My Journey

Here is my journey through ESCI 302! Thanks for the great semester everyone!

 

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Exploration

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This picture was taken shortly after he said to me “I love being outside, I could just live out here.”

I think this is a prime example of how kids who spend time with nature, love nature. During the winter I noticed that because of the cold weather it was easier to stay inside. Staying inside usually meant watching T.V. or playing on the iPad.  As the days are now warmer we spend a significant amount of time outside. I see a huge difference in his temperament when we are outside than spending time in front of screens. When he is in front of screens he is more irritable and it almost seems like he is an addict who just can’t get enough.  When he is outside he is so much happier and is more engaged in conversation. I really notice the learning that takes place while being outside through exploring and discovery. 

Developing this connection with the environment through exploring and discovery is something that I really want to take into my classroom. I always felt like this would be a huge challenge but Morgan Bayda’s presentation gave me hope. The Little Green Thumbs garden in their classroom built a community. They are learning the facts about life cycles and what the garden needs to survive but they are also learning sharing, cooperation, patience and responsibility. I think this is an important aspect of teaching environmental education but also building good attributes within children. School has a huge impact on building character in children and I think that environmental education allows children to develop a deeper implantation of good characteristics in themselves. 

In the article by David Sobel I picked this quote “Suffering from the timesickness of trying to do too much too quickly, we infect our children with our impatience.” I think that as a teacher I will struggle with this because there is so much that NEEDS to be taught but when do we move away from this to allow children to be the leaders of their learning? I don’t want to infect children with impatience, I want them to explore and learn on their own terms. I want them to move away from the fast-paced screen play and be directed more towards the relaxation and peacefulness of nature. I want them to use their imagination and experience the outdoors with all of their senses. I want them to love and take care of nature.

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Food Inc. Film Review

 

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Food Inc is a documentary made in 2008 which brings awareness to to consumers about where our food really comes from. It looks at different aspects of large corporations such as food production, working conditions, exploitation of farmers and labelling. It also highlights why corporations are so successful because their food is cheap and accessible. While also outlining that because of this, people are relying on fast food or processed they are developing more health problems.

What really caught my eye about this documentary is the power that large corporations hold. The documentary talked a lot about how food comes from a mass producing corporations now. These large corporations have control and power over farmers in order to keep this status. Many farmers are scared to speak out against these corporations in fear of losing that income from them or suffering criminal charges. These corporations have also dodged many bullets when it comes to inspections and regulations. These companies do not want their secrets out about their methods of food production for a reason. The reasons of inhumane working conditions exploitation and mistreatment of animals.

This documentary has really opened my eyes to food production. I was aware of the treatment of animals to an extent but did not realize how terrible these conditions really were. I was sickened by the images of how these animals are treated by being kept in close quarters and filled with steroids or antibiotics. These factors are concerning in the health of workers as well as consumers. Everything that those animals consume, we are consuming. Something that really disturbed me was because these animals are in close quarters their feces get on each other which then can get in our food. As I watch this documentary I realize how much I didn’t know. What else don’t I know about my food?

Watching this film made me angry. It makes me angry because of the fact that it has come to this point in our world that these large corporations are able to take over like this. Nature has provided us with so many amazing resources and we have slowly moved away from. Not only are we not utilizing our natural resources there are now factories polluting our environment. Not only are we harming the environment but we are also harming ourselves. Health problems have become a result of mass production food products rather than locally based food products.

This documentary coincides with my Action Learning Project because of our loss of connection with food. We no longer know the taste of a real carrot because the carrots we buy in stores are so different than the ones we pick from the ground. I think it is important for everyone to feel a connection with nature and the food that we eat. I want to educate people about how this convenient way of life is interfering with our connection and our health. I hope to pass this information onto the adults in my life and eventually my students. We have the power to change this, even though it may not feel like it. We have the power to choose what we buy and what don’t. We have the power to make healthier choices.

This website gives the latest news on factory farming and food industry. http://www.takepart.com/foodinc

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z9DadeSsGw

Full Movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Oq24hITFTY

Awareness

To be honest, listening to everyone else’s presentations, scared me. There was so much scary information that I had not been exposed to before. Even though it scares me, I think it was important for me to learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, overpopulation problems, melting glaciers, deforestation and loss of connection. All of these presentations have made me aware of the world both near and far. Awareness has been a huge part of my Action Learning process and also listening to everyone else’s has widened my awareness to things I was not interested in before.

My Action learning journey in the last couple of months really opened my eyes to the food that I eat and how much garbage comes from that food. Before starting this project, I never thought of these issues and now every time I go to the grocery store or am eating something, I am thinking of it. It was a difficult task to cut down on plastic bags/saran wrap and even foods with minimal packaging. I really had to think about what my best choice would be and act accordingly. This has really heightened my awareness about food/packaging and how I can make better choices for me and the environment. I came to school one day with my food in saran wrap and I actually felt guilty. I think this shows how awareness becomes internalized and makes us feel guilty or ashamed when we know the consequences of these actions. Now I feel that things like remembering to take my reusable bag to the grocery store or conserving water and energy have turned into everyday habits.

My journal this week I drew a representation of the wheels of awareness turning. The presentations, the class and my own Action Learning has really got these wheels of awareness going. Everywhere that I go now I am thinking about how “I need to shut those lights off,” making sure that I cut down on the time that I shower and watching what I eat. I was driving down Ring Road today and someone in their huge diesel truck was throwing pop cans and wrappers out of the truck. Honestly, before this class I probably wouldn’t have thought much about it, but now it made me so angry to see that. I wish more people cared about the environment and could partake in this journey of awareness. I was really excited to bring awareness to young children at Frontier School and get them involved in this process alongside me. They were so excited to be a part of this and help me with my project. We worked together the parents, teachers and students to make 3 garbage bags turn into 1. I think it is important to have support and a community base that will help in making these small changes into bigger changes. As an educator I will take these issues into the classroom to bring awareness. I also want to get children started early in caring for the environment and in doing the little things like turning off lights and picking up garbage to become a habit in their life.

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What is an Environmentalist?

What is an Environmentalist? Who are Environmentalist? Am I an Environmentalist? These are all questions that I have never considered before. During our discussions in class there was a lot of controversy concerning these questions. I think that there were a lot of people, like me, who have never pondered this question.

I did not consider myself an Environmentalist when I was first asked. I don’t spend my life trying to bring awareness to the world or living off of the land. This was how I defined what being an environmentalist entails. I find that society needs to place people in categories and give them labels in order to make sense of things. It is not always a conscious decision but it still happens. We label an environmentalist as someone who is extreme in their beliefs, people who protest, are hippies, and tree-huggers. I realized that those are the radicals that we usually see in the media and not the true meaning of environmentalism.

After we debunked the label of the stereotypical environmentalist, I decided that I would redefine my idea of environmentalism. I believe that being an environmentalist is being connected to the environment. By practicing stillness and spending time outside we are developing a connection to the environment. I think another aspect of being an environmentalist is having knowledge about the issues concerning environmental health and taking that knowledge to make positive changes. By having that connection and knowledge, we will start caring more about our environment.

Now I consider myself an environmentalist on a journey to becoming eco-literate. I do a lot of driving back to my home town, I use way more water than I need to and should probably recycle more but I am working towards using less. My Action Learning process has really showed me how hard even the little changes can be. I don’t think this means I am not an environmentalist. I love being outdoors, gardening and soaking in the fresh air and I am fascinated by the natural beauties in the world. I am working towards gaining more knowledge and making more changes in my own life. I am connected and that is a good start.

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In the Middle of Things..

When I first started my Creative Journal it was difficult for me in two ways. It was out of my comfort zone because I am not a good artist in any sense. But it was also difficult to take what I was learning to a deeper level. When I look at the world around me I see only good things because of my love for the outdoors. I knew general topics of environmental issues but never knew specifics on why this was happening, to be honest, it scares me to know. I think it was important for me to feel uncomfortable knowing these things because it has really opened my eyes. This has motivated me to learn more and do more positive change in my own life.

Before this class I had never heard of the term “ecoliteracy.” I have talked about it with my family and even practicing teachers and they have no idea what I am talking about. I don’t think it is a term that many people know about and I hope that I can start changing that with my future students. In Capra’s article he talks about not just teaching ecology but going out and experiencing the natural world. The students need to find that connectedness with the world in order to respect it and take care of it. I enjoyed practicing stillness it was a way of connecting with nature on a deeper level. It was a good way to stop stress and the whirlwind of things to do and just relax.

My first journal entry focused around the two sides of the world. The healthy and the unhealthy and how we as humans are in control of that. The health of the world is determined how humans take care of it. I feel that I am discouraged many times when I see how we are not taking care of it. It feels overwhelming to look at what has to be done to repair what has already been broken.

My second journal entry looked at what I thought ecoliteracy was. I look back and I see that I had a very negative standpoint. I looked at the environmental issues like pollution, destruction and invasion. I looked at the animals, plants and diversity that are suffering from these issues. After the ecoliteracy love letter and poem readings I feel like I have a different outlook on what ecoliteracy really is. Ecoliteracy is a spectrum of different ways to be ecoliterate, which one is not more important than the other. Some people talked about recycling and reducing their carbon footprint. Others talked to people who are currently ecoliterate or people in the future that we hope will be ecoliterate. The ones that resonated the most with me were the poems, songs or letters involving the love of nature. I think that ecoliteracy starts with the love of nature, the respect for our environment and connection with it in everyday life.

My third journal entry revolved around the issues that we explored. The diminishing coral reefs, overpopulation, deforestation, melting glaciers and toxic food. The issues involving the food that we eat everyday really got to me. The things that I learned that are put into our food disgust me, like fish DNA in strawberries. This sparked my interest for my action learning project to look at this issues and find everyday solutions to it. I am passionate about this mainly because it is something that directly effects me. This is an opportunity to learn and explore this subject to better myself. I also want to pass this knowledge onto my family, my students and even my community.

It took me several starts on a letter or poem before I liked what I had. I started a few poems with an angry tone but stepped back and realized that isn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to feel hopeful and positive for change in our future. I didn’t want to focus on the negativity, I wanted to feel like I had done my part. So what is “doing my part?” I feel like as an educator that it is my job to teach students ecoliteracy and promote action. I want them to better themselves by bettering the world around them. I hope to influence them on the journey to ecoliteracy.

Ecoliteracy Braid

As I listened to the love letters, poems and songs I realized that everyone had a very unique way to presenting what eco literacy entailed. For my own love letter I wrote it for students or future generations that were eco literate and had started making changes. I wrote it as if they are stood up for the environment to stop the issues that were harming it. When I started doing the assignment I started with an angry poem. But then I realized that I wanted it to be more positive because I think sometimes I get stuck in the negative aspect of environmental education. Ecoliteracy is a positive start to make changes with future generations to start making positive changes.

Many people wrote their letter to someone special in their life or future generations. I think it is important to praise those who are trying to make a change. It is also important to look into the future as if teaching people eco literacy IS making a change. Ecoliteracy is something that will hopefully make everyone look at the present and see that what we are doing now is affecting our future as well as future generations. Jon wrote to his friend who is involved in community living. I thought Matt’s letter to his grandpa was very emotional and was a great way to show ecoliteracy not only for the future but in doing things in our everyday life.

I felt like a commonality between a lot of poems or letters was not to take all the environmental issues and try to change everything all at once. Many people looked at the things that they can do in their own lives and influencing others to make changes as well. I think part of eco literacy is doing our part in our own lives to help the environment.

I really liked the idea of people using poems and songs to express their love for the outdoors and the environment. I think sometimes that eco literacy doesn’t have to mean that you are knowledgeable about it but that you respect, and cherish it. Courtney’s poem about her love of the outdoors really touched me because I also have a love of the outdoors. Willow’s song was inspiring as well. It really made me think of the innocence of children and animals that being outdoors is such freedom. I think as adults we take that for granted and lose that appreciation because of our busy lives. We often forget to stop and appreciate what is right in front of us. You may not know everything about it right now but as you spend time with nature and take care of it, I believe that is the right path to being eco literate. Eco literacy isn’t always looking at the beauty of the world either. We must look at the ugly side of environmental education in order to maintain the beauty. During class we looked at the “Coyote and Raven Talk About the Land/Scapes” (O’Riley & Cole, 2009.) My group looked at the part saying:

“and which way    does birth happen

are we born old   filled with knowledge and experience

and spend our lives filled with ignorance” (O’Riley & Cole, 2009)

That really resonated with me because of how our lives changes from childhood to adulthood. Many would believe that knowledge should give us new perspectives and the true understanding of our surroundings, but that is not always the case. I think ecoliteracy is a complex concept and can entail many different definitions. But I feel like it can be simplified into the respect and love for our environment. Children start off with the love of the environment and we must foster that throughout their life. Fostering respect and the love for the environment is the first step in the right direction.