Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Earth Daze

Yesterday was Earth Day. April 22, 2008. It was the 38th Annual Earth Day, starting in 1970. Even though there has been tons of media coverage on "Going Green", "Global Warming" etc. there was not much mention of it. The school I was "guest teaching" at had no posters or signs or activities that I could detect. Oh, pardon me, at P.E. time I did see two 5th grade classes playing "Cooperative Games". When I went over to inquire if they were "Earth Day Games" they looked at me quizzically and said, "What? Is it Earth Day today? Are these considered Earth Games?"
"Yes," I said, " they are cooperative and not competitive. Several groups of 4 or 5 students each had ropes attached to buckets filled with small plastic balls that they were to transport, without spilling to a bin. Other groups had ropes attached to beams for four students to stand and walk with using only the ropes to shuffle along. It was quite amusing to see the frustration and lack of cooperation they had.

When I mentioned it in the staff room at lunch time I got the same response. i.e. no knowledge and little care. One teacher thought they should plant a tree and one suggested they do it in combo with May 5th, "Cinco de Mayo". Gone are the days, I guess, when it was a big unit of interest and fun at the elementary level. In my experience, and I remember the first Earth Days, it was something to do and look forward to for fun activities, field trips etc. I was at a school that had an owl for a mascot so "Give a hoot, don't pollute." (Hootie, the owl with glasses) really meant something to us. A few years later I had a class who wanted to do a school project to recycle. We entered our efforts in the KCET Contest and won. The presentation was on TV from the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens. We devised a daily system for recyling the styrofoam lunch trays all schools used at that time. The company our district bought them from agreed to take them back in the original bags after use if they were cleaned off. We had daily rotated kids who volunteered to do that job from the trash cans with a hose. It got messy and they loved it...for awhile. It got the district to thinking about recyling other things too. Now I notice that most schools have a big jar of soda pop can top rings they are collecting.

When I asked the kids, yesterday what they did to "help the earth" I got some interesting responses and some non-responses. Some didn't know what I was talking about. I guess they were too busy at school practicing for all the state tests. A few mentioned grocery bags and newsprint/paper recycling. That was about it. They love to "Mind each other's business" and tattle etc. How about minding the business of our earth and it's ecology? How about seeking out the positive instead of the negative about each other and our small planet? How about taking an example from our flowers? A haiku? RRR

Phototropic blooms

Turn toward light naturally

Conserving their joy!

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