Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Jeff Goodell's "The Water Will Come"

Back in January I mentioned that I got a trio of eco-reads for Christmas.

I saved Jeff Goodell's "The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World." I think I saved it for last because the title is a tad daunting, and too close to Christmas didn't quite feel right for what I knew would be a hard-hitting book.

I read the bulk of it over a three-day period. every chance I got.

On the cover, Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction and Pulitzer Prize winner, is quoted as saying "Deeply persuasive and deeply unsettling." Yes, both sentiments are true.

Goodell is an excellent documentarian, a riveting storyteller, and writer with a no-nonsense approach and the facts to back it. I wouldn't say it's a feel-good tale, but I would say it was an excellent read. A necessary read. A mandatory read for all. I know some climate deniers, and I still can't seem to wrap my head around that. He quoted one of my favorite Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes: "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."

It's coming folks.

I marked up many-a-passage while reading the book, and it does indeed haunt me. Especially in the wake of the current political climate and administration of the United States, the disappearance of climate science on the governmental websites, and the apparent allergy many politicians have with the words (and science of) "Climate Change."  Goodell addresses this, as the book is quite current--having been published in November 2017.

His topics are many: walled cities (by seawalls), raising cities, floating cities, canaled-cities like Venice, climate refugees, Arctic ice melting, Climate Apartheid (the separation between the wealthy and the poor), temperatures rising alongside with oceans, greater susceptibility to hurricanes and wildfires, leaving for higher and/or safer ground, pollution issues from rising water and sewage situations, the climate leading to security risks, Northern geoengineering, and more.

One of my biggest takeaways is that it's not a matter of "if" climate change is to happen (along with those rising seas)... but more a matter of when and how quickly.

My other big takeaway is that Miami, with it's proximity to the coast and reliance on pricy real estate, may very well be screwed in the next 50-100 years. And Miami is not alone in this.

There are a lot of parallels here with the details Goodell brings up with the ability of many to not access clean water (and some of the water issues I've written about recently). One of my former colleagues (from my teaching days at my uber-green environmental school) said that she thought Water was one of the two main issues we shall face as a global society over the next few decades. (She felt Artificial Intelligence would be the other.)

I will admit: I found myself writing "yikes!" in the margins more than a few times!!

Again, I say it again. Innovation is the answer to our environmental problems. We just might want to start getting a move on it to be able to manage this water crisis in a timely manner.

Add this to your "What to Read Next" list. We all need to be educated. This would be a good book for everyone--especially our public officials!

Book cover from, "Book Snap" photos of my notes in Goodell's book, pages 52 and 170.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Water, Water, Charity: Water

Most of us take it for granted: when you are thirsty, you grab a glass and go to the faucet--or grab a bottle of water--and quench your thirst. Pretty easy.

Yet not everyone can do that. Clean water statistics can be startling:
  • 663 million people globally live without clean water.
  • Translated: the above statistic is about 1 in 10 people of the 7.6 billion people on the planet.
  • Translated: the above statistic is about double the population of the United States.
  • More water stats:

We take it for granted, yet clearly we shouldn't. With news of Cape Town, South Africa undergoing a water crisis, it brings that awareness that something as simple as water can go away... and other places never really even had that access to water.

For over 10 years, Charity: Water & Scott Harrison have been busy working to bring clean water too anyone who needs it. This video does an exceptional job of highlighting Scott's own environmentally history, to night club promoter and the hard life that accompanied that, to his personal quest to serve others. Through his experiences in Liberia volunteering with a service organization, transformation and education occurred--centered around dirty water and all the health issues that stem from this. For many in Africa, it also becomes an education issue as it is the girls who have to walk miles to get access to fresh, cleanish water. From this, his organization Charity: Water was born. Initially, $20 at a time. Noteworthy: 100% of all donations go to help provide water where needed.
The Spring - 10 years of charity: water from charity: water on Vimeo.

To learn more about Charity: Water, check out their website, learn about their mission and their projects. or donate.

Over a million people have donated toward 20,000+ water projects, bringing clean water to over 6.3 million people. Wow!  Once again, it shows how simple actions, steps at a time, make a world of difference. It started with one person.

Whether this is your issue or not, there is an issue out there that speaks your name. By taking action, you can make the same degree of difference by doing your part to take part and make an impact.... one step at a time.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Day The Faucet Dries Up

Cape Town, South Africa is currently between a rock and a hard place. They are at a critical water crisis due to historic drought, leaving their 4 million people fearful about "Day Zero"... the day when the water is done and dry and officially turned off at homes and businesses. Right now that day is slated for May 11th of this year. Less than 3 months away. Scary.

At Day Zero and beyond, citizens will need to hit up one of the 200 ration points in the city to collect water. Daily limit will be set at about 6.5 gallons of water. That's hardly enough for the drinking, cooking, bathing, and toilet use they'll need each day.

Here in America, this is what 6.5 gallons of water get you (you get to pick only one of the following):

  • 2 flushes of the toilet
  • A 3 minute shower
  • 2-3 minutes of running water while brushing your teeth.
  • less than 1 dishwasher load.
Or, this graphic from the Water-Use It Wisely Twitter Page is striking (from March 2017)

 But Cape Town is not alone in water crisis. Here are 11 other cities that run the risk of following in the same footsteps:

  1. São Paulo, Brazil
  2. Bangalore, India
  3. Beijing, China
  4. Cairo, Egypt
  5. Jakarta, Indonesia
  6. Moscow, Russia
  7. Istanbul, Turkey
  8. Mexico City, Mexico
  9. London, England
  10. Tokyo, Japan
  11. Miami, Florida, USA
Striking from that BBC February 11, 2018 article:
"Despite covering about 70% of the Earth's surface, water, especially drinking water, is not as plentiful as one might think. Only 3% of it is fresh.  Over one billion people lack access to water and another 2.7 billion find it scarce for at least one month of the year. A 2014 survey of the world's 500 largest cities estimates that one in four are in a situation of "water stress."According to UN-endorsed projections, global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% in 2030, thanks to a combination of climate change, human action and population growth."

Saturday, February 17, 2018

How the Internet Works

In my quest for videos about the Hour of Code, I ran across this video "The Internet: How Search Works."  I found it fascinating, both as an educator, an #edtech-ian, and a learner. Given that, it warranted a post of its own!

I've heard reports that by 2028, ten years from now, half of the jobs out there will be ones that don't even exist here and today.  The reason: the growth in technology. Exponential growth! Given that, it's probably good for all of us to know such things as this... sharpening our tech and innovation skills along the way!


As an aside, here's a pretty cool "gifographic" (an animated step up from an infographic!) and kid-friendly information page on the concept as well from (You'll find a wealth of other information also at Mocomi's learning portal!)

Video from, gifographic from; Image from

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Be a Kidpreneur & Join the Polar Army--Kidpreneurs

 They say a picture can speak a thousand words, making art quite a powerful medium.

It seems to speak volumes more when the poignant and powerful message comes from kids.

That is both the meaning and the message behind Polar Army.

Created by Bryce Madder at the ripe age of 11 years old, Polar Army is an non-profit awareness website & mission to spread the message of climate change and educate other kids and the impact of carbon emissions on our planet. As a citizen activist, Bryce goes to show you that you are never too young to make a difference! He's in good company, with this list of young eco-leaders on which our 3rd grade centers their leadership on. Kidpreneurs are vital part of our entrepreneurial market these days!

Bryce Madder's tagline: "Make some art. Make a difference. Join Polar Army and its fight to save polar bears."

By the end of March 2016, Bryce had over 720 entries on his website on subjects such as arctic habitatsclimate changedevastating impacts, and polar bears. Each of these links will take you to his page of uploaded art on these topics.

Bryce's main message:

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Crash Course Kids

I love me some Crash Course... not the wreck-up, destructive kind, but the John & Hank Green variety. They have a phenomenal way of making history--and every other topic under the sun--come alive with their fast talking, zippy animations! You can find them a few places:

Well, there's a new kid in town. Crash Course Kids, to be specific!  Bringing the same brilliance and humor that Crash course offers older students (although I've used their videos with upper elementary), Crash Course Kids is a little more on the elementary level, starting with 5th Grade Science--complete with standards, and they'll be adding as they go. Here's a preview:


You can find their entire playlist here.

Categories at this writing include:
  • Engineering & Engineering Process
  • Earth Science: Earth's Spheres and Natural Resources
  • Life Science: Ecosystems and Flow of Energy
  • Physical Science: Introduction to Gravity
  • Physical Science: Properties of Matter
  • Space Science: Introduction to Stars
  • Space Science: The Sun and Its Influence on Earth
Crash Course Kids is addictive... in the best way! So go forth and gobble up the knowledge!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Your Food's Roots with Zoey Deschanel

Now that we're an official month into the new year, how's your resolutions doing?  The statistics of wayward resolutions that are long gone by the start of February is at about 80%. Ouch.

For many people, resolutions center around health, wellness, and better eating. Regardless of whether you are in the 80% or the 20%, actress Zooey Deschanel might inspire you to get back up and eating right.

"Your Food's Roots with Zooey Deschanel" is a video series created with ATTN and The Farm Project (founded by Zooey and Jacob Pechenik), to build "knowers" and "growers." In the episodes, Zooey conducts interviews with food experts

Their videos are accessible through both the Your Food's Roots by ATTN and the links are here below the trailer:

Episode 1: Zooey Deschanel Addresses Overfishing

Episode 2: Zooey Deschanel on What's In Your Bread

Episode 3: Zooey Deschanel Tackles Organic Vs Non-Organic Foods

Episode 4: Zooey Deschanel Looks for Alternatives to Meat

Episode 5:  Zooey Deschanel on How Far Your Food Travels to Get to Your Plate

Bonus Video:  The Meaning behind The Farm Project

Trailer video from; images from