Category Archives: Education

The Pennsylvania Historical Commission’s odd blunder on the history of slavery

on May 18, 2022 in Education

Look at the start of this sign I saw at Penn’s Landing after my fundraising bike ride: “African people, first enslaved by the Dutch and Swedes, . . . “. Is there some way to read that sentence that reflects history? Slavery has existed in many cultures since before Holland and Sweden existed, including Africa. Quoting Wikipedia’s Slavery in Africa page, slavery in Africa predates the existence of Holland and[…] Keep reading →

Everyone is avoiding what’s hard on the environment in favor of what’s easy even when effective.

on March 25, 2022 in Education, Nature

You know when you have an important job, how you often clean your room or do some other busy work instead of taking on the challenges? That’s what we’re doing on the environment. Here are some examples. Hard problem 1: Teaching about nature Everyone talks about teaching more science in school, especially environmental. Teaching children science avoids the serious problem: adults who don’t understand about nature, cause and effect, observation,[…] Keep reading →

Where I grew up, “a national model of racial integration”: Mount Airy, Philadelphia

on March 22, 2022 in Art, Education, Stories

I found an article in the Philadelphia Encyclopedia about Mount Airy, where I grew up, “a national model of racial integration, ” created through generations of conscious, deliberate work by residents, against opposing trends the article describes below, including white realtors trying to redline and black leaders trying to protect “blackness.” My mom, dad, and stepfather participated in several institutions promoting Mount Airy’s values mentioned in the article, especially West[…] Keep reading →

Join guest J.B. MacKinnon and the Sierra Club for a webinar, April 13: Climate Change and the Military/Industrial/Consumerist Complex

on March 21, 2022 in Education, Events

Climate Change and the Military/Industrial/Consumerist Complex I received this invitation from a friend who helps lead the local Sierra Club chapter who didn’t know J. B. was a guest on This Sustainable Life and that I loved his work. I registered and hope to see you there. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see the video essays I did about his book The Once and Future World. I[…] Keep reading →

Rhythmic beauty about the stars, Sun, Moon, and Earth I bet you’ve never noticed

on February 17, 2022 in Education, Models, Nature

You probably learned that the Earth wasn’t flat, nor at the center of the universe, and figured you knew the right answers for why everything seemed to rotate around it: the stars, sun, and moon. If Earth was at the center and the stars, sun, and moon rotated around it, it would like like it does. That model explains what we see simply. So why do they look that way?[…] Keep reading →

The point of democracy, in my opinion

on February 7, 2022 in Education

The point of democracy is not to win, but to recognize we all disagree on some things, so to figure out how to live together despite the differences. Is this view obvious to everyone and too obvious to say? I don’t think it’s deep, but I don’t remember hearing it said, not that I’d look for it. I can also imagine not many people not having thought this thought. I[…] Keep reading →

Advice to a young adult in 2021

on December 2, 2021 in Education, Leadership, Nature, Tips

A father in one of my online communities asked people for what advice they’d give to a twelve-year-old. I’m not a father and haven’t been twelve since the 1980s, so I don’t know how appropriate for that age, but here was my answer: Not knowing the kid (barely knowing myself), I can only guess at his interests and situation, but here’s what I would want someone to tell me if[…] Keep reading →

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