Category Archives: Pedagogy

Day 73: Not today

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Camels in Mauritania. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

“Not today” is a slang I’ve heard tossed around grade-school kids. I’m not sure whether it is a local slang spawned from an already existing mainstream joke, or if it’s a new expression that’s gradually gaining territory. However, unlike other expressions that have developed over the years, this one has a deeper meaning and embodies a new emotional resistance.    Continue reading

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Day 69: Adolescents are just as smart as adults (in some ways)

A lot of Earth-saving has to do with understanding the psychology of people and how to reach them better. It’s not about what you present to people, it’s how you do it – just like what you say isn’t as important as the tone of voice you say it with. Here, I’ll explain why I think adolescents are just as smart as adults. (All the information about brain development was gleaned from Steinberg, full reference below).   Continue reading

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Day 66: Spring break? Not for Earth Saviors

 

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Fields of tulips in Netherlands. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Happy Spring Break if you’re in college!  Spring break is time to kick your feet back and relax. . .but not if you’re an Earth savior! The Earth doesn’t wait to be saved, and an Earth savior sure isn’t going to relax and start eating hamburgers on break. No; an Earth savior is always true to the principles of Earth-saving, even on break – but that doesn’t mean that there are other ways to let off a little steam.  Continue reading

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Day 63: The Carbon Cycle (Part 1)

The most powerful way to learn something isn’t to read it in a paper somewhere – it’s to actually do it. That’s why I love teaching – there’s a lot I get out of it for my own learning. Often the best way to teach something is to let the students arrive at their own conclusions and construct their own knowledge. That’s why today, instead of explaining something, I’m presenting the carbon cycle and (hopefully) letting people arrive at their own conclusions. Continue reading

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Day 57: Treasure what you have

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Earth Observation taken during a night pass by the Expedition 40 crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Source: Reid Wiseman/NASA

A lot of the “save-the-world” messages have this mantra in common: treasure what you already have. Consume less. Use your own local resources instead of traveling. Teach kids to love their backyard and the Earth. Play outside.  These messages all encourage loving what you already have and making that love last.

Today, when I received news of a car accident that injured a fellow Earth-savior who I hold in high esteem, I felt this message from a different, darker point of view: treasure what you have now, before it’s too late.

In the case of the Earth, you are the one that determines “when” or “how fast” it will be “too late” to treasure the Earth. You’re an active participant in the Earth’s demise – or it’s survival. What you do now will affect the future.

Are you part of the population that is contributing to climate change – rising seas, disappearing land, forests, global warming, mass extinctions?

Or are you part of the population that is trying to change that situation? Are you making the world a better place?

Do you wake up every day and do your very best, because you know your days and your time is precious? Do you treat every moment as a chance to do the right thing, or do you ‘take a break’ from saving the world?

I know we all are far from living our lives to the fullest. But you can put your day – this day, this moment – to its best possible use by reminding yourself that you only have a limited time on Earth. And you want to leave the best possible legacy that you can.

True Earth- saviors never take breaks. They understand the seriousness of saving the planet. Every day is a chance to educate, adopt more eco-habits, be nice to others, raise your voice to those that are hurting others, and spread Earth-love. Every. Single. Day.

Treasure your time and energy – put them to good use. Treasure your Earth – know that it’s not finite, and it won’t last if we don’t take care of it. Treasure your family, your possessions, your life – they all are gifts.

The Earth needs you. It needs to be treasured, appreciated, and protected from our own actions. Are we getting there yet?

I hope so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 56: Be a waterfall hunter

It’s the dead of winter and it’s also 70°F out throughout the Northeast. While this abnormal weather pattern certainly isn’t one to be applauded, one can certainly enjoy the outdoors and the sun during this period. Going outdoors isn’t just a recreational activity – it’s important for your well-being and staying connected with nature, and it’s something I personally encourage everyone to do once in a while for the Earth’s sake (can you imagine if President Trump had grown up in the country? Maybe he’d appreciate our Natural Parks more).   Continue reading

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

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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!

Yours,

Catherine xoxo

 

 

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