfectly with our 4th graders' Immigration study. Additionally, for the past 3 years we have used the UNHCR [United Nations Refugee Agency's] website to teach the about the differences between refugees, migrants, internally displaced people, asylum seekers, returnees and more. The connections students were making to the news were incredibly strong. Additionally, it showed the value and importance of taking action to solve a global problem.
So it goes without saying, that once again, in difficult times, we look to the helpers. In the aftermath of the horrific Uvalde, Texas shootings, Chef José Andrés is once again a helper. World Central Kitchen set up shop in Uvalde to feed the hurting community. Just as they have done time and time again with hurricane relief, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, families impacted by the climate crisis, and more.humanitarian efforts.
"World Central Kitchen started with a simple idea at home with my wife Patricia: when people are hungry, send in cooks. Not tomorrow, today.... You see, food relief is not just a meal that keeps hunger away. It’s a plate of hope. It tells you in your darkest hour that someone, somewhere, cares about you...This is the real meaning of comfort food. It’s why we make the effort to cook in a crisis.... After a disaster, food is the fastest way to rebuild our sense of community. We can put people back to work preparing it, and we can put lives back together by fighting hunger. Cooking and eating together is what makes us human." ~ Chef José Andrés
To learn more about José Andrés, check out these links:
- José Andrés' website
- World Central Kitchen's website
- ThinkFoodGroup--The parent company (founded by José Andrés) behind Andrés' restaurants. Their mission: "To change the world through the power of food."
- Watch "We Feed People" on Disney+ (Directed by Ron Howard, trailer below--the show is amazing.)
Images from: https://www.amazon.com/Immigrant-Innovators-Entrepreneurs-Made-Difference/dp/1950500276, UN Goals from https://www.materialise.com/sites/default/files/image-uploads/pages/Blog/corporate/un-global-goals-for-sustainable-development.png and modified by highlighting 7 of the boxes and adding a note, and http://edibledc.com/stories/bon-appetits-variety-show-will-raise-money-for-world-central-kitchen; quote graphic created at Canva.com, Video from https://youtu.be/-eYaSwwmGl4
Sunday, May 29, 2022
The world feels heavy right now.
- The horrors of Uvalde & Robb Elementary School and the loss of 21 precious people
- 213 other mass shootings and 10 other mass murders in the US in 2022 alone (as of this writing)
- + years of Covid & pandemic with cases still going the wrong way
- Rising gas prices, inflation, the economy, & employment
- The invasion and War in Ukraine
- The battle between autocracy and democracy
- Continued investigations of the January 6th Insurrection
- Partisanship at every turn, threatening rights of many
- Social, racial, gender-based injustice, bias, hate, and control
- Mental health and suicide rates at record highs
- The global climate crisis
- The perils of misinformation, disinformation, and fake news on social media
I could go on, but this certainly is getting depressing really quickly, which we can also add to the list as well.
But sometimes it takes a bit to get there.
It's no surprise that binge watching shows and finding escapes from reality inside our television are "a thing." I think that's why people have gravitated (especially during quarantine and beyond) to shows like "Schitt's Creek," "Ted Lasso," "Big Bang Theory,""This Is Us"... or maybe that's just me. But shows with heart, emotion, comedy, connection all tug at our heartstrings. They become treasured friends, and it's heartbreaking when "our" show comes to an end. We come to love the characters, and we learn a little bit about ourselves along the way.
Watching the final 2 episodes of the series "This Is Us" recently, I found myself becoming philosophical. (No spoilers, I promise.) Of course that's the intention of this show with its many timelines, seeing the characters at multiple stages of their lives. Our memories are the lifelines that hold our own timelines together. It makes us reflect a little on our own lives. It weaves in the threads of compassion and gratitude. "Ted Lasso" and his quirky optimism did the same. Valuable life lessons can be gleaned from his locker room pep talks and way of living. In fact, entire articles have been written about it.
In reflecting over the hard things listed above, I certainly feel the sadness and anger that have us living in a world facing these crises. Yet, here on Memorial Day weekend, I am struck by the gift of time this three day weekend--and the fact that time is not ever guaranteed. We see that in the list above. But, it also reminded me of hope. As I was scrolling back in GTG to find my February 9th post on hope, I also passed a few others that give me hope and are listed here:
For hope is verb, and with it, we can all use the gifts we are given to take action and make a difference. To make sure the losses listed above are not in vain. To not let the power of evil override all the good. And there is good out there, my friends. There is. I hope you find some of it for you this Memorial Day weekend... and I hope you feel the power that comes in hope!
Images from https://www.facebook.com/TheHappinessInstitute/photos/a.351516046204/10157057130131205/?type=3 and https://m.facebook.com/channelmum/photos/5211325855572773/ and https://www.facebook.com/BrainyQuote/photos/a.336016016410584/1070067773005401/?type=3
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
A good curated list of gems is a beautiful find. It's a definite gravitational pull for me, as evidence from my recent eco and edtech podcast posts.
Saturday, May 21, 2022
This morning before school, while I was doing my daily attempt to keep my body moving on the exercise bike, I was doing my typical scroll through Facebook. I ran across the following post from The Hands Free Revolution FB page, written by Rachel Macy Stafford. The title alone grabbed me. "Overwhelm" is certainly a feeling I had been feeling lately, especially here in the last weeks of school (all teachers will know what that means and feels like) and as I am mentally approaching an upcoming surgery. The surgery is one I know I need and I know it will give me great relief from some pain I'm encountering, but it's scary and overwhelming and worrisome, especially through recovery.
ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE OVERWHELMED
I had to do something excruciatingly difficult last week.
And because this ordeal also impacted my family, I had to help my kids through it.
Three Days Before
The Day Of
And Three Days After
Every ounce of energy in my body and soul were swallowed up to tend to this task.
Five Days After the Hardest Day,
I faced All the Stuff That Piled Up while I tended to What Mattered.
Somehow the tasks and demands I’d set aside had grown like out-of-control weeds.
When I grasped just how dense the overgrowth was in front of me today, I couldn’t breathe.
Then, I remembered the leaf.
The Day After the hardest day, I took a walk and came across this tiny, perfect leaf.
Its vibrant green hue indicated this leaf had fallen far before its time.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, because nature is worthy of loving regard, just like humans.
I looked around—not another leaf in sight.
Just this one,
like it was there for a reason,
like it was trying to tell me something.
I got up close to listen, but my busy brain kept going back to The Difficult Thing.
I decided to take this picture, hoping the message would come eventually.
Today was that day.
As I faced the Unruly Mound of Demands and Deadlines, I heard what I needed to hear:
“One leaf at a time, dear one.”
That’s what the little green leaf, who fell off a tree before its time, wanted me to know.
It’s like the leaf knew…
I got a girl graduating.
I got a book deadline looming.
I got a hole in my heart that I wasn’t expecting.
"One leaf at a time.”
It’s been months since I’ve heard anything that makes so much sense.
In this particular season, I must take my eyes off the big, scary tree.
I must focus on one leaf
At a time.
That is how I will make it to the other side
and not miss the beauty along the way.
© Rachel Macy Stafford 2022
Reposted from https://www.facebook.com/TheHandsFreeRevolution/posts/569592247857719; Image from my camera.
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Here are some EdTech & Innovation Podcasts that you will want to be sure to check out. I know I'm going to be doing some deep divers into these lists!
- EdTech Magazine's "4 Must-Listen Ed Tech and IT Podcasts"
- Feedspot's "50 Best Educational Technology Podcasts"
- Player FM's Education Technology Podcasts
- Tech & Learning's Podcast Playlist for Innovative Educators
- Board of Innovation's 10 of the Best Innovation Podcasts
Saturday, May 14, 2022
I was recently looking for some new ones to listed to and ran across these curated lists of the latest podcasts in the environmental world! These will definitely keep you busy!
- The Good Trade's "9 Thought-Provoking Podcasts To Inspire Sustainable Living"
- Feedspot's "80 Best Sustainability Podcasts"
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Sometimes you need a "Do Nothing" Day. That's where I was recently at after a particularly full week of work and a whole lot of extracurricular, parental driving. This followed up another full week of germs when deep in our house. [Somehow, maybe 30 years of teaching, I ended up with super immunity and fared better than the rest!]
As I was contemplating that and my "sit-outside-and-contemplate-stuff-on-a-beautiful-spring-day" mood, I was reminded of this infographic I'd run across around Earth Day on MindShift's Facebook page. It was posted with the following caption:
"We could never have loved the Earth so well if we had had no childhood in it." –George Elliot #sketchnote via @kwiens62
Yes, a Do Nothing Day is the right answer in every way!
Video from https://youtu.be/eB9H4HVeMW4; infographic from https://www.facebook.com/MindShift.KQED/posts/4991285797573966
Saturday, May 7, 2022
Mothers come in all shapes and sizes:
- Infant-holding new moms and moms-to-be
- Phone-calling our adult moms when we are grown
- Grandmoms, Aunts, & Mothers-In-Laws
- Sister-Friends, Step-Mothers, Besties and more
- Father's who are fathers and mothers
- Memories of our own from when we were little
- Memories of own when they were aging
- Memories of children or mothers we've lost
- Memories of children we never had
- Mother Earth, Gaia, Mother Nature
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Infographic created at www.canva.com with information from https://www.aworldtotravel.com/reasons-why-travel-is-important/
Saturday, April 30, 2022
The Lifetime Achievement Award is not the only UNEP award given out annually. To date, the UNEP have honored "106 laureate, ranging from world leaders to technology inventors. They include 26 world leaders, 64 individuals and 16 groups of organizations." The categories and 2021 winners are as follows, and you can learn more about them here. Each award winner has a short video along with a tribute to their activities at the links listed below.
- Inspiration & Action Award: Nonprofit Group Sea Women of Melanesia
- Entrepreneurial Vision: Maria Kolesnikova from the Kyrkyz Republic
- Science & Innovation: Uganda's Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka
- Policy Leadership: Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley
Check out this UNEP link to see the Laureates across all categories since 2018. Further filtering can get you to individual laureates dating back to 2005.
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
The beauty about Earth Day is that we have come to the point, after fifty years and if you've been paying attention, that Earth Day should not be only one day. More than a day, more than "Earth Week," more than "Earth Month," every day should be Earth Day.Amanda Gorman until we were blown away by at President Biden's inauguration with her poem "The Hill We Climb." Since then, she's perhaps a modern day poet rockstar to many. As her website states, she's a wordsmith and a changemaker: rockstar indeed!
A dear friend from my very green school of days gone by shared this video of Amanda Gorman's poem "Earthrise" on Earth Day. Powerful. Inspiring. Meaningful and moving. Created before Inauguration Day in 2021!
While Earth Day has passed, the meaning of the importance of that day has not. Every day should be Earth Day
Image from https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-55738564; video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwOvBv8RLmo