By Paul Hawken
From a commencement speech given at the University of Portland, May 3, 2009.
When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” No pressure there. Let’s begin with the startling part. Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation… but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, civilization needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.
by Victoria Lewis
Spawned out chinook salmon, brown , spotted and beak-nosed lie dead in the shallow water near the banks of the Salmon River in the Wildwood Recreation Area at the foot of Mount Hood.
The smell of rotting fish is sharp and pervasive, but Jill Semlick’s Pauling Academy ecology students ignore the odor. They are busy yanking off their shoes and snapping the clips of their chest waders. The bridge upstream is under construction and the high school students must ford the cold, fast-moving river to reach their research sites on the other side. (more…)
By Kristina K. Sullivan
“Knowledge of the nearest things should be acquired first, then that of those farther and farther off.” — Comenius, 17th C. educator (Dubel and Sobel, 2008)
On the day of my twenty first birthday, I arrived in the small Appalachian town of Whitesburg, Kentucky (population 2,000) on a university field study. Though not yet a credentialed teacher, I was assigned the position of reading specialist for a small group of unmotivated yet adequately intelligent 5th-7th grade students at Cowan School, about five miles off the main highway.
It took very little time to discover that the traditional methods of schooling were not going to work, the problem exacerbated by my status as a California “outsider”. At that idealistic age despair was not a consideration; I had no choice but to embrace our differences. Rather than following a rote lesson plan, it seemed more promising to ask them questions about themselves.