Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Thoughts

The house this morning is a surprising sound of quiet in that the li'l people here have amazingly decided to sleep in.  Secondarily, their night owl mom is the first one awake to see the morning light.  A double rarity indeed!  Add in it's a beautifully sunny day after two drearily rainy days, it looks like it has the making of a lovely Thanksgiving Day (with the added bonus of reflective time to think about this day of thanks).

I ran across the following video and post from SustainableMan this morning. They both highlight our natural ability to take things for granted--the polar opposite of the themes for Thanksgiving: showing gratitude and being grateful.  (Being a bit of a wordsmith, I find it interesting how similar the words all are in spelling:  granted, gratitude, grateful.)

Initially, I started to steer clear of sharing SustainableMan's "Take Nothing For Granted" video because of the language in the montage. (Be warned, there is some both from the comedian voice-overs and the movie clips.)  Yet, it poignantly illustrates "us" today:  a society that takes things for granted, gets consumed with materialism, and misses the true meaning of what surrounds us.  It's a definite "makes you think...and rethink" kind of video.  Their post on the subject does the same!

Take Nothing for Granted from Sustainable Man on Vimeo.

Ahh, I hear it!  The pitterpat of li'l feet.  I think I need to go hug one of those "what's really importants" who just woke up!

May you have a joyous and heartfelt Thanksgiving this year, focusing on what really matters.

"Gratitude in the Everyday" image from:
Video from: 
Live, Love, Laugh photo from

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Talking Turkey Across the Turkey

Thanksgiving is merely a day away.  It's that autumnal time to be centered around an "attitude of gratitude." Family and friends come together for feasting and fellowship.

Yet sometimes, that fellowship brings about an interesting mix of folks, all of whom have a different set of values and views on life.  Sometimes that lends itself toward animated discussions and perhaps heated conversations since not everyone sees things through the same eyes.

If that's the table (& tablemates) that may be facing you tomorrow, here are two sites I ran across today that might help you when it comes to dinnertime conversation.  Especially if those conversation turn political or issue-centric.

The Sierra Club's Holiday Survival Guide 
This clickable site gives you some helpful hints as to what to say to Big Oil Uncle Tim, Eco-Skeptical Brother Jim, Fracking-friendly Grandma, Newby Green Sister Laura, Fellow Greeniac Nephew Chase, and Bah Humbug Gramps.  You can also get some yummy recipes along the way!

Can You Talk Turkey With Your Climate-Change-Denying Relatives This Thanksgiving?
Kate Sheppard's Huffington Post article comes complete with video.  The video is a presentation where Sheppard talks about how she (a decided liberal) has conversations with her farming/Republican family about climate change.  Truthfully, her concept would work well on any subject given she stresses the point of making points based on the values of your audience.

I'm pretty fortunate and for the most part, don't need either of the above.  My family and in-laws know of my eco-warrior ways, and they deal with it accordingly.  But, knowing not everyone is in my same boat, maybe these two sites can offer you some helpful insight!

Thankgiving tablemates pic from

Sierra Club Holiday Survival Guide:  screenshot of

Video from

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Eco Stats

An interesting article came out a week and change ago in the Washington Post.  It detailed the environmental cost of Thanksgiving Dinner.  Back in the day with the Wampanogs & the Pilgrims, the carbon footprint at the first Thanksgiving was incredibly low...however these days, of course things are a tad different.

The Washington Post article computed food miles of some of the Tgiving staples, and then compared them with data from the Environmental Working Group in order to break down the amount of fossil fuels used to get things from field and farm to supermarket to your table.  Here's a graphic I created using the iPad app Skitch and the data from the Post article.  Needless to say, the carbon cost of your Thanksgiving feast adds up quickly--and that's not even looking at the caloric cost!

Displaying photo.PNG
Moral of the story:  reminds you that no matter how yummy it is... everything comes at a cost!  Thinking "green" happens on every scene.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

CNN Eco-Hero of the Year 2013

It's probably not a surprise to anyone, that I follow a whole lot of eco-peeps over on Facebook and Twitter.  EdTech stuff too.  Well, my eco-feeds today were overwhelmingly telling the same story.  The big story o'the day was all about CNN's Hero of the Year 2013.

For me, I had a double dose o'pride:  Chad Pregracke, this year's #1 Hero, is not only an environmentalist, but an Illinois guy.  Go ILLINI!  I'm proud of the heartland; I'm proud of the homeland!

The numbers in this less-than-2-minute CNN video are amazing alone.  Chad (& CNN) do a nice job of showing (in under 2 minutes) how much impact an inspired "party of one" can make.  This always emphasizes:  One person CAN make a difference.  Working with his nonprofit Living Lands & Waters, Chad has dedicated himself to river cleanups country-wide.   Over the past 15 years, Chad has made a pretty impressive resume for himself:  he has collected 7 MILLION pounds of trash.  That's dedication. That's definitely a "R.O.L.E. Model."  My favorite quote:
"The garbage got into the water one piece at a time...And that's the only way it's going to come out." ~ Chad Pregracke
Sad but true--the finds show that 90% of what is found is recyclable.  Makes you wonder:  what are we doing here?  And why aren't we doing more?  And why aren't we recycling it?

Thank you Chad Pregracke for doing more!

To meet all of this year's hero's, check out this page over at CNN.

In the aftermath of all this info, make December 1st a DVR kind-of-night.  Set the remote, or camp out in front of the telly.  Check out the heroes for some must-see-TV of the best kind.  The type of reality TV that really matters!  Check out "CNN Heroes:  An All-Star Tribute" on Sunday, December at 8pm, EST.

But wait! There's more!

What are you doing Spring Break?!

If you don't have an exotic beach-side adventure in store--you could. Beach-side the Mississippi River, in the Memphis, Tennessee area. Living Lands & Waters is offering up an Alternative Spring Break. Eco-tourism, at it's finest! Check out this video for more insight and information on this project, Spring 2014.

For more on Chad Pregracke, watch this:

Pic from:

Videos from:




Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Save The Magothy River" ~ An Oyster Documentary

“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” ~Marc Riboud
“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” ~Walt Disney Company

 I think the same thing can be said with the taking, and sharing, of videos.  Especially when multiple video clips are put together to tell a story.  Especially when that story is a rescue mission to save the Chesapeake Bay.

The latest story that has been told and that needs to be shared is Charles Germain's video documentary entitled "Save the Magothy River."  With interviews and assistance from The Magothy River Association, Department of Natural Resources & the Maryland Grow Oysters Program, Eagle Cove School, Horn Point Laboratories, and Chesapeake Clear Video, Charles Germain has created an amazing and informative ten minute documentary on the sights and sounds of the Chesapeake Bay...and how instrumental oysters are in filtering the bay.

Watch "Save the Magothy River" here, or check it out at this link.  Charles Germain uses his pictures and videos to beautifully remind us how powerful a few individuals can be, especially when that force grows and a community "takes action."

Save The Magothy River from Charles Germain on Vimeo.

Video by Charles Germain:
Pictures are screen shots from Charles Germain's video:
Quotes from

Sunday, November 10, 2013

EdCamp B'More 2013

Emergency lights on my car dashboard didn't keep me away. (Luckily it was just tire pressure issues, which is easily remedied at a nearby gas station.)

Construction and the inability to find the building initially didn't keep me away. (Luckily, I could park, walk, and find good on-foot navigators on campus.)

Keep me away from what, you ask?

Why, EdCamp Baltimore!

I've proven to be a bit of an EdCamp addict here in the past.  It is an amazing kind of professional development that grows right around the participants who then turn leaders and fellow collaborators. 

It's been said if you walk away from a traditional workshop with one good idea to implement the next day, you are ahead of the game. EdCamps typically come with a higher rate of success and a greater degree of next-day implementation. And at a better fee:  free!

I squeaked into camp after my car and traffic troubles just in time for the first session--an intro to Twitter. Even being in the Twittersphere for a couple years now, growing and learning from my PLN (that's a "Personal Learning Network" for those who don't know the acronym), I still walked away with some new tidbits. I don't care what your field of expertise is--Twitter is an amazing place to connect from other like-minded individuals in your field.

My other 3 sessions also came with insights galore--from Google, to social media to boost your school's image, to experiential/inquiry based learning.  After yesterday, I can't wait to really spend some time investigating--here's just a few of the new finds:

--Google Apps for Education & the wonderful world of Chrome (wow--an area of wealth that this kid didn't know about, but a lot of other EdCampers sure did!)  A website of news articles where you can adjust the readability online based on lexile levels. What a great way to differentiate--and follow up with a quiz for comprehension!!

--My last session was a combo deal session including the ideas of Makerspace, PBL, STEM [Science, Technology, Enginieering, and Math], STEAM [STEM with arts integration], experiential learning, and outdoor education.  This served as a great way to make a lot of connections between many sides of the similar active-oriented learning activities.  The Google Doc for that was chock-filled with resources!  (See session 4 for that link here.)

Truly, this is just a mere snippet and the tip of my #EdCampBmore experience

To learn more and experience a bit of the back-end of Edcamp Baltimore, be sure to check out the Schedule.  It is complete with links to Google Docs of notes per session.  Definitely worth the click-through!

Another great reference is the Smackdown link...where participants share a quick mention of a website or teaching tool of inspiration.

But perhaps the most important website to visit is the wiki of links to future EdCamps.  Odds are, there's one not far from you, coming up soon!  It's a great and inspirational way to spend a Saturday!

Pictures from:  Logo =; EdCamp word cloud = ; EdCamp/Traditional Conference comparison chart =

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Singing A Sad Song O'Plastic

Plastic Pollution Coalition has had a long-time anti-plastic mission. They recently made news with their Virgin America's flights, which I wrote about last week.

Here's another gem, this time in music video format, to help raise the awareness of how wasteful single-use plastics are.  It reminds me of this time of the year & Halloween particular, it makes me think of "witches drawers,"  What's that, you ask?  It's that wayward plastic bag, which got trapped in a tree, after floating in the wind.  I wrote a post on wafting plastic bags I wrote back this time of year in 2010.

Check out here, "The Ballad of the Plastic Bag."  May the song stay with you, and help you make different decision when you see any plastic floating around in the wind.

For more on the perils of plastic, check out the GTG archives here.

Picture from

Video from

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Eco-Friendly Travel Solutions

Plastic Pollution Coalition is at it again.  Their mission:  to rid the world of single-use plastics.  They recently made news with their affiliation with Virgin America Airlines. After discussions, the two have teamed up to stand strong for sustainability.  Along with some revamped environmental practices (like terminal hydration stations and the elimination of plastics on board), the following video entitled "Plastic Pollution Travel Solutions" was produced for Virgin America's on-flight entertainment.  

To learn more of Virgin America's commitment on sustainability, check out:
  • Virgin America's Transparency Statement & their commentary on being the first airline to openly address their carbon footprint.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Halloween in Retrospect

It's big business here on Halloween (at the runner-up position of "Most Profitable Holiday"). Call it Christmas in October for retailers.  Clearly evident when I walked into the Costume Shop earlier this month. Luckily it was next door to the Goodwill, which was way more profitable for me when it came to finding bargains.

So here on November 1st, it's intersting to see the
#'s in these 4 infographics ($,#, and more!!)

Halloween, clothing waste, textile waste, green Halloween, eco-friendly Halloween costumes, green Halloween costumes, sustainable Halloween costumes, USAgain, infographics, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, recycled fashion, upcycled fashion, recycled clothing, upcycled clothing