Saturday, January 27, 2018

"Rivers and Stories" by Robert Hass, and global oneness project

Today I read the excellent essay "Rivers and Stories" by Robert Hass.

It was in my morning email from the global oneness project I subscribed to a few years ago. It came with the usual lesson plan for professors and teachers who care about human and nonhuman communities on spaceship Earth.  The global oneness project is a gem in the mines of the Internet.  The Lesson Plan of the Week - January 26, 2018, quoted Hass: “I tell my students—and this is a time when they come in very worried with a sense of ecological catastrophe, which an earlier generation of students didn’t have—I tell them that part of their job is to have more fun. They’ve got to get out and enjoy themselves in the world. The first part of that job of reclaiming is to walk in the world. Look at this creature life. Watch the sunrise, watch the sun go down. Look at the stars and smell wet earth after rain and stand by a river. Stand by a living river and then go stand by the Huangpu or some other river, and you have to notice that there are no birds there to understand what’s happened, and that takes some experience.”

There are too many great lessons from global oneness project to list here. Here are some my students enjoyed: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking on the reality of being "interdependent [, . . . . ] interrelated"; Earthrise film trailer and historyInto the Middle of Nowhere film and lessonWelcome to Canada (about "a young Syrian refugee granted asylum in Canada in 2014, who is now counseling newly arrived refugees"); Wright's Law (a high school physics teacher talks about empathy and love); On the Verge of Displacement [in Ethiopia] which cites recently passed elder Ursula K. Le Guin: "Through story, every culture defines itself and teaches its children how to be people and members of their people—Hmong, !Kung, Hopi, Quechua, French, Californian…” [ . . . ] “What a child needs, what we all need, is to find some other people who have imagined life along lines that make sense to us and allow some freedom[ . . . .]; and "Lesson Plan Witnessing Icebergs".

Another good one is My Enemy, My Brother which I used with the prompt "Write about a surprise ending."

The global oneness project reminds me of a quote by Albert Camus: "The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself." and another by Chief Arvol Looking Horse: "Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger? Know that you yourself are essential to this world. Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this world. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending."  For those just getting started, or helping students understand, watch this seven and a half minute PBS NewsHour video Why 2 degrees Celsius is climate change’s magic number.

Thanks to many visitors this week from Ukraine, Canada, Russia, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

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