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What are the narratives we can tell about the future of UK environmental law in light of the result of the UK EU referendum? Any answer is not just important for the UK, but will also directly shape our understanding of what nationhood means in an era of globalisation. That sounds a rather grandiose statement to make, but let us explain.
We emerge from the thick tropical clouds that perpetually hang over Kota Kinabalu at this time of year. I crane my neck to get a good view through the plane window of the surreal profile of Mount Kinabalu, its multi-pronged rocky top standing well aloof of the surrounding clouds and forest. It seems as if the mountain, aware of its own splendour, has shaken off all vegetation from its peaks to better show off their plutonic immensity.
Imagine a Hollywood film about the Iraq War in which a scene at a clandestine Al-Qaeda compound featuring a cabal of insurgents abruptly cuts to a truck-stop off the New Jersey Turnpike. A group of disgruntled truckers huddle around their rigs cursing the price of gas. An uncannily similar coup de thèâtre occurs in an overlooked episode in 1 Henry IV.
Sparky & Jenni with the Hawthorne Middle School Eco Club, the coolest kids like, ever.
Print t-shirts live and in person while showing grade school students how to conserve our resources? Sign us up!
A few months ago we got a call from Toni Min, science and math teacher at Hawthorne Middle School. She had been to our booth at a festival and saw our on-the-spot t-shirt printing. Toni told me about her after-school Eco Club, which is completely awesome. They actively learn about ecology and the environment by working on projects such as growing their own garden and talking about the benefits of recycling.
One of the more interesting things we do at our live screen printing events is put our crazy art on people’s existing garments. We’ve printed on some really odd stuff before (wool sweater), and even had a few brave souls strip so we could print on what they were wearing at the moment (which is why we carry a robe). Toni loved this idea (minus the stripping) and wanted to know if we would be willing to print on her students’ shirts specifically for the Eco Club – thereby demonstrating how we can reuse old things rather than always acquiring new stuff.
Jenni and I are totally on board with that. We do a few pro bono events a year for causes we align with, so it wasn’t hard to get us to say yes to this one. We love working with kids, we work hard to protect the environment, we already had the ink…
Sometimes our live printing events can get chaotic and crazy. At high-profile events, it can be a nonstop situation, printing and interacting for hours straight. Apparently people love watching what we do up close and personal! So we weren’t sure what to expect with the HMS students.
Let me tell you, these kids were the coolest cats around. Smart as whips, uber-curious, funny, and just crazy fun to be around. It was a total blast. Thanks, guys! You rock.
Prairie Dog Song: The Key to Saving North America's Grasslands
by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore
Lee and Low Books, 2016
Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trombore have earned many honors and praises for their picture books including the 2014 Robert F. Sibert Medal for Parrots Over Puerto Rico. Their new nonfiction picture book highlights the role prairie dogs play in maintaining the balance
Earth Day is an annual celebration, championed by the Earth Day Network, which focuses on promoting environmental protection around the world. The Earth Day Network’s mission is to build a healthy, sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the Earth for future generations. The theme for Earth Day 2016 is Trees for the Earth, raising awareness around protecting the Earth’s forests.
Fine wine is an agricultural product with characteristics that make it especially sensitive to a changing climate. The quality and quantity of wine, and thus prices and revenues, are extremely sensitive to the weather where the grapes were grown. Depending on weather conditions, the prices for wines produced by the same winemaker from fruit grown on the same plot of land can vary by a factor of 20 or more from year to year.
The global food system is estimated to contribute 30% of total Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this context, the EU has committed to reducing GHG emissions by 40% relative to 1990 levels by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. Apart from the necessary policies of citizen information and production regulation, could a consumer tax on the most Greenhouse gas-emitting foods be a relevant tool to improve diet sustainability? Could it combine greener and healthier diets with a limited social cost?
Today is Wangari Maathai’s birthday! Wangari Maathai was the first African woman, and the first environmentalist, to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Seeds Of Change: Planting a Path to Peace, which tells Wangari’s story, continues to be one of the most popular books that we publish!
In honor of Wangari Maathai’s birthday and upcoming Earth Day later this month, here’s a list of the many fantastic resources and ideas available to educators who are teaching about Wangari Maathai’s legacy and using Seeds Of Change: Planting a Path to Peace:
Seeds Of Change won the American Library Association’s Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustration in 2011. The Committee Chair and Book Jury have prepared activities and discussion questions for Seeds Of Change in the 2011 Discussion Guide for Coretta Scott King Book Awards, P. 20-21.
Have students read and discuss author Jen Cullerton Johnson and illustrator Sonia Lynn Sadler’s joint interview with Lee & Low, which covers the environment, their travels, and Wangari Maathai’s achievements.
After introducing Wangari Maathai with Seeds Of Change, delve deeper with the Speak Truth To Power human rights education curriculum, a project of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. They present an in-depth exploration on Wangari Maathai, the Green Belt Movement, and sustainability issues.
In teaching standard 7 of the ELA Common Core, have students evaluate how Wangari Maathai is presented in a documentary compared to the Seeds Of Change biography. PBS’s documentary on Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement, Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, contains a classroom section full of video modules, handouts, and lesson plans.
What did we miss? Let us know how you are using Seeds Of Change in your classroom!
Jill Eisenberg, our Resident Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her column she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators.
Pre-eminent among writers of mystery stories is, in my opinion, Dorothy L. Sayers. She is ingenious, witty, original - and scientific too, including themes like the fourth dimension, electroplating, and the acoustics of bells in some of her best stories. She is also the inventor of the voice-activated lock, which her hero Lord Wimsey deploys in the 1928 short story 'The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba'.
This is the Earth by Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander illustrated by Wendell Minor HarperCollins Children's Books, 2016 review copy provided by the publisher
If you just read the visuals in this gorgeously illustrated book, you will trace the historical impact Americans* have had on the earth. In the first spread, there are no humans, in the second, a single canoe on a wild river. The sky dominates the third spread, but there is a group of teepees in the lower left corner. European settlers, railroads, steamships and airplanes appear in rapid succession, then modern cities, smoking landfills and waste spewing into the ocean. Before our eyes, a rainforest is leveled and glaciers melt into the ocean as polar bears look on. Just in the nick of time, we see recycling, commuters on bikes, a community garden, sea turtles being helped across the sand to the ocean, trees being planted, reusable grocery bags being carried. Finally, humans become a small part of the big picture again, as a group of four hike across a mountain meadow while alpine wildlife look on. Any grade level with a standard that teaches students to attend to the tone or mood created by the visuals in the media could use this book to spark rich discussions.
The text is rhyming, with the pattern, "This is the..." Mirroring the images, the book begins with "This is the earth..." then "This is the river..." and "This is the sky..." before changing to "This is the spike..." and This is the steamer..." and "This is the plane..."
Here is a sampling from the hopeful ending of the book:
"This is the Earth that we treat with respect, where people and animals interconnect, where we learn to find balance between give and take and help heal the planet with choices we make."
*I originally typed "humans," but then realized that this story is predominantly that of the United States' impact on the environment. We're not the only ones, but we're huge, and if this giant would take a positive stand to make sweeping changes, we could lead the way toward a healing and healthy Earth.
The recent flooding in the north of England has prompted calls for better flood defences and river dredging. But these measures are unlikely to work by themselves, especially with the increased likelihood of extreme weather events in the coming years. A new approach is needed that considers whole catchment management – starting with the source of rivers in upland areas.
I read aloud The Lion Who Stole My Arm by Nicola Davies earlier this year (see post here). In that book, an African boy who is maimed by a lion attack wants to get revenge on the lion that hurt him...until he learns about lion conservation and how much tourist money lions bring to his country.
I was thrilled to see that Nicola Davies is writing a series -- Heroes of the Wild. The newest in the series is Manatee Rescue. The manatees in this book live in the Amazon River, and the characters are indigenous people.
These are quick reads -- only about 95 pages, with an epilogue that gets them to 100. The books are illustrated with pen and ink drawings by Annabel Wright.
I can't wait for a kid reader to pick this up and give me their insights into the story!
As representatives from 146 countries gather in Paris for the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference, we’ve turned to our Very Short Introduction series for insight into the process, politics and topics of discussion of the conference. Is the UNFCCC process flawed?
Is Europe heading towards an Energy Union -- the ambitious goal announced by the Commission at the beginning of this year? If so, many would say that it is about time. Energy has long been neglected by Europe.
From conserving endangered species to confronting climate change, natural resource management and conservation requires effective education and communication to achieve long-term results in our complex world. Research can help natural resource managers understand how to strategically use different outreach techniques and to promote new behaviors by involving and targeting their diverse audiences.
How does nature benefit our health? Many of us intuitively know that we simply feel better after ‘stepping out for some fresh air.’ Now over 30 years of research has begun to reveal exactly what health benefits we get from nature. Here are five reasons why we need to make space and time for nature in our lives.
Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, Laudato Si, will be surrounded for some time by intense debate among and between journalists, columnists, Catholic journals, political leaders, and environmentally-focused scientists and NGOs. In other words, the fight over how it’s received is well underway. In the 125 years or so that papal social encyclicals have been written, their reception has been hotly debated, with the most infamous such episode occurring in the pages of the National Review.
Up-and-comer author illustrator, Trace Balla, has quickly hit the scene with the recent success of ‘Rivertime‘, being both shortlisted in the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Awards, and winning this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize. Her work stems from a background in art therapy, animations and community involvement, with […]
Just over a year ago, in March 2014, UNU-WIDER published a Report called: ‘What do we know about aid as we approach 2015?’ It notes the many successes of aid in a variety of sectors, and that in order to remain relevant and effective beyond 2015 it must learn to deal with, amongst other things, the new geography of poverty; the challenge of fragile states; and the provision of global public goods, including environmental protection.
The scent of Spring is in the air. But that’s not all that’s lifting us up. From the tiny details to the wider world, our environment has so much to offer. For different reasons, these following picture books discover beauty and how the elements of nature can capture our hearts and strengthen our human kindness. […]
Weeds Find a Way
Words by Cindy Jenson-Elliot; pictures by Carolyn Fisher
Beach Lane Books. 2014
Preschool to Grade 3
I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
“Weeds send their seeds into the world in wondrous ways: fluffing up like feathers and floating away on the wind.”
Jenson-Elliot has penned a lovely informational picture book about how weeds