These are unprecedented times! We’ve heard that so often now, it almost loses it’s meaning. I was at a friend’s house in Penticton this summer and she was packing up her most treasured possessions for fear of the fires that seem to be coming a summer event in the interior of British Columbia. Her husband had just installed sprinklers on the roof in an attempt to ward off potentially uncontrollable fire. Down south in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, at our family cabin, Silver Lake had the lowest water level I’ve ever seen. Getting into the boat from the dock was a long drop down. Fires burned a large chunk of the Sequoia National Forest and in California to the ground and the smoke wafted in and out obscuring the view and clogging our lungs. Fires were closing down portions of the Coquihalla Highway at the same time in British Columbia. Fires, eye stinging smoke and evacuations plagued populations of people and animals from British Columbia to California. People were praying for rain. That was the answer.
And then the rain arrived. Pelting storms, unprecedented amounts of rain breaking records of years gone by. Flood waters and mudslides closing down highways, breaking dikes, more evacuations, more unprecedented damage and tragic loss of life.
We are seeing things that certainly were not part of my childhood. Our children are seeing things that are changing what we consider to be unprecedented. There is a prevalent sense of doom with fires, floods and the COVID pandemic sparking references to Armageddon. However there are reasons for the things we are seeing. It is imperative for educators to focus on inquiry rather that fanning the flames of fear. I do believe that our children may well be the ones who step up to deal with important issues around climate change. However, many of our children feel overwhelmed by the notion that they are responsible for solving the climate crisis. Supporting our children in learning to love the environment and ask questions is within our grasp. The power of nature and the forces that impact that power need to be observed and questioned. The work of Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert can be put to good use in providing a frame for meaningful inquiries for educators framing their outdoor learning and for students asking their own questions. I highly recommend their book – the Spiral Playbook – Leading with an inquiring mindset in school systems and schools (2017) to support your planning.
Questions to ask. Things to learn. Plans to be made.
Another Wild About Vancouver Wednesday post