Refugees from Planet Earth

refugeesby Sarah at ProgressiveKid

War, disease, economic devastation, and catastrophic geologic and climate events create refugees every day. According to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants’  World Refugee Survey 2008, worldwide there are currently over 14 million. An additional 25 million people are displaced internally and so are not considered in refugee totals. In the Democratic Republic of Congo alone, the advances of Tutsi Rebels have displaced 200,000 people since August.

But those are just numbers. And they’re so big, it’s hard to understand what they even mean on a personal level, to the people who are refugees—and to the people who are not. Continue reading

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Wolf in the Mirror: Recovery and Redemption

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid for Wolf Awareness Week

For me, wolves are easy to love, and hard not to cry about. For starters, they are beautiful animals—strong, smart, fast, muscular, lean, furry, and at times they smile. As a friend (and fellow pack member) of dogs, I feel a natural affinity with wolves too. Dogs are, after all, the likely descendants of wolves who became friendly with humans, to our mutual benefit (you toss me a bone, and I’ll guard the cave). But besides their aesthetic appeal and doggish familiarity, they reflect what I like best in me, and what I and the rest of my human clan exiled from our nature a long time ago—our free, clear, and purposeful animal selves. Continue reading

Beyond Climate Change 101

Discovering a Life of Purpose Along the Way

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid

As with all meaningful change, there is no simple fix for our climate change crisis. There is no pill, band aid, 12-step formula, or “expert’s” advice to heal Earth or its life forms. There is no “clean” nuclear power that will preserve our current luxuries without risking even more environmental disaster, no green product that will redeem generations of overconsumption, no fluorescent light bulb that will reverse the excess of our industrialized systems, no recycling process that can restore forests, no zoo or seed bank that can preserve our world’s biodiversity, no replacement planet we can relocate to. For worse and for better we are stuck here with our mess and our weakness, our solutions and our strength. Continue reading

Climate of Fear, Climate of Hope

Worryby Julie at ProgressiveKid

Webster’s defines worrying as mental distress or agitation, usually over something impending or anticipated. It stems from fear—fear of what could or might happen but hasn’t yet and quite possibly never will. Worrying can’t actually prevent bad things from happening, and it has a way of spoiling the mood of the worrier and everyone around him or her. What’s worse, worrying has a way of spreading, like stomach flu, and it begs for attention. When we are around a worrier, we usually either take on the worry too or feel compelled to reassure the worrier, neither of which is a very good time. Continue reading

Hot and Bothered: Change for the Climate!

Plastic Bagsby Julie at ProgressiveKid

There is no shortage of nature loving in my extended family. Among us are hikers, bird watchers, gardeners, animal lovers, campers, and even a few eco-activists. When we travel, we often seek out parks and preserves or cabins on wild beaches, and we come back with a tedious number of photos of wildlife and nature scapes. So it is perplexing to me that many of them have failed to take basic steps to address climate change at home. I’ll admit, in fact, it is at times quite maddening, especially since I wrote a book on climate change, regularly blog about it, created an educational game on climate change, and make appearances to educate kids and parents on the subject. Continue reading

Forward to School, Not Back: Confronting Climate Change

Busesby Julie at ProgressiveKid

When children return to school this fall they will be exposed to the topic of climate change much more than ever before. Since the release in February of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report and the recent explosion of press coverage on global warming, more and more schools across the country are adopting climate change curriculum. Continue reading

Climate Change Change Begins at Home (and School)

kid hand with globeby Sarah at ProgressiveKid

A woman I know lives with her family in a house that backs up against a forest. The forest is being clear cut, a not so infrequent occurrence in this part of the country. One day, while the woman was on a business call in the house, her nine-year-old son rounded up his two younger brothers, and the three of them marched out onto the logging road and stood in front of an oncoming logging truck. Continue reading