Friday, August 15, 2014

How making London greener could make Londoners happier – interactive map



It's been quiet here lately..... too much time spent looking for decent posts made me think that I should rethink what I do here. Haven't come up with anything concrete but as it started as a form of bookmarking for my own reference, I wanted to add this.

Over at the Guardian, Daniel Raven-Ellison wants to make Greater London a national park and there is an interactive map as to show it could happen. The above map is of the existing open space.

Love, love, love.....

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Meercats

 
Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas gets more than he bargained for when he visits Botswana to shoot some baby meercats.

Check out his website, there are some lovely photos and a little video of his experience of hanging out with the cute animals.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tim Flach: More Than Human


The most beautiful photos of animals I've ever seen. Absolutely stunning. It was hard to pick just one.....

Tim Flach.

Monday, April 7, 2014

NYC Event: How to Green Your School

Inhabitat is hosting a panel discussion at the upcoming NYC Green Festival to tackle how to improve our children’s health and well-being while also teaching them environmental literacy so that they are able to respond to looming ecological problems, how classrooms can be made less toxic and more environmentally friendly and how school can food be made healthier.

Saturday April 26th, if you're in the neighbourhood, I'd say it would be well worth checking out.



Friday, April 4, 2014

Shape



Here's a lovely short film by Johnny Kelly and Scott Burnett asking what you would change to make the world a better place, if you could, through design.

Love all the trees. That's what I'd do. Plant trees everywhere.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kacper Kowalski

 


Stunning aerial photographs by Kacper Kowalski. The one above is from a series called Toxic Beauty, photos of chemical plants, opencast mines, or areas processed by industry.

He also has a new book out, Side Effects.

Treehugger article about play structures




I'm not a fan of play structures, feeling that they are the lazy persons idea of how to entertain children, just stick one of those in the park/school ground and problem solved. An article over at Treehugger highlights the dangers of a lack of risk.

The video above is from a documentary about an adventure playground in North Wales called The Land.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

UN releases Climate Change assessment study

 
A UN panel has released the most comprehensive assessment yet of the effects of climate change on our planet.
  • In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans.
  • Adaptation is becoming embedded in some planning processes, with more limited implementation of response. 
  • The overall risks of climate change impacts can be reduced by limiting the rate and magnitude of climate change.
  • Climate change is projected to amplify existing climate-related risks and create new risks for natural and human systems.  
BBC News website's science editor Paul Rincon breaks down the key findings from above at the link.

Sobering stuff.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Persil Kids Today Project




The washing powder giants, Persil, have just released 6 new videos about kids today and how "dirt is good".

Play face is above but checkout their website to see the others. This was found via Tim Gill, who wrote a very interesting post on the commercials.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Galillee School



Not a jungle gym in sight. Delightful.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

George Lucas on The Meaning of Life


"It is possible that on a spiritual level we are all connected in a way that continues beyond the comings and goings of various life forms. My best guess is that we share a collective spirit or life force or consciousness that encompasses and goes beyond individual life forms. There’s a part of us that connects to other humans, connects to other animals, connects to plants, connects to the planet, connects to the universe. I don’t think we can understand it through any kind of verbal, written or intellectual means. But I do believe that we all know this, even if it is on a level beyond our normal conscious thoughts.
If we have a meaningful place in this process, it is to try to fit into a healthy, symbiotic relationship with other life force. Everybody, ultimately, is trying to reach a harmony with the other parts of the life force. And in trying to figure out what life is all about, we ultimately come down to expressions of compassion and love, helping the rest of the life force, caring about others without any conditions or expectations, without expecting to get anything in return. This is expressed in every religion, by every prophet."

Via Brainpickings.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Susan Slyter's resignation letter

February 12, 2014
I am writing today to let you know that I am resigning my position as PreK and Kindergarten teacher in the Cambridge Public Schools.  It is with deep sadness that I have reached this decision, as I have loved my job, my school community, and the families and amazing and dedicated faculty I have been connected with throughout the district for the past eighteen years.  I have always seen myself as a public school teacher, and fully intended to work until retirement in the public school system.  Further, I am the product of public schools, and my son attended Cambridge Public Schools from PreK through Grade 12.  I am and always have been a firm believer in quality public education.
In this disturbing era of testing and data collection in the public schools, I have seen my career transformed into a job that no longer fits my understanding of how children learn and what a teacher ought to do in the classroom to build a healthy, safe, developmentally appropriate environment for learning for each of our children.  I have experienced, over the past few years, the same mandates that all teachers in the district have experienced.   I have watched as my job requirements swung away from a focus on the children, their individual learning styles, emotional needs, and their individual families, interests and strengths to a focus on testing, assessing, and scoring young children, thereby ramping up the academic demands and pressures on them.  Each year, I have been required to spend more time attending classes and workshops to learn about new academic demands that smack of 1st and 2nd grade, instead of Kindergarten and PreK.  I have needed to schedule and attend more and more meetings about increasingly extreme behaviors and emotional needs of children in my classroom; I recognize many of these behaviors as children shouting out to the adults in their world, “I can’t do this!  Look at me!  Know me!  Help me!  See me!”  I have changed my practice over the years to allow the necessary time and focus for all the demands coming down from above.  Each year there are more.  Each year I have had less and less time to teach the children I love in the way I know best—and in the way child development experts recommend.  I reached the place last year where I began to feel I was part of a broken system that was causing damage to those very children I was there to serve.
I was trying to survive in a community of colleagues who were struggling to do the same:  to adapt and survive, to continue to hold onto what we could, and to affirm what we believe to be quality teaching for an early childhood classroom.  I began to feel a deep sense of loss of integrity.  I felt my spirit, my passion as a teacher, slip away.  I felt anger rise inside me.  I felt I needed to survive by looking elsewhere and leaving the community I love so dearly.  I did not feel I was leaving my job.  I felt then and feel now that my job left me.
It is with deep love and a broken heart that I write this letter.

Sincerely,
Suzi Sluyter

This letter was published in The Washington Post and it says a lot about our education system today. Sadly....


Monday, March 24, 2014

Library Farm



The Northern Onondaga Public Library in New York State owned some land and decided to turn it into a farm and called it The Library Farm.
"In the spring of 2010, the farm’s first season, a dozen or so plots—which are offered free of charge to anyone with a library card—were planted. Today, around 30 gardeners farm roughly 50 plots. Individuals and families can cultivate plots on one side of the land with little or no commitment, while the other side is a dedicated “community garden” where the harvest is donated to local food pantries."
What a great concept. A learning environment outside. Article here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Friday


go for it.

 Not even close :-)

Robert Reich and Inequality for All



I am clearly way behind on this movie, but I heard about it from an article about Robert Reich here.
 "In his typically affable manner, Reich explains that the wages people earn matter to economic growth. Sustained recovery is only possible if the middle and working classes have money to spend and if, rather than cuts and austerity, investment in "public goods" is made a priority. "The top tax rates do have to rise and we have to invest much more substantially in education, infrastructure and human resources – and make sure our poor children and lower-middle-class children all have real chances to get ahead." "
Inequality for All is going straight on my Netflix wishlist.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?


"Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion."

Excellent and depressing article by Nafeez Ahmed over at The Guardian. I say depressing because even though it is a NASA-funded study, it doesn't necessarily mean that the greedy monsters will listen.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cheetah mum and cub


Beautiful photo by Ken Dyball.

Found over at my new daily dose of all things awesome, Awkward Situationist.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Can you learn to be creative?

"Sandra Russ, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, has spent 23 years studying the way children in the US play when they are given two puppets and three building blocks. She has found that the scenarios the children act out with the toys are more imaginative today than at any time since the 1980s."

From an interesting article at BBC Future.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Community Forest International


Community Forest International in Canada is building a Rural Innovation Campus on it’s 235 hectare farm & forest property. They invited designers to come up with ideas for their first building on the campus that blurred the lines between humans and nature.

It was hard to pick one to feature above so please check out the rest of the entries here.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

First World War Centenary Woods


"Today, the Woodland Trust launches its First World War Centenary Woods project which will see millions of trees planted across the UK and four flagship woods created – in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War.

In addition to the 1,000 acres of woodland created at these four Centenary Woods, there will be over 3 million free trees available to schools, community groups and youth groups for planting, and we hope that landowners and communities across the country will get involved to create hundreds of new woods containing millions of trees.

These symbolic trees and woods will transform the landscape into rich, vibrant and flourishing woodland and will stand proud as a lasting legacy for those who fought, those who lost their lives, and also for their loved ones on the home front who supported them from afar."

\0/

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Knits for Nature




The Penguin Foundation in Australia dresses penguins in jumpers to prevent them from cleaning their feathers and ingesting the toxins on their bodies after an oil spill. The jumpers also keep them warm.

Doesn't get much cuter than a penguin in a sweater..... Follow the link below and you can download the pattern to make one yourself and donate it.

Via Taxi.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

Catherine Nelson



I have posted about Catherine Nelsons' beautiful work before. Her new series of collages is called Exhibition and will be shown at the Head On Photo Festival in Sydney in May.

Via Colossal.

Friday, March 7, 2014

People St



Just found out about People St in my old hunting grounds, L.A...... 
"Communities can transform underused areas of L.A.’s largest public asset—our 7,500 miles of city streets—into active, vibrant, and accessible public space with People St, a program of the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). Eligible Community Partners can apply for approval to create projects that enhance the quality of life in this city. Three innovative types of projects are available: Plazas, Parklets, and Bicycle Corrals."
There is way too much on their website to paraphrase here. I will say though, that there is a deadline to register online, April 30th.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Representation project



"The Representation Project is a movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people’s consciousness towards change. Interactive campaigns, strategic partnerships and education initiatives inspire individuals and communities to challenge the status quo and ultimately transform culture so everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation or circumstance can fulfill their potential."

Loving pets v loving animals

"Loving our dogs and cats we put a strain upon the natural order that is felt most grievously by the birds and beasts of the field. And even if those creatures have no rights, this does not cancel the fact that we have duties towards them. Their duties become everyday more serious and demanding, as we humans expand to take over the habitats that we confiscate without scruple and enjoy without remorse."

A Point of View by Roger Scruton.

Lion Guardians



Wow.

Lion Guardians Project.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Beavers are back in town


A family of wild beavers has been spotted in England for the first time in nearly 500 years.
"Beavers are a "keystone species", meaning they provide more important ecosystem services than their numbers alone would suggest. Known as "ecological engineers", their dams, burrows and ditches and the branches they drag into the water create habitats for a host of other species. Their dams slow rivers down, reducing scouring and erosion, and improving water quality by holding back silt."

Provided the government doesn't get involved.... this could be an exciting new beginning for the beaver population in the UK.

From an article at The Guardian.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

RSA Animate - The Power of Outrospection



Excellent talk on empathy by philosopher Roman Krznaric, now animated.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Global Forest Watch



The Global Forest Watch interactive map....
"Global Forest Watch (GFW) is a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system that empowers people everywhere to better manage forests. For the first time, Global Forest Watch unites satellite technology, open data, and crowdsourcing to guarantee access to timely and reliable information about forests. GFW is free and follows an open data approach in putting decision-relevant information in the hands of governments, companies, NGOs, and the public."
 Fabulous and depressing (there was a lot of red on the map).

Happy Friday


Via The Guardian.

Together We Can Build Healthier Neighborhoods



The people over at Good have put together a lovely little animated film to illustrate that poor neighborhoods not only lack access to health care, they also lack access to other resources that impact health and life expectancy.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bright Eyes "First Day Of My Life"



It was one of those cave moments for me again.... have I been living in a cave? Why have I never heard this song before?

This will help you get over the hump day, Wednesday. Beautiful.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Jane Goodall and Wounda



Heart officially melted....

Sunday, February 16, 2014

From hoodies to goodies: today's teenagers have the makings of model citizens


"There is little more that we could ask for, in these times of austerity and inequality, than a new generation of politically engaged, socially minded young people."

From an article by at The Guardian.

Friday, February 14, 2014

International Garden Photographer of the Year


The International Garden Photographer of the Year is run in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom.

The Young Garden Photographer section is my favourite and lo and behold, Samuel Aron in third place took a beautiful photograph of a hedgehog!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How do you get a city to lose weight?

".......we've been able to document that more suburban, less walkable parts of the world are the ones that rank the highest for weight. There's a new term for these places: obesogenic. As we've designed our country around the assumption of universal car ownership and use, we've created a landscape in which walking is no longer serving any purpose."
Great article at The Guardian about obesity, walkability and Oklahoma City's move forward to a healthier and thinner city.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

River of Flowers



A wonderful idea from the UK, called River of Flowers.
"River of Flowers is a landscape initiative engaging the whole urban community in thinking and doing more about nature. Urban development and agriculture are two processes that have stripped the land of its indigenous wild plants. Our aim is to incorporate wild plants in both of these to bring nature into the city."
And if that isn't exciting enough for a Wednesday, I just read about an Amsterdam-based urban herbologist called Lynn Shore, who was so inspired by River of Flowers that she decided to start River of Herbs......

I'm thinking of starting River of Hedgehogs.... how cute would that be?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Fear of Failure

"A characteristic of artistic education is for people to tell you that you’re a genius. [...] So everybody gets this idea, if you go to art school, that you’re really a genius. Sadly, it isn’t true. Genius occurs very rarely. So the real embarrassing issue about failure is your own acknowledgement that you’re not a genius, that you’re not as good as you thought you were. [...] There’s only one solution: You must embrace failure. You must admit what is. You must find out what you’re capable of doing, and what you’re not capable of doing. That is the only way to deal with the issue of success and failure because otherwise you simply would never subject yourself to the possibility that you’re not as good as you want to be, hope to be, or as others think you are.”   Milton Glaser
 Via Brainpickings.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Connect 4 Climate

"Connect4Climate is a campaign, a coalition, and a community that cares about climate change." and they are holding a documentary film competition. Deadline is April 1st.

From their website:
"ACTION4CLIMATE video challenge invites young aspiring filmmakers to produce and submit a 1-12 minute video documentary telling a story about climate change. How is climate change impacting your community? What are you doing about it? What needs to be done to solve the climate challenge?"

Friday, February 7, 2014

2014 Sony World Photography Awards Shortlist


This is a photo under the heading Contemporary Issues in the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards of a city in China, called Jiangyin, Jiangsu, showing rows of identical houses with a playground in the middle.

I see this photo and then I look out my window at the trees, knowing I have a 2 minute walk to the forest and think, I don't know how lucky I am.

Via Colossal.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Plants are magic: Søren Ejlersen at TEDx Copenhagen Salon



Søren Ejlersen is the co-founder of Aarstiderne and Haver til Maver and spoke at the Ted X event in Copenhagen at the end of last year.

Very inspiring.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Martin Crawford



I am a huge fan of Martin Crawford's work and have two of his books, How to grow Perennial Vegetables and Creating a Forest Garden: Working with nature to grow edible crops, both of which I would highly recommend. 

My new garden plan is start my own forest garden and begin to live off my own land. Very excited.....

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Gap


THE GAP by Ira Glass from frohlocke on Vimeo.


Inspiration for Monday morning.... time to make weekly deadlines.

Via Brainpickings.

Friday, January 31, 2014

If we want to be happy, should we all move to the country?


"Ecopsychology – the study of the effects of greenery on your mental health - has an answer for this. Not only does being surrounded by trees and fields make you happier, it lengthens concentration spans, reduces procrastination and makes you better at managing “major life challenges”."

Great article by Martha Gill at The New Statesman.

Friday play

Happy Friday!

Here are some articles worth reading over the weekend:

New Zealand school bans playground rules and sees less bullying and vandalism
  
Lack of play hurting child development, especially in poor countries
  
The Transformative Power Of Play And Its Link To Creativity

How to raise a grounded, creative child


"I believe that schools should be places not only for academic learning, but also where young people build confidence, a sense of self, and learn to become responsible citizens. It is one of the great tragedies of our day that our schools, excessively driven by data and standardized tests, have no time for activities that can't be tested. No time for the arts and play and the social and emotional learning that will help children handle what life has in store."

By Nancy Carlsson-Paige, professor emerita of early childhood education at Lesley University in Massachusetts. From an article over at CNN.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ReDane


ReDane from Elk Film on Vimeo.

Living in Denmark, this really resonates with me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Timelapse Earth



Stunning. Especially love the lightning...

Courtesy of the International Space Station. Found it here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

SEA OTTERS


Why am I shouting? ...... because........ I LOVE SEA OTTERS.

"..........animals like sea otters are providing another solution by helping to keep forests growing."

BBC Future's Power of Nature film series focuses on SEA OTTERS this week! SEA OTTERS!!!!!! \0/

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Camp Chaser


Camp Chaser is a collaborative platform for sharing camping information. Head over there if you have information to add, it's free.... Only based in America, I'm afraid.

Image above is more glamping than camping but you get the idea.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Freedom is something to use or lose


"When children are housebound, we cannot expect them to develop an instinct for freedom that is intimately associated with being outdoors. We cannot expect them to reach for more challenging freedoms if they have no experience of fear and cold and hunger and exhaustion. Perhaps freedom from want has paradoxically deprived us of other freedoms. The freedom which makes so many new pleasures available vitiates the desire to enjoy them."

George Monbiot over at The Guardian.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mike Hollingshead


Mike Hollingshead is a storm chaser and takes the most amazing photos. This one is in South Dakota and is of Mammatus Clouds.

Monday, Macklemore and an excellent flashmob



Love Macklemore, love flashmobs and it's Monday..... Enjoy.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Elena Shumilova


It was hard to pick just one photo from Elena Shumilova's beautiful work with children and animals, the cat won me over..... Stunning.

Via Bored Panda.

Elephants: Mega gardeners of the forest


Check out this short film over at BBC Future about why elephants are important in the rain forest and how they contribute to creating rain.

Why we thought we could ever do without these wonderful creatures....

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Trees accelerate growth as they get older and bigger, study finds

"But our findings do suggest that while they are alive, large old trees play a disproportionately important role in a forest's carbon dynamics. It is as if the star players on your favourite sports team were a bunch of 90-year-olds."

Excellent news. Maybe now we will treasure our trees a little more...

Via The Guardian.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Logan Laplante



This is just brilliant.

The open spaces where we played are cruelly lost to today's children


"So many places, from city squares to airports, have dispensed altogether with the concept of people with arms and legs that swing and stride, with bodies that need to move, and eyes that want to look, and souls that yearn for a horizon, or even for a mature tree."

Sobering article by Rachel Cooke over at The Guardian.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hamburg’s Plan to Eliminate Cars in 20 Years


"About 40% of the area of , the second largest city in Germany, is made up of green areas, cemeteries, sports facilities, gardens, parks and squares. For the first time ever, the city has decided to unite them together via pedestrian and cycle routes. It’s all part of the “Green Network Plan,” which aims to eliminate the need for vehicles in Hamburg over the next 20 years........

.......The city will also construct new green spaces that should help absorb CO2 and regulate the city’s climate (Hamburg’s average temperature has risen about 9ºC in the last 60 years). These spaces will also help to prevent flooding: in the same 60 year time period, Hamburg’s sea level has risen about 20 centimeters and is expected to rise another 30 centimeters by 2100."

Wonderful.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dansk Legeplads Selskab


I wrote an article for the Danish Playground Society (Dansk Legeplads Selskab), who do great work for supporting play and play culture conditions. The article was about the Nordic Conference I attended in September.

Here is the danish version that appeared in the magazine in December:

Legepladsen.pdf

The english version is here.

The lovely hidey hole and firepit above is from a fantastic forest school just outside Malmo.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Big Garden Birdwatch


 This weekend the RSPB is calling on the British public to spend an hour spotting and recording birds in local gardens and parks for its annual Big Garden Birdwatch.

Also at The Guardian is a great little interactive way to learn to identify the birds by their song as well as their appearance. I'm going to swat up......

Wild Me



Wild me.  \0/


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Edward Abbey's advice

"Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here."

Via Redefine the mind.
Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast…a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. - See more at: http://www.refinethemind.com/edward-abbeys-advice-to-environmentalist/#sthash.LeSs8FPw.dpuf
Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast…a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. - See more at: http://www.refinethemind.com/edward-abbeys-advice-to-environmentalist/#sthash.LeSs8FPw.dpuf
“Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast…a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it.” - See more at: http://www.refinethemind.com/edward-abbeys-advice-to-environmentalist/#sthash.LeSs8FPw.dpuf
“Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast…a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it.” - See more at: http://www.refinethemind.com/edward-abbeys-advice-to-environmentalist/#sthash.LeSs8FPw.dpuf