Tag Archives: environment

Celebrate World Oceans Day

June 8th is World Oceans Day, watch the video below and revel in the awesome beauty and power of our world seas.

Yet, all is not well.  It is easy to recognize environmental crises on our soil, i.e. toxic waste, harvest practices, and many others.  But the health of our oceans is not so evident, not in our face, like other issues.  Even for those of us who live on the coast, we look out upon an ocean that never seems to change.  But the changes are coming, and fast.

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Nine Problems Destroying Our Oceans (Photos)

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BEYOND TABLET, T.V. AND i-PHONE

Recently I’ve been reading, Uprising For The Earth, by Osprey Orielle Lake.  This is a wonderfully inspiring book, with a subtitle:  Reconnecting Culture With Nature.  It’s not so easy these days, as the two have grown apart.

I am fortunate to live on the Pacific North Coast of California, surrounded by rivers, ocean and woods, where my children were also raised.  Frequently though, I think about the issues that Lake brings up in these quotes:

“What happens to us, TO OUR CHILDREN, in our urban centers when we experience primarily the smells of industry, smog, petroleum and chemicals?  What happens to our native ears when left only with the sounds of cars, telephones, freeways and mechanization?  What happens when our hands and eyes rest only upon human made things?…….Our human experience is dependent upon what influences our daily lives, and we are only beginning to take into account the consequences of depriving our children of direct communion with  the Earth, and all the plant life and creatures.”

 Uprising For The Earth

I know that we can’t all run from our lives in the cities, and it’s no longer just our locale that keeps kids indoors.  City dwellers, or country folk, I would love to hear about your plans to compete this summer with your child/grandchild’s electronic tablet, i-Phone, and television.  Thank you in advance for sharing on “comments.”

KIDS AND EARTH DAY

Cool sites to cruise with your grandchildren, then GET THEM OUTSIDE!  The grandchildren are so attached to their electronic devices these days, that we may need to start with a really cool site that gets their attention.  I believe the ones below do an incredible job of sparking an interest to GO OUTSIDE.  As always, you will love the time together.  ENJOY!

Exploring Sharks Family Tour

BIODIVERSITY  American Museum of Natural History

The Green Squad
THE GREEN SQUAD  Kids taking action for greener, healthier schools.

Field Trip Earth
FIELD TRIP EARTH   Travel the world with your web browser – use the airplane cursor


EARTH RANGERS  Kids taking action to help protect wildlife.


JOURNEY NORTH  View migratory animals and report sightings from the field.

FIRST, YOU HAVE TO KNOW – READ ABOUT IT

“What is the use of a house, if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
Henry David Thoreau

Here it comes again – EARTH DAY, April 22, 2012!  You can search the web these days, and fortunately find myriad ways to celebrate our earth on this date, and just as many opportunities to become involved.  Unless we’ve been in a cave over the past few years, we are becoming increasingly aware of the basics; i.e. recycling, water conservation, energy conservation, and so on.  But, I’m not sure that many of us are aware of the environmental science (now don’t let your eyes glaze over) behind the behavioral changes that we are asked to think about on Earth Day.  Don’t just take someone’s word for it, when they talk about global warming, water shortages, potential famine, etc. read what scientist have discovered.

I follow a couple of sites that I find informative and easy to access.  In other words, easier for most of us (the non-scientists among us) to comprehend.  Listed below:
Science News  Magazine Of The Society For Science & The Public.

Environmental News Network

Environmental Health News

There are myriad others, of course, but these are a few of my favorites, and a good place to start.

Just a little fact of interest:  I was surprised to discover that Earth Day 2012 will be the 42nd anniversary.

AVOID NATURE DEFICIT SYNDROME

The term “nature deficit” was first used by the author, Richard Louv, in his book Last Child In The Woods.  It was a startling work that brought attention to the separation of children from nature that is occurring in our society.  There are myriad  reasons for this separation; the most obvious, of course, is the age of electronics.  We will not, nor should we in my opinion, be able to stop our grandchildren from using their computers, Ipads, smart phones, etc. etc.  It is part of their age, as clearly as the telephone and television was for ours.  There is, however, a significant difference, and side effects that are troubling.  In one generation the lure of the outdoors is in danger of being replaced by electronics.

Recently, I’ve read numerous articles by, and listened to several interviews with psychologists who are concerned with the simple activity of outside play disappearing.  The worries range from a loss of imagination, to lack of ability to interact.  It is through outdoor play, these experts acknowledge, that children develop an enormous range of abilities, i.e. sharing ideas with playmates, tests of their physical limits, cooperation, coordination, and myriad other attributes. And, they adopt these skills out of the range of adult supervision, which grows their confidence.

In the role of grandparent, most of us are not in a position to decide and set limits on use of electronic devices.  We can, however, use the hours, days, weeks – whatever time we have with our grandkids to expose them to the outdoors.  I believe that every opportunity to get them outside is important.  Ours are babies, yet, but my husband and I have already determined that grandparent time will involve numerous outdoor activities where electronics will be excluded.

It used to be so easy.  My kids couldn’t wait to head out into the woods after school, but now the woods, even the backyard, is competing with cyberspace. Nevertheless, we can stay ahead of it.  We just need to use the resources available.  I’m guessing that in most communities across America, you can find out about outdoor activities in your neighborhood.  Pick up a newspaper, our town has a community events paper, or go ahead – use the electronics, check online 🙂   If you have a park, a lake, a beach, or a wildlife refuge near you, take advantage of these outdoor spaces, and watch for activities they may have planned.

I have to acknowledge that in the midst of this electronic age, the number and variety of outdoor activities in my hometown has grown proportionately over the past twenty years.  If you do a little research, I’m sure you will find fairs and festivals, athletic events, farmers’ markets.  Take the kids with you to the farmers’ market, and help them discover where food comes from.  If you are planting a vegetable garden this spring, get your grandchildren involved. They will love it. Even our next door teenagers are getting involved in ours.  The earliest memories from my childhood are from pleasant participation in outdoor activities with adults.  I’m sure that many of you can say the same.

Of course there was more time for everything in the days when we were growing up, and this is where we can make a difference.  Some of us are still working, but even so we do not have the time constraints that are involved in parenting a modern family in today’s world.  We can get those kids outside!

Richard Louv and others who study this indoor phenomenon are concerned about the consequences of young children spending the majority of their time inside.  This cloistering  away from nature, perpetuates an already growing perception in our culture that nature is something “out there” as opposed to the reality that humans are part of nature. The greatest threat that I perceive is the possibility that we could lack a sufficient number of adults, in the coming years, who care about our natural environments, and are willing to save those spaces for generations into the future.

Below I’ve listed a few websites that may help you get those grandkids outside. And remember, the little ones are going to enjoy doing anything with you.  The older kids, that’s more of a challenge, but how about just taking a walk (in a natural environment) with your teenager, and letting them talk.  They have a lot on their minds.

The Journey North  Excellent site!  I’m especially attracted to this one, because it involves the web and the outdoors.  This is a wildlife migration site, where children make outdoor observations then report them online, and connect with lots of other kids.

Ten Great Backyard Activities  Remember freeze tag?  It’s still fun!

A Treasure Hunt With GPS  Hey, it’s the modern age 🙂  This one could be fun with the “tween” age.

Classic Kids Outdoor Games  Great traditional fun.

Best wishes for getting your grandchildren outside and encouraging them to adopt an appreciation for nature.

WE’RE BOOMER GRANDPARENTS – SO WHAT’S NEXT?

Would you look at us now – we’re Baby Boomer GRANDPARENTS!  When did that happen?  If you’ve looked in the mirror lately or felt those aches and pains, after a stint in the garden, you’re one of us.  My final awakening was the birth of two beautiful babies in the past six months.  A grandson and a granddaughter, three months apart, and I’m in love.  Yes, it was a wake up call that I’ve passed middle age, whatever that was, and entered the last age set of my life.  But, it also jarred my senses to what is happening around me, and the fact that we have twenty, maybe thirty years, if you’re one of the younger Boomers, to make a difference, to affect change.

What change am I talking about – saving the earth, folks!  That’s right, those words have become a cliche, but it’s not a joke.  The state of our environment is real, and deteriorating every day!  I could wax on for hours with the details, but if you ever pick up a newspaper or watch the news you know what’s happening.  We’re in trouble!  Ignoring these problems over the past years didn’t make them go away.

Look at those grandchildren, look into their innocent eyes, and hold those soft little bodies and tell me that you think we can let this go on.  We’re the Boomers, start thinking about what we changed in the 60’s and the list is phenomenal.  We’re still here, and the earth needs us, or more clearly to the point, our grandchildren and great grandchildren and their descendants need us.  Let’s create a movement, we’ve done it before!

My purpose in starting this blog, is to rally us, to review books and websites, and make connections.  Social networking is our greatest tool these days – it started a revolution in the Middle East, for pete sakes.  I know the topic is hugely broad, but let’s just start talking and see where it takes us.  We each need to know what you know, so contribute, and let’s get moving.  If you ever doubt that we need to do this, look into the eyes of your grandchildren, and imagine looking into the eyes of their grandchildren, and trying to explain why we didn’t take action!