“Until we shift our mindset in regards to our relationship with our blue planet, we will continue to be parasites to our blue planet.”
-Jacob Aringo

STEAM:Gaia Class 2019 @ Candle Stick Point State Park

On a recent field trip, I said this quote to our student and it made our students think about how we are interacting with our planet. The definition of a parasite is a relationship between two entities where one takes away resources from another entity without giving back resources, leaving the second entity weaker. As STEAM:Gaia students process the essential question, “How am I guardian to our blue planet?” I’m finding it really challenging shifting the mindset as they grew up in a culture where consumerism and having more is the key to happiness and success. On the other hand, as we consume we take resources from another area where workers are being paid less, abused, where we have to cut down forests, where we to hunt endangered animals to attain those resources. The consumerist culture is a parasitic culture and an unsustainable one. How do we shift our relationship with our earth so that our relationship with the different living entities on earth is mutual?

To start answering that question, our students need to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. Though this was not our project launch due to the timing of the field trip, it gave our students an appreciation of our bay, of our national parks and the green spaces that are inequitably distributed in San Francisco.

I want to acknowledge that this Eco-Adventure wouldn’t have existed without the partnership between SF Environment and Literacy for Environmental Justice. I am deeply appreciative of the work that Ryan and Quang, Literacy for Environmental Justice Facilitators, did to provide our students meaningful and engaging experiences at the Candlestick Point State Park as this experience provided context on how to answer our driving question. Another aspect that I appreciated is the importance of circles and community building they structured as they believed that you can’t save the planet without building community. This is our 3rd year connecting with Literacy for Environmental Justice and they’ve always provided immersive workshops for our students. Our STEAM: Gaia students appreciated the time outside of the classroom as it provided them context on how they can be guardians of their planet. Below are some snippets of what our students did at Candlestick Point State Park.

As an entry project, the outcome of “The Promise of Guardian Quest” is for all of our students to create a contract with Gaia and the contract is a poetic one as I used the following videos as a model and our project launch.

At the end of this project cycle, students will create a video with their poetic contract narrated over it which also means I’m providing them practice on how to use the video editing software, OpenShot Editor and Audacity, so they synthesize all of the graphics, video, and music they downloaded into this visual contract. We are currently in the last process of this project and will be finished with it on November 15th, so please come back to this post to see the poetic contracts that our students made for our earth.

Sample Videos will be posted on or before November 18. Come back again.

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