City Bees

Cities could save bees?

Reading The Grist I came across a blurb about cities saving bees. Following this summary back to the original article in the Telegraph I read up and developed a few questions about the real potential for city apiaries’ ability to provide a safe haven to these stinging pollinators.

So what is the solution to our declining bee populations? Well in order to figure out any challenge you have to look at the underlying problem and then try to find a sustainable solution for that situation. Continue reading “City Bees”

Evolving Consciousness as a Human Right

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” So begins the United Nations document The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Twenty two years ago I was faced with sexual slavery for the first time.  It was on a water testing trip with my high school to the Amazon basin and we were passed on the river by barges heading to supply the people looking for gold.  One of the supplies that barges carried were girls my age.  I was 14 at the time and that event made an impression on me.  One of my goals in life would become to create a world in which slavery couldn’t couldn’t exist. (Not to mention the practice of dumping mercury into the water to retrieve gold isn’t the best idea for the environment.)

Continue reading “Evolving Consciousness as a Human Right”

Games for Didactic Use

One of the things that is important to me is creating positive change in the world.  While I loved teaching, I felt that there had to be a better way to connect with people.  After watching the failures of schools to produce responsible students and that of the environmental movement increasing changes for the survival of the species it seemed clear that there is a better way.  So I researched and read and looked at what appeared to be successful.  What I’ve come to is that games area fun and engaging way to connect with and communicate a message.  While the message can be communicated through both the theme and the mechanics either should provide a better way for information to be retained as behavior change.

The use of games for education is a growing field, although it has been in practice for decades in experiential education.  Using games in education, in a didactic purpose, is linked with greater understanding and better assimilation of the information by players.  I may not be a scientist, but I can observe that there is movement on the games front as this understanding percolates through society and more play pops up. Continue reading “Games for Didactic Use”

Creating the New

Very often those of us who are trying to break into a new field or localize a globally based industry struggle because we are competing with established norms.  Whether it is an organization or societal structure there is a real need for dynamic change over time in order to establish a balance that meets the needs of a healthy system.

Planting the seeds of change
Planting the seeds of change

What we are faced with right now is a very unhealthy Earth system.  There is obviously need for drastic change.  One of the first things that we can do as a culture is is part of what keeps the system healthy.  We need to develop new systems that are in line with the Earth’s processes. While it wouldn’t do to look at all the reasons that what we’ve done hasn’t worked we CAN seek to make decisions based on sustainability.  Logically, any principle not based on how the Earth’s systems function seems doomed to failure.  Based on the Permaculture Design Certificate I completed this summer I know that the principles of permaculture provide a solid foundation to working with the Earth and can be adapted to society as well as business. Continue reading “Creating the New”

Sustainable Public Transit in the Valley

Topic: Creating a Sustainable Public Transit System
October ’12 Greenwork Roundtable

With four speakers and a topic I consider important I was surprised at the low attendance for this event.  Especially when I frequently hear complaints about how challenging it is to ride the bus in the Pioneer Valley and get to where you are going easily.  Because of this I’m going to share just a little about what went on.

It is not that the buses are bad; I’ve found them to be clean and the drivers pleasant.  I think the greatest challenge for me is the schedule which makes it so that I have to head home by 6:30PM – there goes taking the bus to any of my evening networking events.  The schedule also only gives me one bus per hour.  For others is can be great when the college students are around and challenging when they are gone because of reduced buses.

Here’s a brief overview in case you now wish you’d gone. Continue reading “Sustainable Public Transit in the Valley”

The Renewable Energy behind Solarfest; Its Volunteers

Pulling attendees from all over New England, Solarfest is an amazing venue to listen to great music, make purchases from eco-minded vendors, and learn from a great workshop series which offers something for everyone from children and beginners on sustainability and renewable energy to more advanced topics for seasoned veterans. This year was my second time in attendance and my first as a volunteer at this particular event.

Some of the reasons I decided to help out include a friend who was also volunteering, for the cost of my volunteer t-shit I had a weekend pass and free camping, big events always need more help and I was in a position to offer this, and I was going to be running a workshop so it already felt like I was already committed to giving my time.

Over the course of the weekend I still had plenty of time to catch the music I wanted to listen to, including a great band that featured a bagpipe and a lot of great dancing music, only I got a chance to meet some new people who ended up being a lot of fun to hang out with. The experience was enriching overall, in part because I felt more intimately connected to the festival and what was going on there. Continue reading “The Renewable Energy behind Solarfest; Its Volunteers”

You’re Not Alone and Success is Possible

As I hung up the phone with the Director of Sustainability of a small liberal arts university, I was struck by the number of times that I have heard the same challenge articulated. The challenge – we have no money to work with- is a common one since schools that are fiscally conservative often have a small to non-existent budget to put towards sustainability initiatives which leads their Directors to face what feels like a huge wall.

The seemingly insurmountable needs – resources, manpower, support – feel like they grow larger over time since the Director does what they can, in many cases continuing to identify more and more that needs to be done around the school.  Overwhelming for certain.

I am going to propose a solution, or even better, show you that there is no insurmountable wall in front of you, there is simply a challenge that you have yet to overcome. Continue reading “You’re Not Alone and Success is Possible”

Don’t get stuck for ideas, there’s free curriculum out there!

Looking to teach more about sustainability, renewable energy, or another cool hip topic that you just don’t feel you know enough about?  Well first, don’t forget, you don’t have to know everything.  That’s the great thing about allowing students to go out and find the information about what interests them.

But if you are hoping to at least make an introduction to new topics in the classroom, check out your favorite non-profit to see if they provide free curriculum, games or lesson plans.  So many have begun to develop these services, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it.  Who better to hear about issues from than the experts?

For ease here are a few examples:

Oxfam Cool Planet for Teachers

Northeast Sustainable Energy Association

This post is also viewable on iTeachToo.com through this link.