16 July 2017

Everybody Deserves Some Time Off

When a friend said to me this morning, "I know all the environmental problems still exist, but ...." I cut her off by adding, "But you still have to eat breakfast, right?" "Exactly," was her response.

Well, I still have to eat breakfast. I need some time to recharge my batteries and reinvigorate my soul. It's been a taxing year, with illness and change and sad news. So I'm going to take some time off from this blog, and I'll see you back here when the spirit moves me.

Meantime, I'll leave you with some delightful news!



Gravity is illuminating sub-Saharan Africa

See this article in The Guardian about an innovative solution to burning kerosene (which produces black carbon, or soot, a byproduct of incomplete combustion; one kilogram of black carbon gives rise to "as much warming in a month as 700 kilograms of carbon dioxide does over 100 years") for light. More than a billion people (250-300 million households) around the world burn kerosene as their primary source of light. 

Kirk Smith, professor at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health and director of the Global Health and Environment Program, says: "There are no magic bullets that will solve all of our greenhouse gas problems, but replacing kerosene lamps is low-hanging fruit, and we don't have many examples of that in the climate world."

Says Jim Reeves, technical director of the Gravity Light Foundation and designer of this simple technology, "I was always a creative person, and did really enjoy making things. The potential outcome of some creative process, where you're just trying to solve a problem, where that outcome can be used in such a tremendously positive way, it really drives you to set about solving that problem.... If you're going to do anything that's vaguely innovative, then you're going to go through loops of real frustration and crushing disappointment. That's going to be part of that journey."

But, he added, "What we're trying to do is have a positive impact, improving life in general."

One of the first recipients of the gravity light said, "The bad thing with kerosene is that it is very expensive. Sometimes people get health problems because of the smoke. When you don't have money, you have to live in the dark." 

Until now. 

*****

What can you do about the climate change emergency? Encourage and support creative problem solving and innovation. Talk about innovative solutions like GravityLight with your family and friends, neighbours and colleagues.

09 July 2017

Summer Vacation

I'm offline for a few days, folks, while visiting friends. Hope you're enjoying summer (or winter), wherever you are.

My thoughts are with those affected by all the wildfires this season. 

Take care, everyone!

04 July 2017

My Big News ... and a Public Promise


This post comes a couple of days late. Sorry about that. It was a busy holiday weekend here for us, with guests (and more guests), and lots of fun things to do. 

But my big news is that I retired this past Friday. It was a relatively sudden decision, but it seemed (and still seems) the right (altough bittersweet) thing. After 32 (not all full-time) years as a teacher, I said goodbye to my official job title (and my benefits) and am now, officially, into my "endless summer" of early retirement.

But retiring from my job as a teacher (and what a wonderful job it was, too, with thanks to everyone involved with the Spring Leaves Family Learning program over the past 10 years!) doesn't mean I'm retiring from work as an educator — especially a climate change educator. 

Remember I told you last weekend about a wonderful nature attunement workshop I took? Well, a wonderful arbutus tree, with five large branches all reaching in the same direction, reminded me that it's okay to take another path, but that I'll probably always walk the path of a teacher in my heart.


This time, like all times, is a very good one
if we but know what to do with it. 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

So what will I do with "this time"? Well, right here, right now, I want to make my commitment public. Because I don't plan to take up golf or spend all my time sailing. Besides cleaning up the loft in our house (a long-overdo task), I am going to:
  • create a GreenHeart Education course, to help teachers green the heart of the work they do
  • finish writing and editing several books, on climate change and a few other (surprising) topics
  • and write to all the school districts in North America, imploring them to teach their students the science of climate change and asking them to support (morally, at least, and perhaps financially) Our Children's Trust
There. You're my witness. With no deadlines (endless summer, remember?) but lots of dedication, I commit to achieving the above goals (including getting my loft organized!) for the sake of all the children, of all species, for all time.

p.s. If you've never spoken with a tree or asked the Universe for some advice, you've got a treat to look forward to!