For kids across America, fall is ‘Back To School’ season—a time chock full of opportunities to try out new things and explore fresh ideas. So our team is super excited to announce the release of Buy, Use, Toss: A Closer Look at the Things We Buy, a new two-week high school level curriculum inspired by The Story of Stuffand produced by premier curriculum developer Facing the Future. The best part: teachers and parents can download and use it for free! More below.
Teaching environmental stewardship is critically important, but we’ve also got tolive it in our communities every day. That’s why we’ve included The Green Schools Network’s Seven Steps to a Green School in this month’s Campaign Corner. Find out how you can work with kids, teachers, parents, neighbors and policymakers to eliminate toxics, use resources sustainably, create green spaces and buildings and serve healthy food! Cool!
The success of The Story of Stuff has put us in touch with thousands of schools around the world teaching and living sustainability. And not just schools: also churches, community groups, businesses and so many others. It honestly feels like a shift is happening, a realization that we need to make some big changes in order to live on this planet more sustainably and more fairly than we’ve been doing.
But the truth is, while awareness about environmental and social problems is growing, the health of our communities and of Earth itself continues to deteriorate. Each year, the Global Footprint Network identifies the day on which humanity has used up the biological resources and services that the planet provides in that year. This year, Earth Overshoot Day was August 21st, the earliest yet. From then until Dec 31st, all the resources we use and the waste we produce is eroding the planet’s ability to keep producing in the future. That’s not a good trajectory, because as you know we only have one planet.
Which got me to thinking: with all the good people and great organizations dedicated to a healthy environment, how can it be that things are getting worse?
As it turns out, we all may need to go back to school.
This fall, our team has started pre-production on a series of new films for next year that take a deep look at the environmental crises we face, ask what is driving these problems, and what kinds of approaches would make real, lasting change.
We’re calling it The Story of Stuff:Season Two and we’re asking some tough questions: how is it that year after year, Americans tell pollsters that they favor mandatory controls on greenhouse gases and want investment in cleaner energy but still we’re still relying on—and even increasing the use of—fossil fuels? Why is there always plenty of money for bank bailouts or wars but never enough for things like safe schools, healthy food or clean energy? Why does the American people’s shift from rampant consumer spending to responsible saving strike fear in conventional economists’ hearts? And most importantly, what big changes could actually get us moving more quickly toward a thriving democracy, fair economy, safe communities and healthy planet?
We know these questions are tough. But we also know that we’re not going to be able to turn things around in the U.S. and elsewhere if we don’t figure them out, roll up our sleeves and get going.
I was raised on a small farm in Illinois. My wife, Eileen and I and family have worked together hand and hand on this farm (and adjoining land we bought) since 1966. I attended and graduated University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL. I received a Bachelor of Science Degree (Cum Laude)in Agricultural Engineering in 1970.
I worked as a registered Professional Engineer for the Rock Island District, US Army Corps of Engineers for 33 years, before retiring. I held several supervisory positions while at Corps: Chief, Regulatory Branch, Assistant Chief of Operations Division, Chief of the Lock and Dam Branch, and Mississippi River Project Manager. One highlight of my career was developing NIC (Google "NIC - Navigation Information Connection") during the early 90's, in a joint effort, with the District's Information Management personnel and Navigation Industry Representatives.
My wife and I have 2 grown children and 4 grandchildren. We have businesses associated with farming, "live edge" furniture making, vegetable produce, and graphics. We enjoy pursuing our hobby interests.