Saturday, June 12, 2021

A Packed Padlet Full of Culturally Responsive Resources

As the diversity of our classrooms grows and branches out, and as the news headlines continues to crop up with stories of racial, religious, gender, and sexual identity injustices, it is our role as educators to continue to educate both ourselves ourselves and our students. Some people might argue "political issues" are too political for an environmental education, edtech, & innovation blog, but social justice is indeed a climate and environmental justice issue. 

It is from this vantage point that the teacher in me argues what all of this really is: it is an "empathy issue." Our job as teachers is to help our students see things from other perspectives, analyze situations, think critically, and explore other cultures. By understanding where someone else is coming from, we can learn about and better understand their experiences. Just like a habitat is healthier when there is a lot of biodiversity in that environment, so too is our global, human experience!

For several years now, I have adored Padlet as one of my favorite edtech tools for compilation, curation, and collaboration. I love it even more when people use it to collect resources with the sole purpsoe to share. This Padlet here came from a Diversity-Inclusivity-Equity [DEI] workshop that a colleague of mine attended. It is an expansive resource of many culturally responsive books, texts, articles, and videos for all ages. The goal of the Padlet: to help broaden the perspectives on variety of DEI topics. My always GTG goal: to share digital resources!

May we all continue to grow and learn more about our friends, our neighbors, our students, our community members, and other people across our planet so we can widen our understanding of others' cultures and their struggles & successes. By learning more about others, we ultimately learn more about ourselves.

Scroll through the Padlet embedded here (both horizontally and vertically), then click the links of the resources you are interested in. You can also access the Padlet on its own webpage here.

Made with Padlet

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Matchmakers For the Environment

Dating apps are all the craze and have been for years. I know a number of people who have met their future spouse through these--whether it's one of the "swipe right or left" variety or another kind.

Would you swipe right or swipe left for a cleaner environment to help reduce and repurpose waste?

Maayke Aimรฉe Damen brings about an interesting and innovative parallel to dating apps with the work she does at Excess Materials Exchange [EME]. Maayke is one of the co-founders of this Amsterdam-based digital platform. Since 2017, EME has worked to help create a global circular loop by reusing materials and exchanging them with other companies that need these materials as raw products. In doing this, it helps repurpose what was potentially seen as waste and funnel it to some one else who needs it--which in turn helps create a much smaller ecological footprint for all parties involved. Classic case of "supply & demand" meets "one man's trash is literally another's treasure. 

Maayke speaks about it here in her 2020 TED Talk. She describes how they are   basically "materials matchmakers," helping to find the best environmental fit for other companies. 

To learn more, check out the visual below and investigate Excess Materials Exchange's website.



Saturday, June 5, 2021

Pondering Pandemic School As Summer Approaches & The World Opens Back Up

As I'm approaching the last remaining days of school, I'm struck in that sandwich time between end of the year craziness and summer bliss ahead. That's usually just about the right time for reflection in a normal school year. However, we all know this year was about as far away from normal as you can get. In fact, when you factor in the nuances of the Covid craziness of this pandemic, hybrid, remote, upside down teaching (where the "nuances" were far more nerve-racking than subtle), "reflecting" this year goes to new heights.

Add in, two weeks ago I actually was able to sneak away on my first trip "home"--a solo trip to the heartland to my folks' house. Being several states away, it's never a simple nor a quick trip since it involves either a long drive or a flight. In fact, in this Covid craziness, it has been since Christmas 2019 that I'd been there (or vice versa). 

Not only did I get to sneak in a little end of the year flight and multi-day getaway, but I also got to sleep in my old bed in the house I grew up in, breathing in the homeland and seeing all the old familiar sites of my childhood. In short: I got to go HOME for the first time in 17 months (almost to the day) since Christmas 2019. 2019: Back when there wasn't even a glimmer of an idea of a pandemic and how topsy turvy it would ultimately be. I can’t even begin to describe what it was like seeing my mom sitting in the waiting room inside our small regional airport while I was taxi-ing in, sitting on the plane. Window to window. Best memory ever and an even better hug in person. A hug that was17 months in waiting--long overdue--with double doses of vaccines on both sides, a multitude of masks these many months, all following nationwide quarantines & FaceTimes & Covid-school. Oh my!

My go-to saying this past year has been that hybrid teaching is like juggling knives with the simultaneous task of addressing the "roomers" and the "zoomers." While remote learning was maniacally difficult, in retrospect it was almost a piece of cake in comparison to hybrid learning. Back in March last year, none of us would have believed that it was possible for something to be harder than remote teaching! 

Teaching at an independent school, we were able to start the 2020-21 school year in a hybrid setting due to our ability to spread everyone out. We were hybrid for about 6 and a half months where kids came essentially every other day (except for those who opted to be full-time remote students). Right about the time our area public schools ventured into the hybrid world in March of this year, we transitioned back into full-time, in-school teaching--with plexiglass, masks, air scrubbers, distancing, outdoor lunches, and more. Over time, the full-time remote students started trickling back in. We're ending the school year this next week with almost our entire population fully back in session. 

Along those many months, we re-crafted the art of teaching first for fully remote then for hybrid. Our elementary students have far exceeded previous years in their technology skills and abilities. We've all honed our problem solving abilities, patience, senses of flexibility (and hopefully humor), and creativity. It's been a long, long road to get here. Many of us teachers are TIRED!

The vaccine roll out has been a gift of science the last five months, and our nation as a whole is starting to open up. Elementary students are still waiting their turn, but with the vaccines now being able to be administered to anyone 12 years old and up, "normalcy" (both in schools and beyond) is starting to return. For many of us who have been "Covid cautious" throughout, there's a little bit of PTSD that comes with that. For one, it's hard to get past the staggering numbers of deaths our nation and our world have faced due to this silent virus. Secondarily, the initial fear of the unknown really packed a powerful punch. I remember the "old days" in the early part of the pandemic where we wiped down our mail & delivered groceries and hoped we didn't run out of Clorox wipes. Man, does that feel like eons ago!

As we have moved through the various stages of the pandemic [which included a contentious election as well as a lot of televised racial injustice for which we were a captive audience], we have finally made it through to what's feeling like "the other side." The world is opening back up. Slowly for some (& perhaps with PTSD) and exuberantly for others. I see it strikingly and with raw emotion as I take note of the proms and graduations that are happening this year in ways that were impossible last year. I witnessed it first hand at the crowded airport from my trip two weeks ago. Not only was it weird because it was the first time I'd flown in at least 2 years, but let me tell you: there were a lot of people! Too many people for this kid! That person seated next to me on the plane was not 3 feet away! It was definitely a strange dichotomy given I've become a pro at reminding students at school to stay distanced and monitoring myself & my family to steer clear of crowded settings. 

The more life opens up, the more I'm slowly becoming accustomed to letting go of all the rules and protocols that we've been governed by for the last 15 months. It's hard to let go of though, especially since  I've been teaching in masks, eating lunch in a room by myself behind a closed door, and virtually bathing in hand soap and sanitizer at school. It's taking a little bit to settle into the vaccinated safety and take comfort in the reduction in the number of cases and to trust that things are getting better.

So with summer nearly upon us, I'm eager to retire my mask and bask in my backyard for a bit. To breathe in the fresh air, To settle in my summer happy place of the pool. To go on an adventure or two. To catch up on sleep, read books, watch some shows, and just work on anything but "work." That is of course one of the all-time beauties of being a teacher. This year, more than ever before!

Photos either from my camera or created at Canva.com.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The Kid Legend Book Series

Two of my recent reads were from the Kid Legend Series by David Stabler and Robin Stevenson. This 7-book series focuses on a series of "greats" within the title topic and focuses on what these folks were like as kids who ultimately became champions in their fields. 

Best part of it, the recommendation for the book series came from one of my 3rd grade students in Technology when we were talking about Computer History and she recognized some of the names I mentioned based on having just read Kid Innovators.


Based on the nature of teaching technology and my investigation for curricular connections with a leadership unit ahead, I ordered Kid Activists: True Tales of Childhood from Champions of Change & Kid Innovators: True Tales of Childhood from Inventors and Trailblazers (both written by Robin Stevenson). Quick reads of course for an adult, but I found the stories fascinating as I learned the stories of the childhood of these activists and innovators. The two I read were excellent books for our young readers who enjoy biographies.

Other books in the series all by David Stabler that I'm sure are equally as good:


Kid Activists Image created at Canva.com--Book cover from https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683691415?ref_=dbs_m_mng_rwt_calw_thcv_5&storeType=ebooks; Individual pictures all taken the the activist's wikipedia.com page except for Autumn Peltier, who's picture was from https://www.womenofinfluence.ca/2019/11/05/meet-autumn-peltier-14-year-old-internationally-recognized-clean-water-advocate-and-the-anishinabek-nation-chief-water-commissioner/ 

Kid Innovators Image created at Cana.com--Book Cover from https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683692276?ref_=dbs_m_mng_rwt_calw_thcv_6&storeType=ebooks;  Individual pictures all taken the the activist's wikipedia.com page except for William Kamkwamba who's picture was from https://resource-alliance.org/speaker/william-kamkwamba/ and the Wright Brothers, who's picture is from http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1364

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Treasures in Your Pocket

This image spoke to me today. We all should have treasures in our pockets. A li'l something tied to nature, to the outdoors, to our wild.

This Memorial Day weekend, go out, explore, find treasures, and be wild as you become a little closer to nature. It is what gives you life.


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Becoming a Solutionary

I recently read the 2016 book The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries and it led me searching for more and to author Zoe Weil as well as one of her many TED Talks below.

The idea of being a "solutionary"is good food for thought. What is a solutionary? In short, someone who looks for solutions to problems. In long (from Zoe's Weil's Institute for Humane Education) website :
 

As a teacher, isn't that our ultimate job--to help build and grow critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaborations, and compassion skills in our students? To help them see ways to solve relevant and important problems that affect us all? It reminds me of my belief that innovation is what will help us solve our world problems--environmental and more.

Operating on the "MOGO Principle" (which is short for "Most Good & Least Harm" to selves, others environment), Zoe talks a lot about being a humane educator and what that means as we inspire our students to see the effects of ours (and their) choices and working to create change on a systemic level. Given it is our students who will be creating solutions and our future world, we want and need to help develop their skills as innovators--as smart, conscientious choice and change makers.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Mr. Greg's Ospreys

Books are sacred to me. They are magic in your hands, taking you places, becoming gateways of inspiration, enjoyment, insight, and knowledge. Picture books have the added bonus of delighting your senses with the illustrations. Plus they act as colorful invitations, opening up new worlds and perhaps even future passions.

That is the hope of "Mr. Greg's Ospreys," a picture book written by Laura Callahan, Jill Waldman, and Patrice Boone and illustrated by Christine Willliams. All four Maryland residents, they created the book to not only to share Mr. Greg's story and the importance of the work he does, but with the hopes to inspire future generations to become conservationists and environmental stewards. The book outlines a year in the life of Mr. Greg, from July to the following August, as he tends to the ospreys along the river. Throughout the book you learn a lot about the life of ospreys as well as the many things Mr. Greg does to keep the ospreys safe in their natural habitat.

Being related two 2 of the 4 collaborators of the book, I scored an invitation to their outdoor book signing at Patuxent River Park last weekend. (Numbers were limited due to Covid restrictions at the time the event was organized.) 

There, we got to celebrate in their successful launch of the book AND meet Mr. Greg. 

Mr. Greg is both a character in the book AND a real person. Mr. Greg is Greg Kearns, a Park Naturalist and master bird bander for nearly 4 decades who has been overseeing the osprey nesting site program he started in 1984 on the Patuxent River at the Jug Bay Natural Area. He spoke at the signing of his longevity in the area and how osprey numbers in the 1970s and early '80s were quite low. He referenced ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson (known for his 1934 "Guide to the Birds," the first of many field guides he'd later come to write), mentioning birds as an environmental litmus test of the health of an area.



Several decades ago, the low number of ospreys indicated that Jug Bay--the largest freshwater tidal area in Maryland--wasn't doing exceptionally well. Just like eagles, osprey populations were severely impacted by DDT which thinned the eggshells of these birds. Yet now, with the help of osprey platform towers along the Patuxent River to help them find a place to build their nests, the osprey population has grown and been restored because of humanity and the help of these man-made platforms. Mr. Greg estimated that 400 osprey pairs are now thriving along the 115 mile river.

As if on cue while Mr. Greg was telling us all of this, we all got to see the swooping chase take place over the river backdrop of an osprey chasing an adult eagle. This was only one of the many ospreys who decided to make an appearance at the book signing. It's as if the ospreys knew we were talking about them. 

One could argue that Patuxent River Park is a secondary main character in the book to Mr. Greg. It is here in these wetlands that the real life story of Mr. Greg and the ospreys takes place. In addition to having an observation tower and multiple places to hike and picnic, there is an area in the park called the Rural Life Museum with several historical out-buildings and guides present to share the past. Additionally there are campgrounds and canoe rentals. Perhaps a favorite, though, is their very impressive Osprey Cam (which you can view here) which Mr. Greg also maintains.

Prior to writing their book, Laura, Patrice, Jill, and Christine accompanied Mr. Greg on a osprey banding boat trip down the Patuxent River. While bird banding, Greg places identification bands on the hundreds of osprey chicks that hatch in the spring in order to track the chicks when they migrate and return. While on this boat trip, the ladies took photos and learned of the many duties Greg has managing the osprey sanctuary. From there, the 4 of them put these stories on paper and over time, Mr. Greg's Ospreys was born. 

And who knows, after reading their work about Mr. Greg's work, maybe future conservationists will be inspired to do what they can to take care of nature!

Roger Tory Peterson Quote from https://www.azquotes.com/quote/565737; all other pictures taken at the book signing on May 15, 2021.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Mark Your Calendars

By day, I am a technology specialist and my world has a lot of digital components. But I'm still a tried-and-true "paper" girl when it comes to things like my lesson plan book and my calendar. Additionally, I'm a list maker who takes great pleasure in crossing items off. I like to see it all in front of me--as if in doing so, "it" all will magically make more sense. "It" being "life," of course! (I'm sure there's something in there about "control" as well, but I digress!)

I've recently found new inspiration in the digital calendar world--I've looked long and hard over the years and I did not think it would ever happen. I found an online calendar that not only syncs well across devices but also integrating my Apple and Google calendars nicely AND has an element of cute to it!! (Being a highly visual person, I have an extreme need for color, cute, fun fonts, and more.) But, I think I found nirvana in Artful Agenda--especially with all of that, plus inspirational daily quotes, and lists that give you the ability to cross them through. Add in, they have a Facebook group called "Arfully Obsessed," and it was there I got the idea to use my "Meals" section as a gratitude journal. It really hit my sweet spot and it has become my first stop every morning as I get organized for my day ahead. 

So of course, in my process of making it my own, I've been adding other elements to it too, because this calendar has become my latest obsession! I added some of the dates that our Diversity Director at school sent our way to create a separate Diversity-Equity-Inclusivity calendar in my master Google calendar, and found these 3 exceptional resources so I'll always know which months honor different cultures or what specific days are noteworthy.

That, in turn, inspired me to go on the hunt for an environmental of "eco days," so I could be in the know if it was International Day for Biological Diversity (which is today--May 22nd) or World Environmental Day (coming up ahead: June 5th). The beauty of this one is that if you click on a date, you can automatically add it to your iCal. Additionally, each calendar date has some detailed information about what is specific to that environmental date. Yes, I'm in love! 

So, if you too can get a little excited by random bits of knowledge, your calendar just may need these items!!! 

Have I ditched my physical calendar or notebook? No. But, I am finding I can live more harmoniously in both the paper and digital calendar worlds!!

Images from https://www.conversketch.com/blog/how-to-decide-paper-or-digital-graphic-recording-with-conversketch and https://www.artfulagenda.com


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Diversity Surrounds

Keane State College in New Hampshire is a US Department of Education Green Ribbon School (2017), on the Princeton Review to 375 Green Colleges, and listed on Sierra Club's list of most eco-literate colleges. It's know wonder they know something about sustainability and biodiversity.

This became eminently more clear in Dr. Dottie Morris' fifteen minute TEDxKeene Talk on May 17th, 2017. Dr. Morris is the Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Keene State College. In this roll, she knows a bit about diversity. Her style is engaging as a story teller, and message is strong:

In nature, we adore diversity. The colors of the fall, the sparkling of light on the water, the variety of trees, flowers, animals across the planet.
Biodiversity makes for a healthy environment and a thriving habitat.

Yet, as people, we still fall short on that mark when it comes to diversity. 

Difference is not something we should fear. We need to learn from nature and the greatest takeaway is that diversity is essential. She makes a powerful point: division is NOT the answer--it's socially constructed. Made up. Gender. Race. Class. I love her quote: "We have been snookered, we have been bamboozled, we have been fooled." 

Think of our polar partisan politics. Think of our siloed social media feeds. Particularly in the US, now more than any point in my own personal 5 decades, we are more divided than ever before. Yet, as Dr. Morris points out--in order to be sustainable, we NEED diversity. Of thoughts. Of Beliefs. In our community. We are interrelated and part of each other. It is through creativity in ourself and our works collectively in the world. Innovation NEEDS our diversity of thought. As Dr. Morris points out: "Diversity is the mother of innovation." She goes on to say that we live in a highly complex world. Because of that, we need those different views and vantage points. There really is no room in a world of problem solving for narrowness of thoughts. We, as people, are the perfect picture of "together we can accomplish more."

Just as the natural world needs biodiversity to thrive, we too need diversity as a national and global community.



Video from  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8leYAVPKaLA, photo of Dr. Dottie Morris from https://www.keene.edu/news/stories/detail/1592406971205/, quote image created at canva.com

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

"Why We Swim" by Bonnie Tsui

Not terribly long ago, I had a couple long weekend stays visiting my daughter. There were certain parameters to the hotels I chose to stay in. Free wifi. ✅ Breakfast included. ✅ Good proximity. ✅ Indoor pool. ✅✅✅

The latter was truly the first and foremost of importance. Especially in the wintery and early spring months where the outdoor temps (of both air and water) were too chilly, and an indoor pool was paramount. 

Fitting too, some of my poolside reading was Bonnie Tsui's 2020 book Why We Swim. I've talked a lot in the past about #BlueMind and how my backyard pool is my home away from home (see here and here). Hydrotherapy is indeed one of my greatest escapes and mental equalizers. It's where I can move with ease (regardless of achy knees or hip acts up). It's where I fully unplug and have moving meditations, achieving total Zen moments. It's where I have no problem being "that crazy bouncing lady in the pool, even with a mask" if the pool starts getting crowded here in Covid America--I don't care. It is truly my happy place, and I will not be deterred from being there!

Here are some of the other great takeaways I got from Bonnie Tsui's book:

๐ŸŠ๐Ÿป‍♀️We are "land creatures with an aquatic past." (page 5)

๐ŸŠ๐Ÿป‍♀️With approximately 70% of the planet being water, it's not a surprise that 40% of the world's population lives less than 60 miles from a coast. 

๐ŸŠ๐Ÿป‍♀️She referenced Charles Tomlinson's poem "Swimming Chenango Lake." I didn't know this poem and looked it up. They both reference swimming as "moving in the embrace of water, but mindfully" (Tsui, page 36), being free and in the flow. 

๐ŸŠ๐Ÿป‍♀️On page 54, while visiting Iceland, she mentioned "swimming as liturgy." Later too (page 65) she quotes Kim Chambers: "The water has been my teacher. It is my sanctuary...you come to the water and feel cleansed." Swimming indeed strikes that chord for me--it becomes a place of worship and one of my closest moments to God, higher power, spirituality and self-awareness. It has me at "Buoyancy, floating, weightlessness. Freedom." (p. 74) Renewal comes in that water! As does escape.

๐ŸŠ๐Ÿป‍♀️I'm a splasher who is constantly in movement, maybe more in a water aerobics kind of way. But even so, this strikes me: "For many swimmers, the act of swimming is a tonic, in that old-fashioned sense of the word: it is restorative, a stimulant, undertaken for a feeling of vigor and well-being." (page 62)

๐ŸŠ๐Ÿป‍♀️Swimming is forgiving with an agelessness to it. Because of the water, you can do things there that you (well, maybe me) can't always do on land. The water resistance and weightlessness makes it possible to keep you moving, pain free, in a multitude of ways that other on-land exercise can't. Add in too, it reminds us how to play. (page 110)

๐ŸŠ๐Ÿป‍♀️"After experiencing awe, we are more likely to help others and to be relaxed and satisfied with life." (page 102)

๐ŸŠ๐Ÿป‍♀️"Swimming is the second most popular recreational activity in America, outranked only by walking." (page 109)

๐ŸŠ๐Ÿป‍♀️She quoted Wallace J. Nichols (Blue Mind author) stating that "Being around water provides a sensory rich environment with enough 'soft fascination' to let our focused attention rest and the default-mode network kick in." (p. 221) It's like being mindful and mindless simultaneously. "wimming was an ideal time to ruminate, to noodle for noodling's sake, to compose in one's head." (p. 222) Yes! Yes! Yes! No doubt, being in and under the water, and how sounds shift in those moments (as does light on the water) can bring about a meditative state where you are one with your own space and place.

๐ŸŠ๐Ÿป‍♀️"There is a seductiveness to water. From afar, it gleams and glistens, a shiny liquid jewel. It is inviting. It swirls, fans, and coalesces, embracing you. It holds you and yet cannot be held by you. When we immerse ourselves, something is awakened." (page 248) This feels like poetry in motion, and my pool experience every time. 

Maybe it's all of these reasons why I not only had hotel pool aqua bliss, but why the book also spoke to me. As I look back on my reflection here, it could perhaps been seen as a romantic love affair with water and ode to eau. It's interesting too how the pool became a true adult passion and later discovery. I think it just goes to show you that beauty and wonder are there, always to be discovered. May you discover yours, in whatever form it takes!

Pool Image from my camera. Book cover from https://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Swim-Bonnie-Tsui-ebook/dp/B07WJ1NH6N/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=why+we+swim&qid=1616429337&s=books&sr=1-1

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Happy Mother's Day 2021

“My mother is my root, my foundation. She planted the seed that I base my life on, and that is the belief that the ability to achieve starts in your mind.” 
—Michael Jordan

Happy Mother's Day to all of you!
Spend some time outdoors today! Preferably with the people you love!




Wednesday, May 5, 2021

World Password Day: May 6, 2021

Life never fails to crack me up. A couple months ago I had run across the concept of the first Thursday of May as being the annual date of World Password Day. Who knew #PasswordDay was even a thing, and has been since 2013 when it was crafted by Intel to build better password and privacy habits. Great, I thought: this is a perfect topic for a blog post, and it made it on my ever-growing list of environmental, edtech, and innovation topics to be sure to hit this year. 

Well, around about the time I was sitting down to write about this, I got an email indicating that I had a potential identity fraud situation in the works, and one of the very things I needed to do (aside from submitting the necessary paperwork) was go in and change up some passwords. 

Life is serendipitous like that! "Luckily" I had all these resources already set aside awaiting World Password Day.

First off, do you see any semblance of you in this list, as shared by Tony Vincent: 

If you do, it's time to get to work changing passwords.

Another good place to look is here: Wikipedia's List of the Most Common Passwords. Wikipedia does have its purpose from time to time.

According to this article on #WorldPasswordDay 2020 from the InfoSecurity Group, 38% of people never change their passwords.We all probably have our own growing list somewhere of passwords and that fear factor of "oh no, I've forgotten mine!" Plus, with devices magically remembering them for us, it's easy to become complacent and just go with the status quo because it's either too hard to remember, we're too lazy, or we just really like the ones we've got! But, all of that makes us ripe for falling victim to hackers out there. Sadly, there's always folks out there who would rather side with evil than with good. All of which creates a mess that we then get to clean up.

So do yourself a favor and take advantage of World Password Day and tighten things up in your digital world with some of these helpful tech tips:

You can also find more great helpers at:


Images from https://idit.ge/en/posts/22/world-password-day and https://twitter.com/tonyvincent/status/1348600548891611137/photo/1, password tips created at canvas.com using information from https://www.informationq.com/world-password-day/

Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Sights, Sounds, & Science of Cicadas

 Whether you are a bug person or not, it doesn't matter....they're a coming. Especially if you, like me, live in the shaded area of this map: the 17 year cicadas are coming.


Here are some online resources you can use in your classroom to investigate the sights, sounds, and science of cicadas this May!

Images from https://www.newsweek.com/brood-10-cicadas-map-u-s-states-insects-2021-1564207 and https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1VhgFwucFdkMnzlq2x9RZmd9rZlzsVOIbUdS7Wzb3Pcg/edit?usp=sharing

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Climate Rage is Sexy

'Tis the season, with Earth Day having just happened and while still being able to see it here on our April calendars, for heightened awareness on all things Mother Earth. 

I ran across a Substack post by Amy Westervelt entitled "Climate Rage is Sexy." Interesting timing given we just had Women's History month and I also recently finished the book Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger by Soraya Chemaly. Rage apparently is all the rage. With good reason! With our "sheltering in place" this last year due to Covid, it gave us grand opportunity to be captive audience to the heightened awareness on racial and social injustice over the past year. Add in a rather contentious election in 2020, a lot of "-isms" have been in the forefront of all our minds. Media and social media screamed all of the above this past year.

Even Mother Earth seems a tad pissed off when you look at our rising climate issues, the wild fires of the past 18 months, the pandemic, the melting of polar ice sheets, growing food waste and plastic pollution, biodiversity degradation....the list goes on. So, yes, Amy Westervelt is right, and the rage is on when it comes to climate change.

Here are some visuals, created from Amy's "Climate Rage is Sexy" text that I found at Future Earth's Facebook Page. Just like Saroya Chemaly wrote in the above-mentioned book, "When a girl or woman is angry she is saying 'What I'm feeling, thinking, and saying matters.'.... We are living in what feels like an age of pronounced rage and near-constant outrage." [Locations 188 & 208 in the Kindle version.]

I think it's time for us all to embrace our climate rage--for it is through doing so that we will take action. The time is now for doing so!





Images from https://www.facebook.com/futureearthcatalog/posts/921697871909203 and credited to Credit: “Climate Rage is Sexy” by @amywestervelt via Hot Take

Saturday, April 24, 2021

9 Gen-Z Eco Activists

One of the many treasures in the book No Planet B: The Teen Vogue Guide to the Climate Crisis (Edited by Lucy Diavolo, 2021) is the chapter in the Activist Section titled "Nine Teen Climate Activists Fighting For the Future of the Planet." Like much of the book, it's from environmental articles posted in Teen Vogue--this one by Marilyn La Jeunesse, published in the magazine on July 24, 2019. In her article/chapter, she highlights 9 Generation Z activists making bold moves to make a difference in our world.

Here's what these young activists are known for, their age as of this writing, and where you can go to find out more about them!

Greta Thunberg, 18
Perhaps the most well-known on this list, Greta has received numerous awards and recognition (including her Nobel Peace prize nomination in 2019) for her school strikes on climate justice and is an avid spokesperson on this issues in many global forums. You can see her timeline of her activism on this website and she is active on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.

Katie Eder, 21
As a Stanford student, the Executive Director of Future Coalition (a youth activist organization), and an avid environmentalist since 6th grade, Katie probably never gets bored. She's organized climate strikes, 50 Miles More (to promote the end of gun violence) and helped from the #AllEyesOnJuliana campaign in June 1, 2019 day off press conferences(when she was approximately 18/19 years), which supported the climate lawsuit Juliana vs. the United States government.

Jamie Margolin, 19
Jamie is the cofounder and co-executive director of Zero Hour, another activist group for our Generation Z'ers on climate change and justice. She's a plaintiff on the climate lawsuit in Washington state of Our Children's Trusts' Youth v. Gov. She is also the author of Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It (2020). She is also open about her experience as an LGBT person. You can find her at Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Nadia Nazar, 19
Nadia joins Jamie as cofounder, co-executive director, and art director of Zero Hour. With these pursuits she has also organized the DC Youth Climate Strike and the lead from Maryland for the U.S. Climate Strikes. She testified in front of Congressional committee on climate change in February of 2019, and she is also a student at Maryland Institute College of Art. You can find her on Twitter or on her art-inspired website.

Isra Hirsi, 18
She and Haven Coleman co-founded (and are co-executive directors of) the U.S. Youth Climate Strike in 2019. She is also the daughter of U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. She was active this election to help educate voters on the presidential candidates' views on climate change. She is also a Foodprints for the Future Ambassador for Earthday.org. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Alexandria Villaseรฑor, 16
Alexandria began her activist career following Greta Thunberg and the school strikes. Alexandria is the founder of the climate change organization Earth Uprising and is also involved in the U.S. Youth Climate Strike. You can find her at Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Haven Coleman, 15
She and Isra Hirsi co-founded (and are co-executive directors of) the U.S. Youth Climate Strike in 2019. She founded the ARID Agency for climate and social justice in 2020. She's also been very active speaking about, promoting, organizing, and leading climate events. You can find her on her website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 20 (bday may 9)
As an Indigenous climate activist, Xiuhtezcatl began speaking out at climate summits back when he was 6 years old. He's the Youth Director of Earth Guardians, author of We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement that Restores the Planet, and a hip hop artist with an environmental slant. He is also a plaintive in Juliana v. the U.S lawsuit. You can find him on Facebook and his website.

Jayden Foytlin, 17
Jayden also is an Indigenous (and Cajun) climate activist and one of the 22 plaintiffs in Juliana v. U.S. She is also an avid protestor of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline which would cary oil from the Dakota Access Pipeline to Louisiana. 



Images from:
Graphic created at www.canva.com using photos from the following:
6. Alexandria Villaseรฑor: https://twitter.com/alexandriav2005
7. Haven Coleman: https://havencoleman.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Earth Day 2021: Restore Our Earth

Earth Day is officially April 22nd. However, this year, with the 2021 theme being "Restore Our Earth," those at EarthDay.org are combining with leaders at Education International, Hip Hop Caucus, and Earth Uprising to create a 3-day Call to Action: April 20--22nd. Given that, we are right in the thick of things, and I'm posting a bit early so you can take full advantage of what is morphing into Earth Week.

All 4 of these organizations are creating 3 parallel climate action summits set to happen two days prior (on April 20th & 21st) as a lead in to Biden's global leaders climate summit on Earth Day. Topics of these summits will be climate literacy, environmental justice, and youth-centric environmental issues. Activists will come in all forms: educators, artists, musicians, researchers, and it will become an official "Second Annual Earth Day Live." If 2020 showed us nothing, it's that we can do a whole lot of learning via zoom!

The Timeline:

April 20th:  A 4-hour digital summit with plenty of the leading young climate activists will stream. Leaders like Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Villaseรฑor (Founder of Earth Uprising), Licypriya Kangujam (9-year-old Climate & Environmental Activist), and many more will voice what they hope Biden will address at his climate summit. This level of listening from top presidential leadership is new.

April 20th evening:   The Hip Hop Caucus (and partners) will hold their "We Shall Breathe" virtual summit, looking at environmental justice through the lens of the pandemic and racial justice. 

April 21:  Education International's "Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit" will be held virutally with a variety of activists from across the globe. Their focus will be on environmental education, especially as it is tied to addressing climate change.

April 22nd: Running congruently to the Biden administration global climate summit will be the live Earth Day digital event sponsored by Earthday.org. Livestream will happen starting at noon Eastern time with a variety of workshops, discussions, and performances all centered around this year's theme. 

Anytime:  For 51 ways you can do something today, tomorrow, or any day, check out Earthday.org's list!

Watch. Take part. Learn. Do something. Make a difference. Restore our Earth. Celebrate Earth Day.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

John Kerry, Al Gore, TED Talks Daily, & The Paris Climate Agreement

About a year and a half ago, back before there was a global pandemic, I was gifted tickets to see John Kerry at the Baltimore Speaker Series on Sept. 24, 2019. The Myerhoff Symphony Hall was a dynamic setting to see this former US Secretary of State, Vietnam Veteran (with multiple awards including 3 Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, and a Bronze Star Medal), former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, US Senator, author, and the 2004 Democratic nominee for President of the US (who lost to George W. Bush). He spoke so eloquently and intelligently on many of his past experiences as well as on climate change.  It was a refreshing and rewarding evening hearing his thoughts on so many poignant topics we were facing in 2019.

I happened upon John Kerry again about a month ago on one of my new favorite podcasts: TED Talks Daily. He was featured with Al Gore in a longer than typical TED Talks Daily episode. The reason? It was February 2021 and as the US had just rejoined the Paris Agreement. Yay! As Biden's choice for Special Presidential Envoy for Climate he was having a sit down with former Vice President and climate expert, advocate, and Nobel Laureate Al Gore to discuss the return and all that's at stake with climate change here in 2021 and. going forward. 

Again, it was a refreshing and rewarding conversation, and just perfect to pay attention to here in the pre-season of Earth Day ahead! You can watch below, at TED, or find it through Apple Podcasts. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Earth Day Bitmoji Board o' Books

bean bag chair chill

Anyone who has been hanging around for any amount of time over here knows that I am a major fan of Bitmoji Boards as an edtech way of sharing resources.

Here is a great that I ran across for Earth Day, created by @MissHecht. You can find this and approximately 80 more of her Bitmoji creations at her LinkTree Account. She has one on Recycling, Biomes, and Animal Adaptations too, which might also serve your environmental needs here this Earth Day. You can also buy her (aka Bridgette) a cup of tea as a way of saying thanks, or follow her Creative Teaching with Miss Hecht page on Facebook.

 
Bitmoji Boards created by @MissHecht and you can find them to make a copy of her amazing boards at https://linktr.ee/misshecht

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Environmental Justice Resources


From the EPA website, "environmental justice" is not as simple as a Websters definition. In fact, it has 3 defining points:


Sadly, over the eras, many of our black, brown, indigenous, and impoverished people have been living in the places where most of our environmental hazards have occurred. Some are due to bad luck and poor living conditions. Some are due to white communities adopting a NIMBY attitude (aka: "Not In My Backyard"). And sadly some have been purposeful governmental choices... making injustice far from a coincidence and rather by design. Due to this, environmental racism is a real thing.

A lot of conversations have been happening over the last year or so particularly centered around racism. Nationally, it certainly came forefront to us all as we sat at home, gazing at our televisions and the news as there wasn't much else to do in 2020 in the middle of a pandemic and we saw the stories of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor surface. Likewise, we have also been talking about a lot of diversity, equity, and inclusivity issues at my school--more this year, but it's been a growing conversation over the last several. Books like Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho (and his YouTube videos), White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, and How To Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi have been on my reading list over the last two years.

Given all of that, I was particularly struck when I ran across this extensive compilation of anti-racist resources for nature lovers. That was a thing? Why yes, it is--because of environmental justice (and injustice). Compiled by Wilder Child (a great website and now one of my new favorites to follow on Facebook as well), the resource list is entitled "Decolonizing Nature Connection: Resources for Raising Anti-Racist Nature Lovers." In addition to environmental justice by way of everything mentioned above, interestingly enough, nature is not necessarily as accessible as one would imagine! Environmental injustice has made being out in the great outdoors a more "white thing" than I ever thought. I mean, nature is free, right. And yet, I'm learning, it's not as free as I thought it would be.

The resources are plentiful and all through the lens of environmentalism. It provides a lot of interesting choices for my 52 Weeks/52 Books goal this year. In fact, my next book ready to read in my Kindle app is J. Drew Lanham's book The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature, one from the "Decolonizing Nature Connection" list. I'll be reporting back later on that read after I finish it.

If all of this leaves you wanting to dig more than into Wilder Child's growing list and you find yourself interested in doing a deeper dive into the conceptual background of Environmental Justice, check out these two articles:
Collage created on Canvas.com using pictures fromhttps://images.app.goo.gl/fbEiM9kfthK3Q6FHAhttps://www.teatown.org/what-is-environmental-justice/, and https://comingcleaninc.org/environmental-justice, definition of Environmental Justice is a screenshot from https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/learn-about-environmental-justice, Dr. Robert Bullard quote image created on canvas.com, screenshot of "Decolonizing Nature Connections" by Wilder Child from https://docs.google.com/document/d/18-D6-ZZA5rmgiapiokAFMte3isYK8dVqXswE8d16xlQ/edit?fbclid=IwAR3LHO0HsmE0trGYJ9PYUsooCPu2GcJdiTUs3wXS-prKv98Gs9nOyLAG1Sc