Sunday, May 10, 2009


I just got involved in EcoSchools this year. I've always been environmentally minded, but typically it puts people off, and I keep it to myself. The EcoSchool initiative has provided me with an outlet to discuss environmental issues in staff meetings and the staff room as well as my usual forum: the classroom. And right this minute around the world there seems to be a window opening to allow eco-consciousness to flourish with fewer eye-rolls as a response.

Through EcoSchools our OneEarth club has managed to decrease waste and energy use in our school, but not without some pitfalls and barriers and much debate along the way. This blog is a means for secondary school teachers and students to discuss these types of issues, share what has worked well and great ideas, and get help, support or sympathy when we hit a wall of resistance. The more we share, the more ideas we can all use in this project to save the earth. (Well, the earth will be fine, it's us we need to save.) Don't hesitate to point out errors in my arguments or information. It's only those who do nothing that don't make mistakes.

I'm putting the focus here on high schools because I can find many many ideas for the primary kids, but they don't always translate to older students. How many teens would get excited about giving their teachers a ticket for forgetting to turn something off? And who's paying attention to what's in their lunchboxes? We need a place for ideas for secondary schools specifically.

Introduce yourself and add your own story to the comments! If you have a full post you'd like to add, an idea, a complex problem, a quick question, a book/movie review or synopsis, or an environmental lesson plan, just e-mail me (, and I'll post it with your name (or anon if you prefer) as "Guest Poster". Make sure to cite any information in your entry (link it to an on-line site preferably).

Now it's going to say "below the fold" as if there's more information coming, but there's not. I don't know how to individually disable that in a shorter post. Just ignore it for this one. I'll figure this all out in due time!


Cameron said...

Your post on Aberfoyle Water was very interesting.

I have been a community member for about 10 years now, I am a Social Service Worker just recently graduated from College and preparing for my Bachelor in Social Work this September.

I have found that in discussions with friends; family; and clients; that it is, as is said in the cove, from the passion of individuals comes social change.

Although, when viewing things from a Conflict perspective, there will always be inequality, and as my brother tells me, I am just tape on a leaking bucket.

So where am I going with this? I suppose the hardest thing to say is that in our lifetime Social Change is something that is rarely seen and slow moving... and in my profession I am more like a band aid, there to ease the pain and help with recovery.

Cameron G.

Marie said...

Thanks for commenting, Cameron!

On the rate of social change: In my own medium sized lifetime, I've seen us shift from wanting to exile "the gays" to keep us safe from AIDS to legalizing gay marriage. I thank Ellen DeGeneres for the first same-sexed kiss on TV. When I was in high-school, racial slurs were a part of the common vernacular. Now they're met with shock and repulsion by most people, some of whom learned to associate the racism of Archie Bunker with sheer ignorance. Eenee, meenee, minee, mo now ends with a tiger being caught. All we need is environmentalism to become a sub-plot of some very funny, hit sit-com!

It's often baby steps, and often two steps forward, one step back, but change is happening all around us. A great book for your brother (and you) to read is The Geography of Hope which documents a few of the many environmental successes - permanent changes - around the world. And it's a thick book.

Activism is more than plugging a hole (or drilling a new well to take pressure off a disaster), but a way to make the bucket no longer so necessary to our survival. There are many examples where a few people are doing a lot of work to try to convince leaders to change policies, and to no avail, so it can sometimes feel like we're just spinning our wheels here. But there are also examples of people who have worked for change and had a profound effect. And it may be just a matter of time for the others to have an effect also. It's not about fixing a leaking bucket, but reminding people of that older model, one that was more durable, more sustainable, and less likely to self-destruct.