Writing a Climate Victory Garden

Louise Maher-Johnson’s poem, “Notes from a Climate Victory Garden,” offers a series of calls to action, as seen in the poem’s opening: Rebalance: Greenhouse Gases (CO2,N2O, CH4, H2O vapor) with                                                                                 photosynthesis. Recognize: Plants cool by evaporation, ground cover, shade, and                                                                                     precipitation Replant: Lawns with Victory Gardens, as in world war past. Organized by lines beginning […]

Environmental Justice, Comic Book Storytelling, and Seed Work

In Charlie La Greca and Rebecca Bratspies’ environmental justice comic, Mayah’s Lot, the image of the aspen seed is prominent.  The titular character intends to plant an aspen seed in a garden she secretly tends on a vacant lot, just before finding out a corporation’s plan to transform the lot into an industrial toxic storage waste facility.  […]

The Craft Moves of Climate Stewards: Thinking with Xiye Bastida and Greta Thunberg

One way to provide an entry point for students who often feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the climate crisis is to explore a text pairing that puts ideas in conversation with each other.  This juxtaposition can bring key concepts into relief, as well as help students articulate the priorities of each writer because there […]

Picture Book-Driven Inquiry: Reframing Research Investigation

“The river’s rhythm runs through my veins.  Runs through my people’s veins.” My student unmutes herself in our video conference, identifying these two lines as her favorite in Carole Lindstrom’s We Are Water Protectors.  The day before, I had read the book aloud to my students, enjoying the novelty of holding the pages close to […]

Voice Over, Camera Shots, and Conservationist Storytelling

Watching Faith E. Briggs navigate the ruts, inclines, and down hills as she runs through three national monuments – public lands protected under the Antiquities Act – makes for a vivid and immersive viewing experience.  Her exploration of what it means to be a conservationist amid the threat of rolled back protections for public lands […]

Adjusting to Uncertainty: Systems Thinking with Octavia Butler

Reading Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower in the year 2020 was a slightly eerie experience: so much of what Butler has presented in her fictional novel set in the 2020s is happening: uncontrolled fires, resource depletion, and rising sea levels.  Last year, the novel appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, twenty-three years […]