Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No Connection

Just got back from the Earcos teachers conference held in KK, Borneo. The theme of the conference was; Our Global Impact My Responsibility, Service, Stewardship and Sustainability.

I started to feel uncomfortable about this conference when I found out that it was going to take 4 flights in total to get to this beautiful island paradise. At the time I didn't connect sustainability and the fact that the cost to stay in the beautiful 5 star resort for 4 night would pay my mae ban's salary for 2 months.

My roommate and I both felt distressed and I felt like I had made decisions about the conference without much thought. We decided to take action. We approached the gentleman who was in charge of the conference at the Thursday night cocktail hour and made a request. We asked if we could address the teachers the next morning before the keynote speaker and invite others to join us in a dialogue to look at ways to offset our carbon footprint at the conference and at future conferences. He said yes. The next  morning we ended up meeting with about ten other interested teachers and we came up with some great ideas like, providing teachers with community service opportunities before, during or after the conference, having a vegetarian day during the conference, having a way to offset our carbon footprint based on the air travel to get to the conference available to us at the conference. If you traveled on Malaysia Airlines  you can click on the link to find out how to offset your carbon emissions due to your flight.  We will organize a way for our fellow concerned colleagues to communicate and continue to work on ways to make conferences 'more green'.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Easter Island:The Collapse of a Society

Easter Island: The Collapse of a Society

"This video was created by the AS IFS group of the International School of Tainjin to Illustrate what can happen when a society overuses its' resource's. Please use this video to educate others and get animated and join the AS IFS." animatedstudents@gmail.com
 I saw these students present their videos at the Global Issues Network conference in Bangkok on March 20. Please take the time to watch this video. It is very powerful!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Twittering and my digital footprint

On Friday afternoon, while at the GIN conference, a fellow 20 -something year old teacher turned to me , after a particularly good workshop session, to say that she really felt the urge to twitter. I smiled at her. I realized that she was talking about doing something on her computer. I remembered hearing the term twitter in class but couldn't quite remember what twitter was about. From the context of our situation I assumed that she meant online chatting. I tucked the twitter encounter in the back of my head and decided that I would have to investigate twittering in the future.

To learn more about twitter go to www.en.wikipedis.org/wiki/Twitter

On Saturday, after attending the GIN conference, I decided that I really wanted to hear what other people were thinking about the conference so I did a google search. I found Dennis Harter's comments on his twitter. This was just too coincidental. I decided to go to the twitter website and sign up. I thought about how this would affect my digital footprint. Since I joined up for our tech classes my footprint has increased dramatically. Now when I google myself I get three pages of results when previously I has about three posts in total. I thought about what Silvia said. Maybe increasing my digital footprint is a good thing. I am out there and connect with the world on the web!

When I signed up for Twitter I was asked to fill out the typical information one is asked when joining a social networking site. This time when I was asked to type in my e-mail account and password. I thought, I don't want Twitter to go through my e-mail. I'll just give them a fake password. My strategy didn't work. No password no Twitter. Then I was asked to set up a user name. Again I paused. Is this the kind of tool where I want people to know who I am or should I assume an alias? Should I set up a special e-mail account that I use only for the specific purposed of registering to join networks? What's a person to do?

Global Issues Network Conference ISB Bangkok 2009

I have the privilege of being able to attend the GIN conference this weekend. The presentations and keynotes have been inspiring. Friday's opening keynote speaker was John D. Liu  www.earthshope.org We learned that environmental degradation can be reversed as illustrated by the Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation project that was started in 1995.

The afternoon's Keynote speaker was 17 year old Ryan Hrelijac  www.ryanswell.ca
Ryan was inspired to start building well's when he was 6 years old. He build his first well in 1999 in Uganda. His foundation has built 441 wells in 16 developing nations. 

Saturday morning we heard Dr. Mechai Viravaidya www.pda.or.th. He is affectionately known as Mr. Condom and his chain of restaurants and resorts in Thailand called cabbages and condoms provide good food and you bill will come will a condom in place of the traditional mint. Dr. Mechai has worked on zero population growth initiatives, HIV/AIDS education and now the 'Village development partnership model;sustainability through community empowerment and the village development bank." He says ' We should be moving away from the welfare approach;business is the only way out of poverty.'

Natasha Yogachandra, an 11th grade student at Rumrudee  started The hope is life foundation She has built libraries and schools in several countries in Africa and Asia.

Lek Chailert www.elephantnaturefoundation.org is an animal rights activist. Her passion is elephants and she advocates for the rights and welfare of elephants in Thailand. She told us to contact The Lonely Planet and other travel guides that suggest that tourists visit local attractions that exploit animals. We should ask these guide books to take a more socially conscious position and stop guiding people to venues where animals are not treated humanely.