Welcome back to school, and back to Ed to Save the World! Although January marks the midpoint of most educators’ calendars, it’s nice to have an opportunity to regroup, refresh, and start anew as 2015 begins.
As for Ed to Save the World, we’re jumping back into the swing of things with renewed energy and hope after a very productive summit in New York City last month. It is rare that we get to meet in person since we’re spread across the country so this was a real treat. It reminded me that no matter how well technology keeps us connected, we still need face-to-face time to collaborate well.
This week we’re focusing on the 5th stage of our framework: students as world changers. This coincides perfectly with the spirit of the new year, which often involves setting goals and holding on to resolutions as long as we can. If you haven’t done so already, consider setting some personal and professional goals related to how you can change the world and then sharing those with your colleagues, students, and friends. As we contemplate the ultimate goal of education (in our eyes, at least) — creating a more just, healthy, and sustainable world — it’s good to make sure we’re doing the best we can to make the better world we envision a reality. Challenge yourself, your staff, your students to do at least ONE thing this year related to justice, health, and sustainability.
Here are a few simple yet powerful world-saving resolutions to consider:
1) Waste less food. Did you know that our landfills are made up of more food than either plastic or paper? This shocked me, partly because I have seen the massive piles of paper that end up in the trash at school. We waste more food than that?Yikes! Check out this broadcast from NPR. I think I’ll make the simple resolution of cooking more mindfully and eating what’s on my plate.
2) Replace driving with walking. This one both boosts your health and reduces pollution and energy consumption! The new rule is, if it’s under a mile, use your feet not your car (or bus or train). Here’s an interesting article with some more tangible evidence of the benefits. Running out for lunch? Choose a closer option and walk. Running multiple errands? Park the car in one spot and walk between locations rather than driving to each one separately. When you stop to think about it, there are dozens of little moments each week when we could opt for the healthier, more sustainable transportation option.
3) Consume smarter. We can support justice and sustainability by choosing to buy products from vendors who use environmentally friendly practices and support economic and social justice. You can download a variety of apps to check up on your favorite stores and companies, or evaluate ones you haven’t heard of before. Check some of them out here.
Let us know what you decide to start, stop, and keep doing in the new year!