So now its the end :(

Attached to this blog post is my youtube video that compliments this final blog post for ESCI 302.. (big sad face btw)

Throughout my Journey of Environmental Education 302 I have found myself shift a little. Prior to the class I had a little amount of knowledge regarding climate change, and my own personal connection with the environment. I simply was a person in that space in time that had very little connection with his surroundings. However as the course took over my life I became invested in the idea of my impact. I watched documentaries such as Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, and No Impact Man, these documentaries not only brought better understanding to my life, but made me want to change.

As the semester progressed I found myself donating a majority of my clothes, and focus on having as little and buy minimal amounts of clothing. This not only supported my mental health considering I have OCD, but it helped the environment in the sense that I did not consume a piece of clothing. I became more aware of what things are made of after we spoke with Brenda; I became more conscious of what was on the ingredients list. I understand what I am doing to the environment and I am on the consistent climb to change my actions in order to help support the fight for the planets survival.

Through the embodiment project, and inquiry project I found a better sense of my personal impact, and how I can impact students. I am grateful to be exposed to inquiry education (something that I did not know was a thing before this class), and projects such as the embodiment project. Due to these aspects I am slowly growing into the teacher I hope I am going to be; an understanding teacher with supportive project-based learning.

Overall I have a better sense of understanding in the space around me as I explained in my video. I didn’t give any audio in the video to put emphasis on the space in which I was walking. I was able to walk within nature, and the city and understand that there once used to be “open land”. Where there is concrete there used to be field, where there are trees there used to be many. Like I said in the video we can’t all snap our fingers and jump into a mode of climate change disruption; However, we can slowly move towards that point. The first step towards disrupting climate change is acknowledge your own personal impact. With that knowledge you can change yourself, and considering we are all going to be presenting our knowledge to the future generations, we can transfer our understanding into our students.

There was a word I was I looking for: Poststructuralism

IMG_5163.jpgIt is quite clear through taking ESCI 302 that I have a high inclination to use inquiry based learning when I become an educator myself. M.J Barrett says it perfectly in the Making (Some) Sense of Feminist Poststructuralism in Environmental Education Research and Practice reading. When I first starting reading this paper (despite it being when I first woke up) I didn’t really understand what poststructuralism meant. I don’t know if it was again because I just woke up or I was just skimming through the first little bit but it wasn’t until her “Discourse” area where it finally popped out to me; poststructuralism is the whole idea of disrupting the current way of learning. “ones that led me to see myself as an instructor who works to develop a ‘sense of wonder’ in my students within poststructuralism” pretty much speaks for how I have envisioned my classroom since day one. I have never been the strongest suited for school, and that was all of my life; I actually didn’t start getting “decent” marks until first year of University which makes no sense. However, with this never having good marks mentality I never enjoyed school for many reasons, but one of the main reasons (besides marks) was that it was boring! You sit in a desk all day in a fluorescent flavoured room with motivation posters on top of a bland white canvas. You sit there all day long as the teacher drills things (they were things to me) into your head; was the vision of school except for grade 7 and 8 where it became more lenient. Once I got the university I then realized why school was like this and it was the whole idea of westernized learning/assembly line learning.

Conformity is drilled into our heads into our lives in this day and age; you have to have specific characteristics in order to be considered attractive, you have to score high on a test because if this happens we know you are smart, you have to sit in rows so that you cannot form relationships with classmates. However I have always had this vision of an open concept classroom, one where the educator is merely the conductor of the train, but the students are the ones adding fuel to the fire. When looking at the portions of my life that I seem most successful in are moments where I had learned the trait on my own. I have such a strong imagination because my parents were never home because they worked 12 hour days everyday, so I improvised; I am decent at guitar because I taught myself in a way; I feel as if I have good people skills because parents were never there to help me solve my problems.

Overall I enjoy this idea of allowing students to go through school understanding that without them school is nothing, thus it should be student centric, not teacher and board. In my opinion (which could be wrong, IDK yet considered I’m not a teacher yet) school should be around the idea of the Journey, not the end result. Not every student learns at the same rate (I never understood the concept of your, and you’re until grade 10), and some will learn different aspects during different points of their life. School should be based around their current journey, and guiding them on that journey apposed to fitting a norm.

Our world kind of sucks

I wanted to take the time before I start my reflection of The Paris Agreement to mention the picture I have posted above. With the rise of the weather comes the rise of the litter and garbage that has assembled over the winter within my area. This is the second summer I have spent at the house we currently call home, and when the dam near by starts flowing generally the only revolting thing it pushes out is the disgusting “lake” water found behind our house but these year another factor has made its way in the damn, garbage. Normally the smell of the rushing water in the dam is enough to keep people away from it but now it just become more disgusting due to the pollution in the water where you can see plastic, and styrofoam cups everywhere.
This is where I refer to The Paris Agreement because I am downright disgusted knowing that the government is somewhat making an effort to help with pollution and climate change but that still does not stop people from littering. The sad thing about our current society is such as the first nations way of living (preparing for the future 7 generations) our generation only cares about the now, and ourselves. Rather then taking the time to find a garbage can to throw away a Tims cup, some people just throw them out of the window because that’s quicker and painless for them. I can’t speak as if I have never done such things before but I am becoming more aware of my impact on the environment and this is what pushes me towards changing my habits.

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I want to refer to when we were ice fishing this season and I had a friend who would burn his styrofoam plates when he was done eating. I said to him “You idiot that’s bad for the environment” and he simply said “So?”. This is the problem the current generations have is that they do not know how their actions are impacting the environment. I have another friend who drives his truck around as a daily driver because he wants to show off, when simply having a smaller car would get the same job done with less impact. I think my duty as a teacher is to educate the next generations on their impacts on the environment. We live in a society where no matter what we do we will have an impact on the environment; even if we all drove electric cars, we still need to make roads to drive the cars on. What I want to focus on as an educator is minimizing the amount of impact one can have on the environment. It is unrealistic at this point to have a no-impact life because that is just the world we live in. However, we can work our way towards limiting our impact to make room for a more sustainable life.

In the middle of things!

My embodiment Journey through Environmental Education has been full of surprises considering the short amount of time that has been covered. Despite not fully committing to the whole “save the planet” party, I am becoming more and more aware of my impact and that has allowed me to diminish some of my selfish ways. Through my Journey with the Embodiment group that I have been placed in I am noticing great things that are happening in my life; one of which is having a more connectedness with my food! I am finding common themes in my blog posts such as my whiner traits coming out more than ever; I am finding common themes and slowly developing my environmental philosophy that I not only will incorporate as an educator, but mend into my every day life. I am also starting to form an understanding on why we need to change rather then how we can change. Overall I am slowly starting to turn into the cliche hippy (trying to be funny but secretly serious).
First off when looking at my embodiment journey, what better way to look at my connections to the course other than the blog posts? One of the many things I am noticing when it comes to my blogging is that I am very quick to jump the gun but never really explain myself. In my second commonplace blog I stated “Sure there ended up being ‘a’ form of vegetation on Earth in WALL-E when it is clear that the whole planet is seemingly dead but is there any way of truly knowing if we have completely killed our planet?” and this is a perfect example of me jumping the gun but not giving an answer to why I did that. As one can tell Brayden asked a question that he did not have an answer for or did not know what to do with. I found a couple more scenarios that this in my blogging but what I realized that I need to start doing is making sense, and answering my questioning/whining. Through my years in education I have been faced with many hardships and social issues that are kind of important (actually pretty important) such as feminism, equality and racism; however, whining and complaining that something is wrong can only go so far before one says, “Okay, now do something about it”. The problem with me is that I want to be able to have an answer to the statement “Do something about it” but I don’t at this point in my life. This is why in the future I want to focus more on leaving my whining out of my blogging unless I have a “plan” or an answer to how I am going to change to help the cause.
I also found that my very first post was centred around the connection I had with the earth physically (eating food, and breathing could be considered physical but this post was my physical body) and I have yet to explore that portion since and I’m curious to as why I haven’t. I think my first post had an intimate theme to it because snowboarding is something I love; I truly want to be in the mountains every second of my life but realizing that my grandchildren and future generations might not be able to experience the outdoors as I have is what scares me. I connected my physical body to the Earth in the sense that I am one of the contributions to the problem.
Overall, I have a sense that I am becoming more accepting, and willingly person when it comes to changing regarding climate change. I want to eat foods that not only cause as little harm to animals as possible, but have as little impact on the environment as possible. I want to understand the chemicals that I may be ingesting because that is simply how we preserve. I want to do all of these things because of my connection to the land, and the fact that this is my home and I am not going anywhere anytime soon. I want future generations to have the luxury of snowboarding, I want there to be a cheap way to travel the world without burning fossil fuels and destroying the world we live in. There are so many things I want to do to change, but also so many things in general that I want to do that have an effect on the environment. I don’t think the goal of Embodiment is understanding, I believe the end goal of this word is actually doing something to help.

Where the “Wild” things are

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When I think about the word “Wilderness” I still envision human’s amongst the beauty because we are still are a part of nature, and wilderness. Regardless of religious or scientific belief, there is no doubting that humans have been on this earth for a very long time. I believe that humans are still a part of nature, and the wilderness because we live in it, it’s just as civilization as increased so has our ability to manipulate our surroundings to fit our needs (first starting with survival and eventually consumerism). Human life tens of thousands of years ago would be much different as what we know as life today but the point I am making is the fact that we did not come here, we are from here. So it’s near impossible (for me) to imagine a place that has been “untouched” by humans because we have always been here, and this is our home.

However that being said, our society has had such a change of pace in regards to consumerism, and industrialization given the rise of oil, and other non-renewable resources. Sure, humans are a part of nature but the way we are re-configuring the Earth is not. Regardless of belief, I don’t believe oil was meant to come out of the ground, or anything for that matter. Even when looking at the First Nations philosophy involving the ground; must give in order to take. We were not meant to bring stuff out of the ground, burn it for energy and have the bi-products of that reaction have an effect on our surrounding.

Impacting Wilderness

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The theme for the second creative journal post was along the lines of how we impact wilderness. With all this hype over climate change and the rise in greenhouse gases there is this lovely image that pops into my mind, what the earth looks in the Pixar movie WALL-E, just complete death. I don’t think the whole idea of WALL-E was too off the charts to be completely honest! Yeah having garbage piles the size of skyscrapers may be a little radical but the whole idea of Earth just being a dead ball isn’t far from what humanities distant future may look like.

On Mondays class we were presented with this idea of what wilderness is, In my opinion wilderness is still everywhere it’s just humans are covering it. In the Canoe pedagogy it is stated that “Wilderness and nature are often represented in dominant discourse as spaces of leisure, as places to unwind or, alternatively, wind up for an expedition.” and I somewhat disagree because I believe that wilderness is still the land around us, it’s just that our current society is changing the land. At the end of the day the land we call home is still part of nature, its just european settlers have changed the chemistry of the land to their liking. I try to represent this in my drawing by showing that there is this beautiful landscape past the smog, and death that is our current society. The reason I related WALL-E into this blog post is because how long is it going to take until all of the “untouched” natural beauty landscapes are affected by our current way of life?

When I was in elementary school my grade 8 teacher always told me “if humans were just to disappear from the earth, everything would go back to normal within 2 years” or something a long the lines of that and I am curious with that statement. Is there a point where we have caused so much damage as a society that the Earth is no longer deemed repairable? Sure there ended up being ‘a’ form of vegetation on Earth in WALL-E when it is clear that the whole planet is seemingly dead but is there any way of truly knowing if we have completely killed our planet?

To be Eco-literate

When looking at a majority of the Eco-literacy poems/love letters I saw a common theme of “what I love about the environment” which is in no way a bad thing. However, the way I view Eco-literacy is not “what you love about the environment” but “what you do for the environment”. Many of the poems also shared this theme of “what I do for the environment” but two poem’s/love letter’s spoke out to me, Mckaila and Harper’s. Both of them had a straight forward approach where Mckailas was talking about what she does for the environment, and why its important, and Harper’s was mainly bashing “Before the Flood” for having a butterflies and rainbows theme even though the film contradicted itself. I had similar opinions with “Before the Flood” because the whole point of the film was to spread awareness, but Leonardo DiCaprio was contradicting himself by flying all around the world in a private jet, having crew wearing a Canada Goose jacket.

“Project-based learning not only provides students with important experiences—co-operation, mentorship, integration of various intelligences—but also makes for better learning.” I chose this quote from the Capra reading to represent my feelings because I feel as if Eco-literacy is being hands on. I feel like if you’re going to be Eco-literate, you will make it a part of your life style instead of stating how you’re going to change. As I stated before in my poem post was that I felt bad because of how small my poem was but I was trying to make a point. The point I was getting across was that rather then putting so much emphasis about what I want to change about myself in order to become Eco-literate, I would rather be blunt and state the facts that humans need to change in order for there to be beauty in this world. Which is why I took a pledge to become a minimalist (I actually donated more than half of my wardrobe just so I could get rid of clothes I wasn’t wearing). To be Eco-literate is to actually do the things you pledge to do which is why I reach out to everyone saying that go ahead and recycle, use less water, or produce less garbage! You’re only helping the Earth.

Haiku’s can be meaningful!

So since Mac’s are act stupid sometimes, I am going to transfer my beautiful piece of art to this post!

“Beautiful desert sky,
lit underneath the star light,
where no light will shine”

I felt bad because I feel as if I did not put as much effort into my poem as others may have (because of the content) which is why I wanted to explain myself a bit more. What I am getting at through this poem is that it is not humans that make the earth beautiful. Take the desert for instance, one of the more hostile places in the world; scorching hot during the day, freezing at night and no vegetation for any life. Yet at night since there is no light pollution what so ever you can find the clearest, most star-filled skies in the world. It is not humans that make the world beautiful, the earth is already beautiful, we just need to respect it as it is.

Where I wish I could be all the time.

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So here I have you a tubaware container of snow, my reminder of my past experiences in the mountains. This weeks theme of creative journals was “storying the environment” and this is my interpretation of the story of the environment.

The reason I have decided to scoop up snow to show my interpretation of the creative journal theme is because I truly want to take nature with me everywhere. I have a strong bond with the mountains, specifically snowboarding in the mountains; for the most part whenever I day dream it is most likely about snowboarding. Given it is ironic that a saskatchewan dreams of the mountains this is the way I believe I take the mountains with me everyday I go. The snow in container eventually melts which symbolizes me physically not being in the mountains; However I am in the mountains every day in spirit because I know the snow does not melt in the mountains/

William Hammond states in The Creative Journal: A power tool of learning that “The environmental education (EE) journal is consistent with brain research which has shown us that drawing and writing something we have just experienced fixes that experience in long-term memory and stimulates relational thought”. This statement I strongly believe in because there needs to be a physical connection when learning about the outdoors. How else am I supposed to take the experience of the mountains with me without making a physical connection? When I scoop up the snow I am wishing I am scooping up the snow in  the mountains which gives that physical connection to the outdoors.

I believe that there is a general connection made when someone can translate their feelings into a physical piece. Some people for their creative journals made drawings, I scooped up snow and explained why that makes me feel connected to the outdoors. I feel in order for a memory to become concrete in someones mind that it needs to have a physical connection just as writing down a word a million times as a student will help the student remember that word. We need to make that physical connection more in order to get a better understanding of the world around us.

So This Is What I Learnt!

So through out ECMP355 I learned many things. I learned how extremely easy it is to create a network using social media forms such as twitter due to the saskedchat. I also found applications that could be used to bring the classroom together digitally such as twitter, and google+community (maybe even Facebook).

As I have stated before, prior to ecmp355 I hated social media more than anything because it only appealed to me as a method to party details, and a whack load of drama. I also knew of the Amanda Todd story (but not that much) and I honestly thought the reason this tragedy had happened was because of social media sense another reason why I hated it. However, when Amanda’s mother Carole was a guest speaker for our class I realized the positives that came out of this case (every cloud has a silver lining). Sadly enough because of the death of Amanda Todd (and many others I assume) we as educators can prepare students for the darkness that comes with the internet rather than completely avoid it as a whole. Myself as an educator will be able to prepare students for the side of social media that I so rightfully hate, and in a way hopefully avoid another death due to the digital world. This I feel like is what I can take most from this class is the fact that I have a reason as a future educator to familiarize myself with social media and the internet in order to prepare my students as well.

Overall, I found the class very intriguing and I experienced a very personal growth of my own which was actually having a presence online for once. I leave you with a little children’s book style story using StoryBird that summarizes my whole experience of ecmp355.