Saturday, May 8, 2010

Regroup & Multiply

Multiplication.  A classic 3rd grade concept.  First, the kids master the basic facts, relating it to repeated addition and division's flip-side.  Once the kids have that under their belts, you merge in the concept of place value.  It's here that the idea of "regrouping" enters (which some of us old-schoolers may remember as "carrying").

So you start digging your feet in.  Acquisition of skills.  With problems like "543 x 6", you start with the ones. The babies.  You regroup. Then you move on to the tens...the hundreds...and you keep regrouping, getting bigger as you go.  Before you know it, multiplying massive numbers becomes nearly second-nature.

Habits are like that too.  You analyze yours...regroup...master them...& they multiply.

Environmentally, that's what we all need to do:  regroup.  The calendar helps us do that.  Earth Day: April 22ndWorld Environment Day: June 5th.  In 1972, the United Nations General Assembly was very clever, creating this global regrouping opportunity just 2 years after the 1970 inaugural, American Earth Day.  Both days are dedicated to positive environmental action.  The beauty?  You can follow-up your Earth Day "take action" invitation. Seven weeks later, World Environment Day reminds us to regroup, take responsibility, & remember that little things add up and DO make a difference. 

Two weeks ago, I was at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage for the U.S. Green Building Council and Green Speaks Youth Award ceremony.   I saw eleven amazing 13-24 year-olds speak on sustainability.  The five USGBC recipients all mirrored the message of World Environment Day:  individual actions (whether great or small) can multiply to make a global difference & a huge impact.  Melissa Senard, Riley Hoffer, Matthew Evans, Jordan Howard, and Gordon Schweitzer each saw a unique need.  They each did something--whether it was starting a football stadium recycling program (Melissa), creating an educational website/outreach program for kids (Riley), designing an organization to invite teens to come together to improve their community (Matthew), becoming a public speaker who spreads the "green" message (Jordan), or participating in college environmental issues and becoming a green building engineer who consults on 20 projects (Gordon).  By starting with a personal, meaningful cause--then uniting with others--each created something substantial.  The world is different now because of five individual acts.  This IS the message of World Environment Day.
As Jordan Howard said that night:  "I invite you to rewrite your story, whatever it will be.  When you are walking down the street and see the trash on the floor--throw it in the trash.  Refuse that plastic bottle, that plastic straw in restaurants. Refuse plastic bags at grocery stores--refuse it.  Do anything.  Anything."
Do something. Then, mark your calendar for June 5th.  Make a plan to take action.  Click the title above or go to to learn more about World Environment Day.  Here, you'll find a wealth of ideas (from videos to downloads) on how your 1 action can multiply to make a difference for our planet.  The resources are's time for you to research, regroup, & make your actions part of the multiplication solution!

The above photo was taken May 7th, 2010.  WED2010 = World Environment Day 2010.  The 6.05 = June 5th. The 6,819,456,722 = World Population on May 7th according to difference to make = All of ours!  The picture below is the United Nations Environment Programme World Education Day 2010's logo, as found at


  1. Thank you, I have been re-inspired to remember that one person can make a difference....Sometimes it seems way to overwhelming and it is just easier to go with status quo......and, I never ever thought of a plastic straw as anything more than something to drink with!!! Now I will.

  2. I love the World Environment Day logo. I'm wondering if we are getting an awful lot of "Days" on the calendar. But I guess what ever it takes to get someone's attention to the issues with the hopes of them taking some type of action. I had my third grade students calculate their carbon footprint this past week. Poor things were so upset when they compared their affect to a similar family in other countries, especially China and India. I had them retake the quizzes and change a couple of things that they could actually change to see if it would make a difference. They were so surprised to see that small changes do make a difference. Yes, Deb, one person can make a difference.

  3. I love that your message emphasizes what KIDS can do to make a difference -- you're never too young (or too old) to bring about change and be a good steward of the environment.

  4. Enjoyed reading the way you pulled together your teaching experience to the theme of "if everyone does what they can, what speaks to them, that relatively small individual effort multiplied can do great things."

  5. Enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

  6. Good blog Vicki. One day I am going to have some solar panels on my house.