Hi everyone, it is good to be back and getting into some kind of cadence as I really feel like winter is nearing its end here. We just finished up our wintering book club last night, literally on the book titled wintering. It’s such a lovely small gathering of folks, and I always leave feeling warmer and happy to connect around shared questions and meaning making.
We’re starting our spring book club! we’re reading The Creative Act, A Way of Being, and I want you to join! We need creative educators out there! We need educators that aren’t afraid to shine their lights. And even if you don’t find yourself in some sort of traditional teacher role, that’s okay– if you are responsible for creating learning spaces in any capacity, we mean you. Because we want to put all of us, from different angles, in a room and see where we can grow with each other. Book clubs are a part of our we are verbs group for educators, which is free or donation based, your choice. Sign up and come! There is plenty of time to get the book– it is such an easy read with gems throughout. I know our conversations are going to be really rich. Our first meeting is the end of March, but even if you can’t come at that time, you can share your thoughts on We Are Verbs asynchronously.
Did you KNOW that we have a growing community of educators who are dedicated to focusing on regeneration? Were you even aware?! Come on, you know you want to join up! It’s your chance to join book clubs like the one I was just talking about but also community skillshares– we’ve got an AWESOME skillshare coming up with Maanit who is a brilliant high school student who created a simulation game about palm oil extraction, and he’s been sharing this game with teachers so they can share it with their students, and he wants to share it with us! I mean, come on! It’s on March 9, it will be recorded. It’s on We are Verbs.
Today is a special podcast because I’m chatting with Jess, my twin, who is also the cofounder of Rust Belt Fibershed and so many other other things but I won’t go into the laundry list because what you need to know is she’s my sister, she’s here and well with a new baby in tow and I for one am so very very very grateful that she is here and well and that we can continue our chats like we have since the womb I assume, before we were making actual English words. This morning we were chatting about the Norfolk Southern Train Derailment that is so close to our houses and talking about what it has to do with extraction and systems like education– you know, a normal conversation for us– it’s actually funny, sometimes our husbands will say “What’s Jess up to today” and I’ll say, “I’m not sure” and he’ll say “didn’t you talk to her three times since you’ve woken up?” and I’ll say “yes, but we were talking about ___ fill in the blank, like extractive systems or wahtever. I’m lucky, I’m so blessed to have her in my life, I do not take it for granted, and I’m happy that you get to hear a little insight into our conversations today in this casual recording.
You’ll hear us cover a lot of ground– we obviously talk about the train derailment but also get into somehow SAT test prep– it’s all connected! Haha.
As we talk about this train derailment disaster, the main thing we keep swinging back around to is– and, I mean, if you know the podcast you probably already know– connection. Connection to our place, our community, and even where our materials come from, which is something we talk a lot about in our Rust Belt Fibershed work.
The ecological disaster is obviously incredibly complex– we really only scratch the surface. And one thing that we got into after we got off Zoom and we continued to talk in the car on Jess’s way to our grandma’s house, the problem is not just in not being connected to our own communities. Yes, that is a problem, in a world where everything is outsourced, we move around a bit more, and, again, we’re generally disconnected from where food and clothes and other materials come from especially in the US, BUT the main thing we were discussing in the car is not just that we need to be more embedded in place, but that we also need freedom exceptionally huge corporations that are demolishing the earth in the name of shareholder profits.
The community of East Palestine may not be completely connected to the origin story of where their stuff comes from or to each other– I can’t say– but if they fit the bill of most small rural communities they probably have a better chance at that than, say, even Cleveland. The problem isn’t that as much as powerful interests deciding to literally railroad their way through without much care for those people who are building their communities.
If we take it full-circle, again, we do see though that those who are not so connected to their materials are the ones okay with buying/pushing out the plastic consumer goods that are being produced in the factories where that train with the hazardous materials were headed. So, we all are to blame.
I just read a study that shared that in a study by the Ohio EPA, pre-this disaster, up to 50% of Ohio’s bodies of fresh water are not safe for swimming in because, mainly, of the manufacturing or the factory farms– basically, another type of shameful manufacturing though it has the word farm in it– what that does to our waterways.
I want to emphasize a few resources now before we get into the podcast.
We end up talking a lot about water, which needs to be protected from these giant interests who do not have the local ecology, of which humans are a part, in mind. We now that indigenous communities have a wisdom in this area that needs to be heeded. Please consider donating to the Water Protector Legal Collective https://www.waterprotectorlegal.org/ which is an indigenous-led legal nonprofit that provides support and advocacy for INdigenous peoples and Original Nations, the Earth, and climate justice movements. Maybe if you get your tax deductions back and find yourself with a few extra bucks, this would be a great place to spend it, as our indigenous communities are fighting hard to protect water but they need legal support.
We also chat a bit about how things that are taken out of place and manipulated by what we think is technology in the name of what we say is progress is an extractive and disrespectful process of pulling things out of proportion, out of equilibrium, to a point where these elements were in their right state in the ecosystem but in the name of progress and profit, marches forward without contemplating the irreversible damage done.
We also mention some other things that I’ll link in the show notes, things like mycoremediation, other interviews, studies, and more.
FINALLY! One more thing before I get into the podcast: we talk so much about place in this podcast that I put together some resources for you– a workbook on place! It will come right to your inbox, link is in the show notes. Totally free, it will take 2 seconds, and you’ll get inspiration, analogies, great reflection questions for yourself, your own educational practice. There are some teaching tips in there and project ideas, and there’s also a really helpful breakdown of the us department of education’s mission statement with some interesting questions for you. Do you knwo what their mission statement is?! Anyways, I highly recommend the workbook- you’ll have it in your inbox in two seconds, unless of course it goes to spam so checkt here, link in notes.
Without further ado, I hope you enjoy this slightly-meandering twin talk with my sister Jess, who was nursing a babe while chatting with me, which has been the norm recently, and I love it.
get the free place workbook
come to the herbs for educators east palestine benefit
donate to water protector legal collective
join we are verbs
A mini-podcast about place specifically for whatever type of educator you are on we are verbs (scroll down to october message recordings)