Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Words of Wisdom from Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe is one of my all-time, go-to climate scientists. She's well-known in her field, and one thing that makes her stand out is the fact that she is a Christian from Texas, and she maintains that it is because of her religious beliefs that she continues with her scientific pursuits. A marriage sometimes in today's partisan world that's rare. I especially like her views on why climate change has become political--it's not so much an issue with the ideas (which do become the scapegoat), but more on the fear factor of how the solutions will effect the economy.

Here's Katharine is on a segment of CBS New's "CBS This Morning" from last February 27, 2019, sharing her view, her wisdom, her optimism, and her ideas of ways we can help our planet. Moral of the story: we need to be talking about it, listening to each other, and meeting each other at our hearts to truly hear each other and why climate change matters to us.

Video from, image from

Saturday, January 25, 2020

View at the Recycling Center & Landfill

Not long ago, I was at our county's landfill & recycling center. The reason? To offload a bunch of cables, keyboards, and old phones for work. You can't just leave your electronics on the curbside, so it really was the only option... especially with the planned obsolesce of computers & technology.

I've been to the landfill and recycling center a few times, though I won't say I'm a frequent flier. It's changed a bit through the years. I always find it fascinating, seeing what people offload at the recycling center... and also seeing what things land at the landfill.

About 12 years ago, I visited our local landfill on a school field trip with 2nd and 3rd graders. At the time it was the tallest structure in the county, with the exception of the air traffic controller's tower at the airport. It was striking to be standing on top, looking down at the growing carnage, especially seeing how small items like lawn furniture (and other identifiable items) were. I was in about as much awe as the kids were. I was even more in awe a few years later that when I revisited the same spot, and you could see the noticeable difference in the height of the trash. I don't remember the exact numbers, but back then, the sections of the landfill were expected to be filled by 2020-2025. Looking at that timeline now, in retrospect, really is striking.

Even at the recycling center this year, it was eye-opening. It really gets you thinking both about materialism and minimalism. A lot of stuff we all just had to have...and here it is, being offloaded. Truly an interesting perspective being there shortly before the holidays.

If you haven't been to your landfill or recycling center, I strongly recommend it. It will shift your view on what you think you need, and what you feel like you can't live without!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

EdTech Fitness With Richard Byrne

Richard Byrne is a powerhouse in the edtech world and has been for well over the last decade. With over 14,725 blog posts on his Free Tech For Teachers since 2007 (averaging more than 1000 per year), and being a frequent Edublog award winner, he knows his stuff. He's often one of my first go-to places to learn more about edtech tools.

Other notable notes about Richard Byrne:
  • He has a resource library of his own creation on his YouTube channel (with over 16,000 subscribers and too many videos to count).
  • He's also a well-traveled edtech presenter who has been all over presenting a myriad of educational topics. 
Needless to say, he's a busy fellow. Given that, he also started the website Ed Tech Fitness--knowing how busy teachers can be (and how their own self-care/wellness often falls through the cracks.) Given my own health pursuits for the new year, I signed up for his Ed Tech Fitness weekly newsletter & challenge, and I'm currently on board for his Junk-Free January. With only about 2 weeks under my belt, I am happy to say I'm still mostly on track! 

Richard uses Ed Tech Fitness to share not only his own healthy path, but some helpful hints to staying on track as well as saving time along the way to make room in your schedule for exercise. Likewise, he shares resources that have helped him on his own journey. I also love that he speaks the language of teachers, knowing the time constraint, busy seasons, and stress loads that are unique to teachers. For anyone who has a health or fitness resolution on their 2020 game plan, it's a great resource.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Unseasonably Warm

I'm writing this outside* in 65° weather, wearing only capri yoga pants and a long sleeve t-shirt. Did I mention it's mid-January? I've just returned from an hour-long bike ride in the county park, making it 2 bike rides in 2 days. Sitting back, I take a minute to bask in the warmth of the sun on my face. This is my ideal weather, it's just odd given we had a late start day due to snow just 4 days ago. Plus it's January.

As much as I love the outdoor activities this weekend and the major dose of Vitamin D to go with that Vitamin N (Nature), it's disconcerting weather for January. A Google search of "unseasonably warm weather January" brought up a bounty of news articles discussing the weather for the weekend of January 10--12 from Boston to Cleveland to NYC to DC. In fact, according to AccuWeather, record highs were likely to happen in over 100 locations in the eastern US. Yet, strikingly, Texas got snow this same weekend.

Blips on the radar screens happen all the time, as do fronts coming in and out. But with wildfires in Australia, and earthquakes strike the already hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico, It feels like reason #7,542 as to why the climate deniers need to sit up and start paying attention to science!! It feels like it's all screaming climate change. Insert eco-rant here!!

So what's a girl supposed to do when it seems like the signs are all around??

For now, what I think I need to do is take a deep breath, before climate panic sets in! I'm going to pause. I'm going to go enjoy the day and take advantage of the gift of the unseasonably warm weather. Along the way, I'm going to embrace some climate optimism. I'm going to start here:

*It was Sunday, June 12th, 2020 when I was wrote this post.

Images from and my camera.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Martin Luther King, Jr.

With Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday around the bend, thoughts on service, social justice, civil rights, and leadership are the thoughts that flitter through teachers' heads.

Here's a list of resources to help you plan your Martin Luther King Jr. lesson plans:

From Teaching Tolerance:
From Green Team Gazette:
From a multitude of other great sources:

Image from

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Eco With Em: Climate Change

I've written about Eco With Em before as her infographic-style, hand-drawn graphics and her environmental slant really appeal to me. With all the conversations about climate this past year, this illustration of hers (posted January 1st, 2020 on Facebook) spoke to me--perhaps more so since she's an Australian and has been seeing first hand all of the devastation from the Australian wildfires. Likewise it seemed like the perfect follow up to my "Raging Wildfires" post from the other day:

Even more powerful was what she wrote on her Facebook post regarding it:
"2020. Here in Australia more than 4.4million hectares are gone, countless animals, sacred sites, over 900 homes and 12 people have lost their lives (including 3 volunteers that all had young children or expecting wives). Skies are blood red, 4000 people were stranded on the beach and were ordered to swim into the ocean and they’re still raging on. It’s hard to feel cheery and impossible to fathom.

The only possible sliver of positivity I can find in this is that it is impossible to ignore. We still have hope and time (I say that with sensitivity and the understanding that there are people out there IN THIS right now). We are starting a new decade. We are where we are. And whether we like it or not Climate Change is inviting us into a new world. For everything to change, we have to change everything. Our attitudes need to change. Our leadership needs to change but if it does not we need to do everything within our individual/community/global powers to shift the needle ourselves.
There are solutions out there, right now, that can help reverse climate change. Regenerative agriculture, blue carbon, smarter home design, Reforestation projects, marine parks. Individually we can change what we eat, support local businesses, quit plastic and overall just consume LESS. Get back to what is important for humanity and leave what is not in the last decade.

The options are that we can blindly stumble into a new decade with an old attitude OR we can come together and completely change the way we live and get to work in healing the planet. I know what I will be devoting my next decade to."
I agree with her: "climate change is inviting us into a new world." If our leaders are going to be laissez-faire about it, then it is up to us as global citizens, national and local voters, community members, entrepreneurs, innovators, and everyday people to become the leaders we are looking for.

Image screenshot from

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Raging Wildfires

The summer of 2018 I went to Silicon Valley & San Francisco as part of a school grant I was awarded in order to visit the birthplace of technology. I wrote about it extensively after my return. (See here, here, here, here, here, herehere, and here.)

With that trip at the start of August, the Carr Fire & Mendocino Complex Fires of California (Mid July to August 2018) were very much on my radar. Amazing how things like that always seem to perk one's interest when they directly could affect you. Due to our travels, we were never in harm's way, nor did we see any of that national disaster (as it was deemed August 4, 2018 in Norther California). The Mendocino Complex fire burned more than 459,000 acres of land, making it a California record holder as the single-largest recorded fire.

Again, I count my blessings that we were totally exempt from any of that at the time. Living on the East Coast of the United States, we were even farther removed, tho certainly saddened by the injury and loss of landscape, animal life, businesses, and more from these fires.

Likewise, for this environmentalist, it was yet again a signal that climate change was indeed a real thing, and these natural disasters were only further evidence of a planet in danger.

Fast forward to January 2020. This simple infographic, amidst the news of Australia's current wildfires, caused me to stop dead in my tracks. Wildfires that raged for a long time before they made national news, at least here in Mainstream USA. The same for the Amazonian wildfires, and I still don't recall the Siberian fires making news on my TV channels.

We all have the tendency to be egocentric, focusing on our own things. From a cultural perspective, that concept is called enthocentlrism, and from a country's perspective, it's often called nationalism. Some of it is a natural tendency to view things from our own perspective. Yet, here in today's world, where the Internet crosses 'round the world and back again in a nanosecond and we are all technically and technologically connected, we all need a global perspective. Not just that NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard perspective.

The view from my global perspective is that poor Australia is on fire in a way we have not seen before!

Social media has drawn our attention by showing not only visuals of Australia's fire, but also of darling koalas and kangaroos, clutching to their caregivers. When our heartstrings are pulled by cute animals (some of which are nearing extinction), we all do tend to take a little more notice as our heartstrings are pulled. 

Likewise, social media (because I follow news outlets and environmental groups) has led me to articles such as these:
  • New York Magazine's "Global Apathy Toward the Fires in Australia Is a Scary Portent for the Future" by David Wallace-Wells (December 31, 2019) ~ This article details much of what I've mentioned above--how the fires have raged on for months, yet it took a long time to get mainstream attention. How climate change issues are often a secondary (or tertiary) news item, how climate deniers strike it up as unrelated or even fake news, and how horrific situations become normalized. (Take mass gun violence, for instance.)
  • CNET's "Australian Bushfires: Everything We Know and How You Can Help by Jackson Ryan (January 3, 2020) ~ Just as the title describes, this article gives a lot of the specific and logistical issues of the fire. At the end, the article lists nearly 30 ways you can help, including links to organizations where you can directly donate.
Sending prayers to all in Australia, a beautiful country I visited years ago. May we come to a swift closure on these red days and may we as global citizens do all that we can to help with this climate crisis.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Starting The Year Off Right

As I wrote in my previous "Happy New Year 2020" post, the rotation around both the sun and the calendar bring about a lovely level of reflection. The start of something new. Resolutions, goals, or "One Word" focuses for the year ahead are frequent and often plentiful among the masses as people... as they go forward with the good and toss the rest from the year before.

I spent my New Years Day doing all my favorite activities:

~ brunching with a a couple of dear co-workers while basking in the fact that we were still on winter break;

~ delighting in the sunshiny 47°F weather and soaking in some Vitamin D & Vitamin N in the glory of my own backyard;

~ napping & reading on the couch by the Christmas tree;

~ doing a little writing & reflecting over here at GTG.

I hope your New Years Day was equally rewarding.

As an aside... my "One Word" for this year: Vitality.

Why? It brings to mind "health & wellness," which is something my body is craving with achy knees and slowing metabolism. But more than that, it also brings about "energy," "liveliness," and "robustness." Who wouldn't want to have those items daily? I also see it as a springboard to ask myself if activities or behaviors bring that. Is mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, playing copious games of Words With Friends, or reading Apple News ad nauseam going to bring me all of that? In five minute blocks, they may help me decompress. But more than that (and who amongst us hasn't gotten sucked down the rabbit hole of our own tech)--probably not. Same for the comfort food and binge-watching TV. Seems like a positive word filled with 20/20 focus and clarity for me to wrap my year around.

May you find a word that helps you focus your 20/20 vision on helping you be the best you can be!

"Vitality" photo created at; the other one from my camera & my backyard.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year 2020

Calendars, just like years, are cyclical. Given that, it's easy to take note each year as you circle back 'round to the benchmarks of birthdays and anniversaries.

New Years Eve and/or Day is one such benchmark... highlighted with festivities, fireworks, fun, family, & friends. The ball drops. The clock hits the stroke of midnight. Some people toast with fizzy drinks or celebrate with kisses, while others opt for a more subdued and introverted approach. No matter what, it brings about reflection over the prior year as well as anticipation and even expectation over the year ahead.

It's a nice juxtaposition with the year ahead: 2020. Seeing with 20/20 vision is seeing with great accuracy. 20/20 is an American investigative journalism news show that's been on air since 1978.  I like the synonymous thought of using the year 2020 to see with greater clarity. To fully investigate what's around you and where you want to go. To go forward with open eyes, embracing the gifts around you, and making the most of every day you have. To focus on what's important. To have the vision to determine where you will be a year from now based on this year ahead.

May your 2020 bring you all of this. Cheers to your year ahead and for the new decade ahead!