Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sleep On It: The Restorative Power of Sleep

Having just been on Spring Break, all thoughts ultimately lead to sleep: sleeping in, catching up on sleep, and taking a nap.  I think teachers are uniformly programmed to think this way, come this time of year.

Then there's Daylight Saving Time and losing that hour.  Man, that always hurts.  (But, in a "hurt so good" sort of way as dusk comes later, making it feel like summer is on its way!)

Who knew: there's a fabulous follow-up to turning that clock back--the Monday following Daylight Savings Time was National Napping Day, which apparently is a real thing.  How awesome is that!

Sleep is one of those things that as a kid, I remember never wanting to go to bed, for fear of missing something.  Now, it's that elusive thing we never quite get enough of.  Yet, it's vital for so many of our systemic and daily functions.

The importance of sleep has recently cropped up in three of the podcasts I listen to, with the entire episode for each dedicated to the secrets of sleep:
Then, of course, there's always information from NIH as to the benefits of sleep.

Given we all know the emotional, restorative, safety, and brain benefits of getting enough sleep, it begs the question:  Why aren't we getting more?  Our Type A, worker-bee modes are to blame.  

But adults alone aren't the only victims of being under-nourished in the sleep department.  Case and point is an interesting post I ran across on Treehugger by Katherine Martinko entitled "When Kids Are Losing Sleep, It's Time to Rethink How We Parent."  The culprits to killing kids' sleep are many: over-scheduled calendars, TV & the growing tech addiction, sugar over-saturation, irregular bedtime routines, school stressors, and lack of good ole playing outside with all the fresh air & sunshine that comes with that.  When time-on-tech averages are starting rival slumberland, that's a problem.

In case you were uncertain as to how much sleep we need (at all the ages), check out this graphic:

The National Wildlife Federation published the document below entitled "Green Time for Better Sleep Time and an article on the importance of getting outdoors to help improve sleep--for all, but especially for children. The three big ways the great outdoors helps even-out the sleep biorhythms:
  1. Nature light increases daytime alertness and moods, which brings about the zzzz's at night much better for one's body clock.
  2. Nature has a way of de-stressing like no other, from sights the sights and sounds of time outdoors.  Along those lines, it build concentration as well.
  3. Exercise is always good for endorphins, and the whole body physical side of outdoor play helps even more.  Physical exertion is great for leading to exhaustion.

So, you have some homework assignments:
  • A little green reading of "Green Time For Sleep Time" above; 
  • A few podcasts to listen to;
  • Play outside, no matter what your age;
  • Then go get yourself in your PJ's and go get some sleep!!

Photos from:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

World Water Day: March 22, 2016

Since 1993, March 22nd has been a United Nations' internationally-designated day centered around water related issues. This year marks our 24th World Water Day.  It's a day to bring about awareness on the importance of clean water, especially given that approximately a billion people world wide don't have access to clean water.  That one billion people--that's 1/7 of our global population.  That's mighty!

This year's World Water Day theme centers around the power of water and jobs, and their transformative nature to make a difference in lives.  Not only does water quality impact people, but water is vital for all jobs--therefore all employees need both access to quality water as well as fair labor laws. 

For more information, resources, or even donation opportunities, check out the following resources:

Additionally, you might be inspired to take a break and unplug from your technology by taking the UNICEF Tap Project Challenge.  By opening up on your cell phone (this is the important part), then NOT touching your phone, you can help the UNICEF donors give funds for water for those in need.  This is open for the entire month of March, and this is what is certainly called a win-win all the way around!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tonight's the Night: #EarthHour 2016

Tonight's the night. Earth Hour. Lights off from 8:30--9:30 in your time zone.

I've been talking about Earth Hour for a bit now.

To get you right and ready for tonight, check out these two videos. One for the younger set, and one to make you think a bit.

Add in: Don't forget to go to Earth Hour's #ChangeForChange site to donate your social media or change your profile picture.


Videos from and; Image from

Saturday, March 12, 2016


Today by my mailbox was a delightful sign of spring: the first flower.  Add in that it's the start of my Spring Break from school, life is pretty ideal and Spring Fever has definitely hit!

Thinking about Spring, the budding that's beginning, the warmth that wafts on the breeze, and the hint of rising temperatures, it has me longing to get outside: neighborhood walks, bike rides, going somewhere good for a hike, and even just sitting outside at my patio table--watching the birds flock the feeder.
It's time to #RediscoverNature.

As much as I'd like to take credit for that hashtag, I can't claim the creativity.  But Nature Valley can. They have 3 videos, each promoting the great outdoors in different ways.  3 videos that make you think and rethink, at least a little bit. Videos worth viewing.  Videos that will inspire you to take advantage of Spring & Spring Break, and get you outside to #RediscoverNature!

Photo from my camera, 3 Generations video from; Field Trip from; Rediscover the Joy of Nature from

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Earth Hour 2016: Time It Right In Your TimeZone: March 19th from 8:30--9:30 pm

'Tis the season....the birds are chirping, the temperatures are warming up, the last snow may just be behind us as Spring Break is just in front of us.  Must mean it's approaching mid-March...which this year means it's approaching Earth Hour.  The 10th Anniversary.  One of my favorite of the "environmental days," it's a chance to take action, to help #ChangeClimateChange.

Here's a little video to get you geared up for Earth Hour, a mere 10 days away:  March 19th, lights out in your time zone, from 8:30--9:30 pm.  Be a part of something bigger than you.

Video from; Image from

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Raising Our Spoons to "The Story of a Spoon"

In the style of the Plastic Bag Mockumentary, there's a new #eco mini-documentary in town that makes you ponder the birth of a spoon. From it's meager beginnings (you know, the Big Bang) to your backyard barbeque, oil makes its way from ground to factory to plastic spoon.  As you watch plastic wrapped in plastic, it makes you rethink your utensil usage.

Let's face it:  how hard is it to watch a few pieces of silverware?

And how much are we wastefully throwing away and/or convincing ourselves that we're doing good by recycling (which in some ways, is just another "away" as not all recycling ends up where it needs too, or ends up being down-cycled into lesser products).

I raise my spoon and say:  "Let's stop wasting valuable resources!"

Image from; video from

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

50 #Eco Innovators

Whether aged 24 to 54 (or more), from CA to NY or Alaska to Australia, Grist has them all.  At least when it comes to the 50 folks of 2016 who are environmental activists, innovators, visionaries, & organizers.

This list is a great way to show students who is out there, what they are doing, where they are located, and what is their individual driving force & passion.  It also might serve as some inspiration for them for the future, where who knows--the sky is the limit!

The Focused 50:
  1. Jasmina Aganovic, The Naturalist
  2. Sana Amanat, The Hero Maker
  3. David Bancroft, The Southern Chef
  4. Sean Barrett, The Fisherman
  5. Maxine Bédat, The Fashion Mogul
  6. Tiffani Ashley Bel, The Coder
  7. Mary Berry, The Farmers' Advocate
  8. Marcelo Bonta, The Equity Advisor
  9. Julian Mocine-McQueen & Heather Box, The Story Tellers
  10. Heber Brown III, The Baltimore Pastor
  11. Katie Button, The Restauranteer
  12. Camille Delebecque, The Fermenter
  13. LaToya Ruby Frazier, The Artist
  14. Alex Freid, The Zero-Waste Wiz
  15. Angel Garcia, The Conservative
  16. Jihan Gearon, The Navajo Warrior
  17. José González, The Outdoorsman
  18. Emily Graslie, The Educator
  19. Katie Hinde, The Milk Maven
  20. Rob Hogg, The Heartland Climate Hawk
  21. Lucy Holtsnider & Zion Klos, The Sailors
  22. Angel Hsu, The Data Architect
  23. Mark Jacobson,The Clean Energy Mastermind
  24. Trip Jennings, The Filmmaker
  25. Murrawah Johnson-- Naomi Klein’s pick, The Native Daughter
  26. Emily Kirsch The Solarpreneur. The Solarpreneur
  27. Katherine Wells & Flora Lichtman, The Adaptors
  28. Ted Lieu, The Congressman
  29. Angelo Logan, The Mechanic-Turned-Activist
  30. Peter Malinowski, The Oysterman
  31. Nia Martin-Robinson, The Recruiter
  32. Michael Mazourek--Dan Barber’s Pick, The Flavor Savor
  33. Nona Yehia & Penny McBride, The Modern Farmers
  34. Heather McGhee, The Policy Shaper
  35. Kandi Mossett, The Crusader
  36. Sudha Nandagopal, The Equalizer
  37. Ayanna Pressley, The Fighter
  38. Adrianna Quintero, La Voz
  39. Donovan Richards, The NYC Councilman
  40. Anthony Rogers-Wright--Bill McKibben’s pick, The Organizer
  41. Pamela Ronald, The Rice Whisperer
  42. Cameron Russell, The Model Activist
  43. Tyler Sit, The Midwest Pastor
  44. Julia Stewart, The Booster
  45. Nathaniel Stinnett, The Voting Guru
  46. Julien Terrell, The Youth Organizer
  47. Vien Truong, The Power Shifter
  48. Cynthia Graber & Nicola Twilley, The Foodcasters
  49. Allison “AKU-MATU” Warden--Annie Leonard’s pick, The Rapper
  50. Jalonne L. White-Newsome, The Clean-Power Enforcer
Image and all above list & links from