Category Archives: Pedagogy

Day 63: The Carbon Cycle (Part 1)

The image below represents the carbon cycle,  one of my favorite cycles. Carbon is one of the elements responsible for life – it is so important for life that often compounds containing carbon are called “organic”.  This is how carbon transits through the  geosphere, the hydrosphere, and the atmosphere.


Source: University of New Hampshire, 2008

The scary part about the carbon cycle is how much we, humans and living organisms, are actually affecting the carbon cycle. We’re actually transforming the roles some of the spheres play in the carbon cycle.  To help you understand how carbon is transiting through these spheres and what role we play in it, here are some questions to think about.

How much is the atmosphere absorbing?

How much is the atmosphere emitting?

How much is the ocean absorbing?

How much is the ocean emitting?

How much is the geosphere absorbing?

How much is the geosphere emitting?

Which sphere(s) act as a carbon sink (absorbing more than it emits)?

Which sphere(s) act as a carbon source (emitting more than it absorbs)?

With these questions, you can see for yourself how the natural flow of carbon circles and how we impact this cycle. If you didn’t get it, stay tuned for Part 2!


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Day 45: Dear Earth, Happy Valentine’s Day! An Open Letter to the Earth


Flamingos on Lake Nakuru, Kenya. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Dear Earth,

Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s true that even though I love you most of all, I often forget to tell you “I love you” every day. Sorry about that. I’m making up for it by doing small actions to show you that I love you. I know, I know, it’s about what I do, and not about what I say – but hey I’m getting better, aren’t I? I’m trashing your place less and I’m loving more of your pet humans (and that’s pretty tough, some of them bite!). Just hang in there, and please don’t blow a gasket with all the CO2 I’m still emitting. I can do better, I promise.

Can I just tell you how amazing you are?! You are one gorgeous planet – the MOST beautiful in my eyes, anyways. Your oceans are so mysterious – I don’t think scientists have an idea of half of what lurks in them. Your ice caps are dazzling.  You blow everyone away with your majestic display of feathered birds, scaly toothed reptiles, giant pachyderms of Africa, and the cutest koalas in Australia, to name a few. The biodiversity you’ve gathered is truly stunning, and you’re more capable of creating, designing, and imagining than I ever will be.

And you’re so smart! That trick you did with coordinating pollination with insects, so that plants, bats and insects all work together and benefit from each other? That was smooth. Not only you’re smarter than me, but you’re more artistic – I really like what you did with Florianópolis, that island in Brazil. What were you thinking, designing 42 unique beaches, a tropical rainforest, giant sand dunes and a couple lagoons on a single island? Sheer artistic genuis! I hope we can keep it as beautiful as when you first rented it out to my fellow humans.

You do everything for me – I can’t tell you enough how important you are to me, and how loving and forgiving you’ve been. You feed me, clothe me, pay for all of my expenses, give me shelter, warmth, and love (I really love some of your pet humans- thank you for them). Your oceans absorb most of the CO2 I put out there thanks to your oceans’ awesome buffering capabilities.  I know it’s starting to be a burden for all of your coral reefs and your atmosphere has never seen this much carbon dioxide. I’m getting worried about us – are we going to be ok? Can you still take this much abuse from me and my fellow humans as we learn to adapt our lifestyles? We’re still learning what a healthy relationship means.

I can’t ever lose you. Keep up the good job.

Love you to infinity and back!


Catherine xoxo



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Day 35: It’s okay to not be perfect and still try



One of the children I work with has a sticker chart for good behavior. This week she had a full week of stickers, but lost one due to inappropriate behavior. She then proceeded to panic and lash out, as her caretaker was saying “Hey, it’s okay! It’s just a hiccup!” Continue reading

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Day 27: Have a telescope party!


Source: NASA. “NASA Galileo spacecraft took this image of Earth moon on December 7, 1992 on its way to explore the Jupiter system in 1995-97. The distinct bright ray crater at the bottom of the image is the Tycho impact basin.”

For this action on saving the world, you will need:

  • A telescope
  • A front-yard with at least a partial view of the sky (even a light-polluted sky will work)
  • A clear night
  • Curious neighbors

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Day 18: How a tiny country fought with the rest of the world to reduce climate change (Part Two – The Voice)

We left off in Part One with a brief overview of the Maldives, a tiny country made up of a thousand islands in the Indian Ocean with a huge threat looming over them: the risk of their country simply vanishing into the ocean due to the rising sea-level.  This is what former President Mohamed Nasheed did about it when he was president of the Maldives from 2008 to 2012. If you haven’t watched it yet, you should watch the Island President to see this inspiring story in action.

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Day 17: How a tiny country fought with the rest of the world to reduce climate change (Part one – The Threat)

The Maldives is a tiny country of huge importance. You might have heard of it because it looks and feels like paradise. It is a popular tourist destination because of its beautiful beaches and high-end resorts. But it has a terrifying history, is host to an inspiring battle against climate change, has a powerful voice that confronted big countries, and has known big victories and tragedies over recent years.  Continue reading


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Day 14: Using music to protect the Earth

Music is an incredibly powerful phenomenon. When you hear it, it resonates inside you. If you like it, it might move you to tears, joy, or awe; if you don’t like it, it will cause disgust or annoyance. Playing music will accentuate that experience even more, because your mind, heart, and body is concentrated on making that sound that pleases you and that moves you to experience something pleasant. Continue reading

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