Wednesday, June 29, 2022

A Plastic-cyclopedia to Ponder

Marine debris. Microplastics. Pyroplastics. Plasticrust. Plastiglomerate. Anthropoquina. Plastic soup.

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.

Microplastics: Microplastics are any kind of plastic that is smaller than 5 millimeters. Due to their small size, they can be ingested by marine organisms when they get washed through our water systems and waterways. There are 5 different types
  • 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.



Pyroplastics
: Pyroplastics are small plastic remnants that look like rocks or pebbles (though weigh much less, and they float).They often are formed by melted plastic, either from being burned on a ship or thrown into the water. Analysis of them often indicate that they are eroded over time from other plastic trash. These are difficult to identify at a glance and there may be far more out there than predicted.

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.

Anthropoquina: This is also similar to plastiglomerates in that it is a mix with plastic and other materials, resulting in a technofossil of both man-made items and natural items. They too are naturally created by sea waves and the sun molding things together.

Plastic soup: Plastic soup is considered the mix and mingle of all of the above. The term was coined by Captain Charles Moore in 1997 during a sailing trip from Hawaii to California. It refers to the plastic floating on the water surface, sinking to the bottom, and all the tiny pieces between. 

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.

Now that we have a new and improved vocabulary...seems like our plastic habits need a definite step up. In this plasticized world, makes you rethink every plastic item you touch. Like I ask my own children and my students: do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Intersectionality of Women’s Rights

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

Summer Solstice 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.

Buy Art Online

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

Father's Day 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

Summer Break 2022 Is On!

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. 

If you know any teachers, you know they are tired. The demands these last few years have been harder than ever, and the exhaustion is real. It has been by far more than "just regular school," and it certainly doesn't help when there are not enough bus drivers for public schools and substitutes for every school. A lot of teachers are doing double duty on top of dealing with their own and their student's emotional and mental health, parental stress, and the demands of teaching a wider than ever range of abilities in the classroom. 

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

Fighting Flygskam

It's no surprise to anyone what an impact air travel has on the collective, planetary carbon footprint. It's come to have a name: flygskam. This Swedish word, which popped up in 2017 but gained popularity  shortly before the pandemic began means "flying shame." It is defined as climate guilt from flying, and is a term that came into being during Greta Thunberg's activism and refusal to fly due to the fact that flights can be extremely hard on our environment and contribute to high rates of greenhouse gasses. Additionally, many Europeans especially can take high speed trains at a much lower impact. Their choices reduced the amount of air travel right before the pandemic, double hitting the aviation industry.

Clearly it's a problem that needs to be solved as our world becomes more global and there is a greater need for people to be in other parts of the world. How can we do it responsibly? It is going to take innovation to help solve the problems of climate change and other environmental issues.

Board Now is just one of the many innovative plans trying to work on this solution. Board Now is a program that has partnered many organizations to build a coalition to reduce emissions through sustainable aviation fuel.  This Fues would be "made from sustainable feedstocks such as waste oils from biological origin, agri resides or non-fossil CO2." By having companies buy into the program, more refineries that produce sustainable aviation fuel can be built, which over time will lower the cost of this type of fuel. When companies affiliate with Board Now, they make a commitment to the planet to reduce overall emissions and their own carbon footprint while also helping to make this a more sustainable alternative overall in the field of aviation. 


To learn more about Board Now, check out their website. Also, be sure to check out some of the members and partners that are affiliated and on board with Board Now.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Bill Nye The Science Guy

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. 

Bill Nye made reference to the Earthrise picture of the planet (taken by Bill Anders from space December 24, 1968). This reminded me of my recent 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: 
  1. We indeed need to be talking about climate change and science as much as possible. 
  2. Secondarily, we need to be voting (with the environment in mind when we do) or basically shut up and get out of the way.
His third message, which I found a mirror to what I always say, is that it's going to take big ideas and innovation to solve the climate crisis, which he deemed one of the greatest problems we are facing. Because we all share this world--we all share the air--everything we do affects everyone else. We can't say "fire" in a movie theater without consequences. We all need to work together to figure "it" all out. No one is coming to save us --it's up to us to figure this out.

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: LEGO Artist for the Earth

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.)
 
The message in their collective art is that it is imperative to work to save our planet from climate change, deforestation, declining sea ice, polluted waters, and loss of species and biodiversity--for if we don't and these animals become extinct, only the plastic, LEGO-fied versions of these animals will be left. Reality will cease to be that, instead going more toward an artificial reality where we can only see these animals in their natural habitats through art, photography, or a digitized version of our world. 
 
 
The showcased animals in PERNiCiEM were created by Nathan, then they were taken to their natural oceanic, forest, grassland or arctic habitats and photographed by Dean.  The included animals:
  • African Elephant
  • Arctic fox
  • Beluga whale
  • Chilean flamingo 
  • Cheetah
  • Giraffe
  • Hawksbill turtle
  • Humpback whale
  • Malayan tiger
  • Military macaw
  • Northern white rhinoceros 
  • Orca
  • Polar bear
  • Reef shark
  • Sumatran orangutan
  • Vaquita
  • Western lowland gorilla
  • Whale shark
This is not the first time that Dean West & Nathan Sawaya have worked together. They are also featured in the "In Pieces" exhibits marrying Dean's photography with Nathan's LEGO creations in a series of several works of art.
 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Chef José Andrés & World Central Kitchen For The Win... Again!

Middle of last year ago (in the middle of the pandemic and hybrid teaching), I landed on an amazing book entitled Immigrant Innovators: 30 Entrepreneurs Who Made a Difference by Samantha Chagollan. The book, written for 8-12 year olds, was one of those books I read in one sitting... then I went to one of my 4th grade colleagues with zeal and excitement as it was a perfect book to use with their 4th grade Immigration unit. Being a fellow bibliophile and information junkie, she too was tickled pink alongside me. 

Finding 4th grade-level resources for students to do specific biography research can be difficult. The book would perfectly suit our needs with it's kid-friendly, 4-page spread of 30 biographies of famous, current, modern-day immigrants. Plus, it tied to my tech-nature and love of innovation... and with a biography visual report activity we have done (some years on the iPad and some years in Google slides).

One of the 30 individuals mentioned in the book was Spanish-born Chef José Andrés, founder of World Central Kitchen (and a multitude of other restaurants spanning at least ten cities). Shortly after assigning the biography study with the entrepreneurs from the book, I saw an article where José Andrés was giving out gift certificates to restaurant patrons in DC if they showed proof of vaccination. He was doing this to encourage more people to get vaccinated from the Covid-19 virus. That connection to our study had me excited, as we could bring this real world connection to our students.

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.

Looking at the dedication of José Andrés and World Central Kitchen, you see the power of his 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

It makes me think of the UN Sustainable Goals. José Andrés has worked hard to knock at least 7 of the 17 goals out of the ball park. These are the things that give us all hope.


To learn more about José Andrés, check out these links:


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

What To Do When The World Feels Heavy


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.

It leaves many of us wondering "Why?" And "What can I do?" The first question often doesn't have an answer (or it has a complicated one). The latter question often leads initially to feelings of overwhelm or lack of power...but then with energy and anger it can lead us to take action, vote, and make a difference. 

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

TED's "Playbook for Protecting the Planet


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.

I happened on another that TED has put together in partnership with General Motors. They call it "A Playbook for Protecting the Planet." That certainly is a playbook we all need! 

As of this writing, there are 6 TED talks in this collection that are tied to nature, biodiversity, building environmental stewardship and fostering climate activism. They're are here, a mere click away!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Encouragement For the Overwhelmed

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. 

But this post caused me to take pause and it gave me a new mantra: One leaf at a time. It gave me a chance to really breathe, and take note of my mom's text last night to just keep breathing. Always easy advice for me to give and far easier for me to forget to tell myself. Thank you Rachel Macy Stafford for reminding me (and all of us) during this very busy season. And thank you for inspiring me to take my own "one leaf" photo.

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. 
 
This morning,
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
one breath
one step
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

EdTech & Innovation Podcasts

With podcasts still on the brain, I figured I was due to give equal time to the other two sides of the triple pursuit of GTG. 

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!




Saturday, May 14, 2022

Eco-Podcasts

I'm a major fan of podcasts--especially on big chore days at home or when driving (especially during longer trips). Being an information junkie can do that to you. 

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!

Any good ones you know about--recommend them here! Always looking for the latest listen!

Image created at Canva.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Do Nothing Day

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

I found myself on my Do Nothing Day finding a sit spot, reading on my patio, gazing at the clouds, petting the dog, and ultimately writing here. 

Phineas & Ferb definitely said it well:
"No place where we have to go....so we're just going to go with the flow... Slow down, look around you, throw your to do list away... Let's have a Do Nothing Day."

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

Celebrating All Mothers This Weekend

 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
Celebrating all moms this weekend. 


Image created at Canva.com

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The Importance of Travel

Over Spring Break, I did a little bit of traveling. It definitely was what I needed to step outside my "same ole, same ole." I got the opportunity to go back to an old familiar place as well as go to a new locale where everything I encountered was new. After two years of pandemic, where many of us have stalled plans to see new sights, I was reminded of the importance of travel. It's a wonderful way to see all the amazing, unique and unusual places on this Earth of ours. It inspired me to create this:

I always get frustrated when these do not upload with the clarity that they should, To see this at Canva, click here: https://www.canva.com/design/DAE7z7e2ZfM/TDuGLvxb_vzAJ6Ew8hr4PQ/view?utm_content=DAE7z7e2ZfM&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link2&utm_source=sharebutton 

Saturday, April 30, 2022

David Attenborough Lifetime Achievement Award

Sir David Attenborough is in the category of "Environmentalist Greats" like Jane Goodall, John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, Rachel Carson, and Sylvia Earle. (For more "greats," check out this Treehugger article. No doubt, the list could easily be 5 times longer!). 

At the age of 95, he has been an avid eco-warrior for 7 decades. It is for that reason, he certainly deserves the honor that was bestowed on him last week, just before Earth Day: The United Nations Champion of the Earth Lifetime Achievement Award for 2021. The Champions of the Earth awards are the highest award given out by the UN Environment Programme [UNEP] and is awarded to people for their contribution to biodiversity, pollution, climate change, other important environmental issues. They have been honoring environmental leaders since 2005. 

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.


Image from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/04/movies/david-attenborough-a-life-on-our-planet-review.html; Video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vlvn23rSt0M

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Amanda Gorman's "Earthrise"

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.

Many of us had never hear of 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 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Earth Day 2022: What Are You Going To Do?

Happy Earth Day 2022.

With Earth Day this year on a Friday, it gives you not only Earth Day to make a difference, but the entire weekend.

My recent Earth Day post listed a lot of resources online to investigate. Excellent resources to learn from and, if you are a teacher, to help inspire you to bring environmental stewardship into your classroom. 

But Earth Day isn't just about education, it is also about "doing." It's about going out there and doing something that makes a difference to our planet Earth. Getting involved. 

For that reason, I'm referring back to a resource I listed in my April 13th post last week: EarthDay.org's 52 Ways to Invest in Our Planet. I love this list for so many reasons. It's a clickable list, so it is a great learning tool. I also love that there are 52 listed ideas. You could save one to do each week, giving yourself 52 weeks worth of planetary action to help make a difference. Additionally, you could print this copy I created and use it as a Bingo Board of taking action

How many things can you do this weekend to take action?




Bingo board created at www.canva.com using screenshots from EarthDay.org's list of 52 Ways to Invest in Our Planet: https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-tips/ . To print a higher quality version of this board, go to here: https://www.canva.com/design/DAE9f3yYDDw/s3FuUa50DTHnQedZ8-YzWA/view?utm_content=DAE9f3yYDDw&utm_campaign=share_your_design&utm_medium=link&utm_source=shareyourdesignpanel

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

How Well Do You Know Earth Day's History?

As a follow up to my recent post about Earth Day and with it swiftly approaching this Friday, it is time to test your knowledge! How much do you know about the history of Earth Day? Take this quiz and find out!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Holidays Abound


Surprisingly, it is not often when Easter Sunday, the eight days of Passover, and the month of Ramadan all overlap. 

This year they do:

  • Easter: April 17th
  • Passover: April 15th--23rd
  • Ramadan: April 2nd--May 2nd
The reason for this is in part due to Ramadan being the 9th month on the Islamic lunar calendar. Additionally, the Hebrew calendar follows a lunar calendar but adds a 13th month in 7 out of 19 years to meet up with the Gregorian/solar calendar that we all use to follow January to December. With these different calendars at play, the simultaneous timing of major holidays within the sacred traditions Christian, Jewish, and Islam religions only happens approximately every 33 years.

All of this, along with the also highly secular nature of Easter in the United States, reminds us that the world is filled with a beautiful variety of people. We are connected to each other on this planet of ours. Earth Day on April 22nd is another reminder of that. 

I ran across this quote from Ben Irwin on Preemptive Love's website that sums it up beautifully:

"Human diversity is a lot like biodiversity: once it’s lost, it’s gone. And we may not realize how much we need it until it’s too late."

May we all take this spirit of diversity and carry it throughout the entire month of April... if not the entire year. Whether you are feasting for Easter to celebrate the end of your 40 days of Lent, fasting for Ramadan to celebrate during Eid al-Fatr, or fasting from leavened grains yet feasting in other ways during your Passover seder, may your holiday be one filled with love, family, and joy.


Pictures created at www.canva.com.