Friday, May 22, 2009

"The Sixth Extinction?"

Elizabeth Kolbert has a new article in the May 25th issue of The New Yorker. If you don't subscribe, you can get the issue this week at the newstands, or read it in any library. You can think of this article, "The Sixth Extinction?", as the latest chapter of the book we're reading. Three chapters of that were originally New Yorker articles.

Monday, May 18, 2009

An Inconvenient Truth, continued

If you haven't seen Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, you should do so right away. If you have Netflix, you can watch it on Instant Play. Here's a recent talk by Gore that picks up where the movie left off, from my favorite website,

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Girl Effect

Here's another short but effective video that went viral on the web about the power of the individual to bring about change.

The Importance of Learning Goals Principles & Concepts

This is the text of the document on learning goals that Doug Cohen shared with us on Friday:

The development of individualized Learning Goals is an essential success factor in youth development, overall human development, and particularly in Adult Learning. Professional development is a journey that consists of acquiring Competencies (knowledge, skills and abilities) and moving towards Mastery. A professional is someone who is fluent in a Body of Knowledge who also possesses an accompanying Set of Skills to bring that knowledge into action.

And underpinning the achievement of personal and professional accomplishment is your Personal Foundation. The ability to steadfastly walk the path of the lifelong learner assures professional growth and satisfaction. In fact, one master teacher in this work suggests that the definition of being a professional is being a Lifelong Learner.

A few more thoughts about how critical one's personal foundation is. This I believe: The success of the revolution now underway to renew America and build the emerging Green Economy will be based on Who we are being, How you are being, and bringing yourself to others. This will be the crux of the matter in the success of building this movement.

The experience people will have of you will be the result of walking your path, defined by your Learning Goals. As you develop goals, they become the building blocks of an individualized Development Plan. This is your roadmap, your pathway towards mastering the bodies of knowledge and sets of skills that will become the foundation for your success. Making progress on this pathway is dependent on your ability to be committed to your own Learning.

Goal Setting focuses your Learning. Having a vision of Who you want to be next in the world, how you want to contribute, and determining what impact you want to have in the world are all
ingredients for building your Individualized Development plan.

So, WHO YOU GONNA CALL ?? Who are you going to call on yourself to become in order to serve the needs of our precious world?

Change Happens

On Friday there were questions about getting other people to care about environmental issues. To some, this may seem a daunting task, even hopeless, but if you've been around as long as I have, you've seen amazing changes in American life that can give you more hope for the future. On this subject I thought I'd share two short videos. They're not about environmental issues, but they do give a perspective on change. And they're very entertaining.

The first one, American Time Capsule, was made in the late 60s and is a high-speed visual history of the United States. Less than three minutes, in fact. Fast enough? That's followed by American History Rap, a funny rap history of the U.S. by some very ambitious high school students.

The Story of Stuff

This movie fits in perfectly with Doug Cohen's discussion of sustainability last Friday. There's an article on it on the front page of today's NY Times (web edition). The video has gone viral, with over six million web viewings.

As the Times article explains, most textbooks in this area are hopelessly out of date:

Many educators say the video is a boon to teachers as they struggle to address the gap in what textbooks say about the environment and what science has revealed in recent years.

“Frankly, a lot of the textbooks are awful on the subject of the environment,” said Bill Bigelow, the curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools, a quarterly magazine that has promoted “The Story of Stuff” to its subscribers and on its Web site, which reaches about 600,000 educators a month. “The one used out here in Oregon for global studies — it’s required — has only three paragraphs on climate change. So, yes, teachers are looking for alternative resources.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009 — Find out what it means is one of our training partners in Turkey. This short video explains what the number 350 stands for:

What's the best way to introduce the world to 350?

With over 4000 languages spoken around the world, it's probably not with a bunch of words. We did our best to boil down the science of global warming and vision of the 350 movement in 90 seconds. Check it out.

Still confused? Maybe we need some words after all. Here's their mission statement: is an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis--the solutions that justice demand.

Our mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis--to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.

Our focus is on the number 350--as in parts per million, the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. But 350 is more than a number--it's a symbol of where we need to head as a planet.

To tackle climate change we need to move quickly, and we need to act in unison--and 2009 will be an absolutely crucial year. This December, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark to craft a new global treaty on cutting emissions. The problem is, the treaty currently on the table doesn't meet the severity of the climate crisis--it doesn't pass the 350 test.

In order to unite the public, media, and our political leaders behind the 350 goal, we're harnessing the power of the internet to coordinate a planetary day of action on October 24, 2009. We hope to have actions at hundreds of iconic places around the world - from the Taj Mahal to the Great Barrier Reef to your community - and clear message to world leaders: the solutions to climate change must be equitable, they must be grounded in science, and they must meet the scale of the crisis.

If an international grassroots movement holds our leaders accountable to the latest climate science, we can start the global transformation we so desperately need.

Dumb Americans

This is that news segment from Australian television about dumb Americans that I showed at our May 8th orientation meeting. Very funny, maybe exaggerated, but there are a lot of statistics that show it's not all that inaccurate.

And here are some real interesting links on the subject:

Dumb and Dumber: Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?
NY Times review of a recent book on the subject.
GeoTube Videos
The YouTube of geography videos.
Geographically Dumb Americans
A survey conducted by National Geographic magazine

Are You a Dumb American?
Take the quiz yourself!