Education for Sustainability has multiple, positive effects on student achievement, school culture, community vitality, and ecological integrity. Young people experience a greater awareness of community and a greater appreciation of the democratic process, and teachers respond confidently and with an improved outlook. EfS contributes to improved relationships between the schools, parents and the community, and neighborhoods benefit from improved air quality, reduced waste, and decreased energy use.
The Cloud Institute’s Schools Learn program is a long-term and comprehensive approach to developing whole school capacity to educate for sustainability. We support efforts to embed EfS into curriculum, instruction and assessment, and organizational learning practices, while working in partnership with the community. Schools Learn programming will generally include: Introduction to Education for Sustainability, Administrative Planning and Coaching, Professional Development and Curriculum Coaching for Instructors and Formal Strength Assessments.
How can Education for Sustainability (EfS) increase student health and academic achievement? How can EfS help to retain the best and brightest young teachers? How can EfS stimulate and sustain school and community improvement? These are just a few of the questions that we will answer together.
Learn more and schedule a consultation or workshop HERE.]]>
I don’t know what a bitcoin is.
I know how bitcoin is described in the media, that it is called a crypto-currency, that the Japanese programmer who created it is shrouded in secrecy, that it has been used by drug dealers, that venture capitalists are pouring billions of dollars into “mining” it, that websites feature pictures of virtual gold coins with “B” on it, that in a few urban spots there are BTMs, as in, Bitcoin Teller Machines, that it was created as a radical alternative to central banks’ fiat currency, I know all this but I if you ask me do I really know what bitcoin is, I’d have to say, not really.
Which makes me reflect upon so many other things in the “I Know That Department,” but which, were I to slow down long enough for full reflection, I’d realize I don’t really Know That After All.
I don’t know why the Gaussian copula formula morphed so wildly into an entire derivatives industry, almost pulling down the entire global economy.
I don’t know why the derivatives market is larger now, hundreds of trillions of dollars larger, than it was prior to the Great Recession.
I don’t know if GMOs are the derivatives of agriculture.
I don’t know why in the world I need to wonder about the desirability of roads full of driverless Google cars.
I don’t know whether the first human settlement on Mars will be American, Chinese, Russian or vegan.
I don’t know how much my financial security depends upon the next hundred million Chinese car buyers.
I don’t know why I can’t get the idea of hitting Vladimir Putin over the head with a bunch of heirloom beets out of my head.
I don’t know how many times the word beet occurs in Jitterbug Perfume, but I probably could if I cared to.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get the golden beet stains out of my bamboo cutting board.
But I do know who to thank for one of the most playful opening lines a novel ever had, “The beet is the most intense of vegetables.” Thank you, Tom Robbins.
And I do know I want my beets to be as fresh, as free of petrochemicals and as nutrient dense as possible, grown in healthy soil, rich in organic matter and home to happy earthworms and all manner (as in billions and trillions) of microorganisms, most of which still haven’t even been named.
And I do know I want my community to be home to a a healthy population of small and mid-size diversified organic farms and all the small food enterprises that process and distribute their food, creating a vital foundation for a healthy, resilient local economy: fruit and vegetable growers, pasture based livestock operations, seed savers, compost makers, niche organic brands, coops, CSAs, farm to table restaurants, farmers’ markets, dairies, cheese makers, slaughterhouses, artisan bread bakers, school gardens, urban gardens and more.
So, with just a few moments of reflection, it has not been all that hard for me to look beyond the abstract, distant, speculation-riddled, financial razzmatazz of bitcoin and turn my attention to BEETCOIN—a new way for folks to chip in $25 or more, vote for a small, local and/or organic food entrepreneur, and bring some of our money back down to earth.
It’s beets without the stains on your cutting board. It’s a new kind of soil-centered, local-food-nurturing, pay-it-forward-enabling crowd funding. It’s as much fun as you can have without going to a Slow Money meeting.
Oh, and let’s not forget those eight Colorado food and farming entrepreneurs, from Ft. Collins to Boulder to Denver to Alamosa to Carbondale who are virtually egging you on, right now, for the month of October: BUY BEETCOIN!]]>
“Without the volunteers, I would never be able to collect this many samples in such a short amount of time,” said ASC microplastics lead researcher Abby Barrows. “[This project] will greatly accelerate our knowledge of microplastic pollution in the Gallatin Watershed.”
Volunteers will revisit in December, March and June, experiencing the river and its tributaries in different water levels and seasons. This research will offer a look into the headwaters of the largest river system of the United States, allowing us to act locally to reduce microplastic pollution, while thinking globally.
The Poet’s Secret follows a young lit student who, questioning eternal love, ventures off to an exotic island to confront a reclusive, suicidal poet who may hold that secret and much more. The original manuscript of the novel was selected a Golden Heart® Finalist in romantic suspense by the Romance Writers of America. The prose and poetry within the novel are replete with aquatic imagery and subtle conservation themes. In addition, the novel pays homage to the “slow movement” via the arc of its main character’s quest.
This is no surprise given the novel’s unique backstory. Years ago, I shut down a successful California law practice to take a three year sabbatical to write, surf and travel around the globe. Thus, the tale that became The Poet’s Secret was conceived in a hovel perched atop a one-table taverna in the hillside village of Avdou, just a scooter ride from the blue waters of the Aegean Sea on the island of Crete. I next traveled to Bali, Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia and South America, following the sea and surf with laptop in hand and continuing to write.
I realized that the novel in many ways is a love song to the sea and all of its wondrous inhabitants. Perhaps only a poet would give away money before it is even collected, but that is what I felt compelled to do given my love of the ocean and conservation causes. I hope to leave this world and particularly our oceans better than I found them.
Years ago I had the good fortune to meet several folks from Patagonia, a company I admire for their forward thinking dedication to our planet. As a long time surfer I am also a member of the Surfrider Foundation. So when I formed by own independent publishing company, it was only natural for me to tie in my creative efforts to these conservation causes. Penju Publishing’s membership with 1% For the Planet and my pledged donations to The Surfrider Foundation are an effort to spread awareness, give back and pay it forward. True to form, Penju, the chosen name of my independent publishing company, translates to mean “sea turtle” in an Indonesian dialect.
I have been fortunate to swim with both sea turtles and dolphins in the wild on many occasions. When you stare into the eyes of a sea turtle or a dolphin you cannot help but believe they comprehend our great aquatic connection, a connection beyond humanity, beyond species, beyond even the stars. So when I write about passion, heartbreak, healing, life and love, it is only natural for me to write in a particularly aquatic language and style. I want future generations to be equally inspired.
For more information, please visit www.kennethzak.com or Kenneth Zak Author on Facebook.]]>
RMFI has a rich history in conducting restoration research at select project sites including Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, and the Hayman burn scar, and more recently began a research project in the Waldo Canyon burn scar in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. This blog will give you more insight into perhaps a lesser-known component of RMFI’s work in the Waldo Canyon burn scar and might also help you answer your own questions about what impact the millions of dollars worth of restoration work have had on the burn scar’s recovery.
RMFI began monitoring select locations in the Waldo Canyon burn scar in 2014 to help the U.S. Forest Service determine the effectiveness of restoration treatments implemented with Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) funding. These treatments included the construction of several below-grade sediment detention basins as well as construction of hillslope stabilization structures and reseeding with native species. All structures ultimately help to minimize downstream sedimentation, which can threaten aquatic and riparian habitat and also pose severe downstream risks to life and safety. RMFI is currently in the process of conducting repeat measurements at all locations to allow for richer comparisons and assessments of change and recovery within the burn scar.
To date, a total of 38 sediment detention basins have been constructed within the Waldo Canyon burn scar on Forest Service managed lands. Sediment detention basins are below grade structures that reduce the flow of water and trap sediment. They can function as “borrow” pits for material used to fill active gullies, and can also help trap and disperse sediment to reconnect the floodplain and prevent the water table from lowering. Hillslope stabilization treatments including log-erosion barriers and reseeding help stabilize steep slopes and encourage revegetation and recovery of the burn scar.
Four monitoring locations were selected by U.S. Forest Service hydrologists (see map of locations below) and methods used to monitor the locations include longitudinal profile surveys, cross-section surveys, and monumented photopoints. In brief, longitudinal profile surveys enable evaluation of changes in slopes, streambed features, and channel aggradation (build up) or degradation (cutting). Cross-section surveys enable assessment of floodplain connectivity, changes in bed stability, channel enlargement, and lateral migration. Finally, photopoint monitoring is a standardized procedure developed by the U.S. Forest Service for taking precisely replicable photographs of areas that require long-term management. When combined with additional quantitative approaches, photopoints can be used to assess the success or failure of management decisions based on the use of clearly defined indicators and standards.
While we have not yet finished compiling and analyzing data for the measurements taken this year, we did analyze results from last year’s measurements. In summary, we found the longitudinal profile surveys conducted at the Upper Williams Canyon and Wellington Gulch sites where sediment detention basins were installed revealed minimal changes in channel gradient and a relatively stable channel bed for the duration of the monitoring period. In both locations, the sediment detention basins were functioning properly to capture sediment and reduce flow velocity.
The cross-section surveys conducted at the Upper Williams Canyon and Wellington Gulch sites revealed minimal changes to stream morphology or geometry. Bank location and channel width at each monitoring location remained relatively stable throughout the monitoring period. Cross-section surveys conducted at the Lower Williams Canyon site revealed relatively stable channel morphology and geometry, but more definitive locations of active bank erosion and degradation were observed.
Repeated photographs taken within the Camp Creek drainage suggested native vegetation was reestablishing itself on the hillslopes, the sediment detention basin was functioning properly to capture sediment originating from upstream reaches, and log-erosion barriers installed along the right bank of the basin were functioning to slow down water flows and minimize further rill erosion. Native vegetation seeded behind the log-erosion barriers was also establishing itself and helping to stabilize the soil surface.
By all accounts (and what the 2015 data are also supporting), the sediment detention basins and other restoration treatments constructed and implemented within the burn scar are functioning properly, are significantly aiding in the burn scar’s recovery, and are minimizing downstream risks to life and safety. While downstream communities like Manitou Springs continue to be inundated with high debris flows and flooding during substantial storm events, it is scary to think what the consequences would be if none of the basins had been constructed in the burn scar at all.
While significant investment has been made in restoration of the burn scar, the reality is that full recovery is still likely to take many many decades. To date, the U.S. Forest Service has supported a recovery approach that is heavy on the construction side of things. This approach has been necessary and beneficial in providing the initial emergency response and stabilization to jumpstart the recovery process. In recent discussions with the U.S. Forest Service, however, it is clear they’re intent on transitioning to a new phase of recovery, one that involves a longer-term and more sustainable strategy that is environmentally dynamic and focused on utilizing willow plantings and other vegetative treatments to begin building a base for increased resiliency within the burn scar into the future.
If you’re interested in taking a look at our 2014 monitoring report, please click here. We’ll have our 2015 results ready and posted in a few months so be on the look out!]]>
rnrnrn rnrnThe Doris Duke co-aligns with the Highlands and Allis trails on the ridge of Sterling Mountain, which leads to the Appalachian Trail on its way to Fitzgerald Falls. The 40 people who had gathered for the ribbon-cutting event broke into groups to hike the entire loop: Erik Mickelson, field manager of the project, led a fast-paced tour of the trail, while Mason more leisurely guided a second group. Trail-building features and techniques—details that might normally be missed by the average hiker, since the trail was designed to look as natural as possible—were described and pointed out. Several past and present AmeriCorps members and volunteers who helped build the trail proudly showed off their work along the way.rnrnHikers enjoyed several stops throughout the afternoon, including photo ops on the beaver dam overlook at the now-flooded Benjamin Meadow, and lunch atop Sterling Ridge, which offers a lovely panoramic view over Orange County. Farther along the ridge, the New York City skyline could be seen on the horizon.rnrnIf you’d like to volunteer to help build and improve trails in Sterling Forest State Park, contact Sona Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org or 201.512.9348 x16.]]>
I, like many people, eagerly watched and read about these new feats of humanity as they arose. As with two climbers’ well-documented first ascent of Yosemite’s Dawn Wall in January, I publicly criticized the overuse of media while secretly devouring all the images and posts I could find.
There are many questions, both philosophical and practical, that emerge from occasions like these. In these super-human super-outdoorsy feats, are we slating humans against nature? Is this over-commercialization of our shared public lands? Does this promote or defeat the idea of wilderness?
Much to the chagrin of some wilderness lovers, we can’t turn our backs on the economy that supports our natural spaces. Talking about commercialization of public land as an inherently bad thing limits the opportunity and exposure to it for large numbers of people.
There are human activities that have disproportionate impacts on public land, and those should be limited. However, it’s a slippery slope to say people and commercialization have inherently negative impacts on nature. If we believe commercialization of wilderness is always a bad thing, then are John Fielder’s photography books a bad thing? Once we start thinking one type of commercialization is better than another, we risk saying that our way is right, and that’s, well, wrong.
Excluding certain types of commercialization can be divisive. Aside from scenery, one of the most beautiful things about public lands is that they are designed to be non-exclusive. In a wonderfully democratic model, everyone is welcome to access them.
Today, oil drilling, forestry, and mining are still types of commercialization that occur on our public lands. Shouldn’t we focus on limiting these before nitpicking about climbers tweeting or runners filming?
The most important takeaway that I get from debates like these is how much people truly care about public lands. While some will grumble about every way people interact with public lands (and I mean everything, from technology in the outdoors to complaints that piles of rocks are as bad as litter), the point is that these places are incredibly valuable to us.
As my co-worker Pat said: “We don’t protect lands in a vacuum devoid of people. People are part of the equation, like it or not.”
You can’t have wilderness without public support, and you can’t have public support without people connecting to nature. That connection may look drastically different for different people, but the bottom line is that we need to fight for the lands we love, make them accessible to all communities, and set aside more of them for future generations while we still can.
For wild Colorado,
Communications and Organizing Fellow
Act now to protect our beloved public lands! Click to sign a petition to keep public lands in public hands. >>]]>
This theme is particularly important at a time of changing climate, where we’re seeing increasing pressures in Canada and globally on water resources. We don’t know enough about the implications of these pressures, or our multiple water intensive energy industries. And we’re dealing with controversy over the transparency and regulation in provincial and federal decision-making. New legal decisions and resulting pressure on regulatory frameworks are creating new urgency.
SOLUTIONS & STRATEGIC COLLABORATION
The panel encouraged the audience, in particular the 1% for the Planet business members, to get involved with new strategies for reconciliation and reciprocity…to look around the network and determine how to strategically collaborate and take action together. They gave examples of already existing work by organizations, such as Keepers of the Water and West Coast Environmental Law, that are actively working on solutions (e.g. Decolonizing Water project) and are inviting collaborators. They suggested that the first step to getting involved is by going out and exploring the land and water situation in the areas we live and work.
The Patagonia store was packed with some 100 attendees, among them many business and not-for-profit leaders who contributed to making this event a success. A special thank you goes to Patagonia, Triton Environmental Consultants, Persephone Brewing Co., Salt Spring Coffee, Zimt Artisan Chocolates, PureSouls Media, Live for Tomorrow, Junxion Strategy, UBC Program on Water Governance, Keepers of the Water, West Coast Environmental Law, and Liana Martin, Councillor, Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
For more information on the above water programs, please contact the organizations and/or members of the panel directly through their websites/LinkedIn.
Photo Credit: PureSouls]]>