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Take Action to Save Earth: Read a Book!

September 9, 2019

“Our heart grows cold,” wrotePope Francis in the 2015 Lenten message. “As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of aglobalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.” Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, an Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder in Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland, says Only by Melting the Ice in the Heart of Man does Man have a Chance to Change and begin using his vast Knowledge Wisely.”


In addition to getting a real strong dose of nature, reading up, finding solutions, and taking action really helps!

This semester, my students and I are learning and taking action about plastic pollution in the ocean, climate change, and more by reading these books and taking part in projects:

  • Gyre: The Plastic Ocean edited by Julie Decker (2014)
  • The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creativeby Florence Williams (2017)
  • Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv (2005)
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Lifeby Barbara Kingsolver (2007)
  • Nowtopia: How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant Lot Gardeners Are Inventing the Future Todayby Chris Carlsson (2008)
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural Historyby Elizabeth Kolbert (2015)

Today I will ask students to learn more about the books in order to choose which one they want to read with others in the class and then to write me a note that details —

  • Which book is first choice and why
  • Which book is second choice and why
  • Which book you don’t want to read and why
  • Names of students you’d prefer not to work with
  • Names of students you would like to work with
  • Anything else you think I need to know

In their groups, students will develop and execute an Earth Action project that can help get the word out AND/OR engage yourself and others in action to address the primary problem described in your Earth Action book.  This may also serve or be related to your individual research project.

Projects might include making and displaying chalk or other art, teaching, tabling, engaging, organizing and publicizing a cleanup or hosting a film or a speaker, doing a human banner (spelling a word or making a shape) at VC on the lawn or at Arroyo Verde park (VOTE might be a good one…).

They can create an event or help with one that is already being planned for example Climate Actions taking place Friday Sept 20 and for the rest of September, monthly Surfider beach or the yearly Coastal Cleanup scheduled for Sat. Sept. 21.


This is an opportunity for you to get creative!One semester a group of students made a holiday tree with lights made from plastic bottles which they took turns displaying on campus and talking about it. One spring, students did a chalk art of a whale filled with plastic during the Culture in Diversity Festival. Students have distributed 50 reusable plastic bottles donated by REI, picked up trash, taught students about the importance and process of recycling, led hikes, organized camping trips, started clubs, cut back on media use, and made posters about environmental, environmental justice, or social justice issues or organizations.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 2, 2019 5:02 am

    Thank you for the book suggestions! Will look them up!

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