*People pay thousands of dollars for education, yet listening is free. Nobody likes to be criticized. And to some extent, everyone displays some measure of defensiveness – the impulse to reject all criticisms by denying their validity and undermining the messenger.
Unfortunately, defensiveness does not serve us. It encourages us to ignore potentially useful feedback, which inhibits our ability to improve. It behooves us to rely on those with relevant qualification and expertise. We cannot learn that which we think we already know.
Listening isn’t something we’re all innately born with, and we’re all guilty of not listening at times. Listening is a skill just like reading, writing, and talking. That’s good news because it means we can all learn to listen and connect with the speaker. Like any skill, the more we practice it, the better we become. We have had practice reading, writing, and talking, but how much actual practice have we had learning how to become better listeners?
*“Don’t use that word!” This new, weird battle cry being barked by presidents, governors and protective moms somehow persists in the Land of the Free. Even casual conversation can be a tricky affair these days, with unlikely words laying in wait like landmines set to explode by the slightest touch, often causing unwanted clarification, heated debate or scolding.
*There is a giant gulf today between those who promote and profit from fossil fuels, including Presidents Trump and Putin, and our life support systems – Nature. In my latest book, Save Nature Now, I’ve dubbed it “Black Gold Fever,” a contagious excitement over the riches of fossil fuels.
Consider this, there has never been such an accumulation of money on our planet controlled by a handful of people. The bulk of that wealth was derived from killing Nature at the expense of the health of our biosphere, the livable space occupied by all living organisms.
Instead of prudently protecting our home, since 1997 earthlings have burned as much fossil fuel as the previous 250 years. Keep Reading
*There has never been a good answer to the question, “Why do we have to learn this?” Asked millions of times by millions of students, it is invariably responded to by teachers with avoidance tactics or gibberish because very often the real answer is: you don’t.
We invest heavily in information from the bell curve, yet ignore much of what it tells us. We know ahead of time that students like Jane, whose classidemic test scores fall in the center or the left of the standardized test bell curve, will not do well in Algebra or Biology class, yet we are compelled to require that they take those courses. Why? In order to give them a well-rounded education??
*We all need Nature. Nature provides us with powerful, free medicine that maintains our health and wellbeing especially in this man-made toxic 21st century.
Big, old trees are crucial as superlative carbon dioxide warehouses that also absorb mega amounts of pollution. Big trees regulate the climate, the water cycle, and provide priceless shade in the heat of the summertime as well as create vital habitat for creatures.
As the ancient ones age they increase, not decrease, in their ability to perform as Nature’s giant oxygen generators and carbon warehouses.
*On an autumn day in September of 1962, President John Kennedy challenged a nation to do the impossible and send a man to the moon in just seven short years. Perhaps the thing he his best remembered for other than his unfortunate death, we take his declaration for granted.
What is interesting is that at a time before digital calculators and watches, before microwave ovens and before TV shows were regularly broadcast in color, the audience at Rice University did not greet his proclamation that “We choose to go to the moon” with incredulousness, or appear to wonder how such a monumental goal might be achieved, but instead greeted it with eager applause and giddy enthusiasm.
The ocean-killing nation of Iceland intends on resuming commercial whaling on June 10. Its self-appointed quota of as many as 200 endangered fins, the second largest whales next to blues, is both illegal and morally wrong.
The sheer brutality of chasing until over-heated and then lancing our brethren, the whales, with harpooned-tipped grenades is horrific. Keep Reading
Teachers, school administrators, school boards and government agencies across America work diligently to educate our youth, yet the U.S. consistently ranks squarely in the middle of worldwide achievement in Science, Math and Reading. How can this be in what we all like to think of as the greatest nation on earth?
There are two underlying fundamental problems with the American education system in the 21st century. The first is that there is not now, nor has there ever been, an American Education System. From the time of the first New England schoolhouse to today, local education has been paid for by local tax dollars, with local government setting curriculum and standards for hiring teachers in accordance with the bidding of local voters.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors come from around the world to witness the spring majesty of Washington D.C.’s flowering cherry trees. This breathtaking event reminds us that trees are remarkable.
There are over 80,000 tree species and their progenitors have inhabited our planet for over 350 million years. They provide watersheds, supply drinking water for billions of people, protect cities from stormwater runoff, and reduce cooling costs to our homes and buildings by as much as 40 percent. City trees also absorb mega-tons of air pollutants each year.
Trees and ancient forests are superlative carbon dioxide warehouses. In return, ancient forests provide more than one of every three breaths of oxygen. Ancient forests provide invaluable habitat for animals. They are also vanguards of some of the most potent cancer, coronary and pain medicines known to science.