Books to read on World Environment Day

So today is World Environment day and the theme is ‘Choose to Refuse’.

What can you Choose to refuse?

 – Plastic bags?

 – Single use coffee cup?

 – A plastic straw?

 – Some plastic cutlery?

 – Throwaway plates at a celebration?

 – Single use napkins?

And which books can inspire you to make sure you don’t add more rubbish to the world we live in?

 A bag and a bird

Seagull

Ten rubber ducks

My Green Day

The Lorax

Out of the Blue

The tomorrow Book

Squishy Taylor and the Tunnel of Doom

 

 

 

Check out this great resource too: http://worldenvironmentday.global/en/get-involved/toolkits#brand-toolkit

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Real Kids, Real play by Alice Zsembery

So, at what point did we fall in to the trap of believing that buying things makes memories? 

Alice Zsembery’s book: Real Kids, Real play is amazing and many parents should have it sitting on their bookshelves for those days when children call out that they are bored, when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day or just days when you want to have some fun without dipping into your wallet.

The premise behind the creation of this book was to make the job of parenting (or caring) for young kids easier, less stressful and a lot more fun – which resonates so strongly with me.

In this book there are over 150 activities for children aged 0-5 that can be done in your home with your own things – paper plates, toilet rolls, sticky tape,cardboard boxes, potatoes, bed sheets….the list goes on!

There is little need for you to go to the shops to buy an item to do any of these activities which is fantastic for those who are time poor or sleep deprived!

And although these activities may not be instagram worthy because they are not as pretty as some, the hours of entertainment these activities provide are so much more important. These ideas are just what you need to not only give yourself a break from trying to be the perfect parent but they are gifts to your child as they allow them time to use their imagination and be creative.

We loved making our own car lot,

camping inside and the backyard

colouring water and turning it into ice

and of course the good old celery trick!

Any new parent who doesn’t mind getting down with their kids, having a play day at home or reusing that old cardboard box will love this book. And perhaps those who just need a bit of a break will be inspired to try some activities out too.

This book comes with free printables at http://realkidsrealplay.com.au and fabulous praise from Maggie Dent, parenting expert.

Head on over to http://realkidsrealplay.com.au to buy your copy for yourself or someone you know who needs it!

Join my facebook group and page where we discuss ways parents and teachers can engage children through literacy and play about big issues in the real world

Educateempower – https://www.facebook.com/educateempower11/

Globally conscious children – https://www.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457/

The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van T Rudd

It has painted on lights and a bark numberplate that keeps falling off and we have to remake it.


The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van T Rudd is a fun book filled with onomatopoeia, vibrant adjectives and outside active play.

As you read through this story the energy seeps out of the pages as the children tumble through the streets, run up and down hills and zoom along on their homemade bike.

Set in a small village on the edge of the No -Go Desert, the children need to make their own fun. The children get inventive and create their own bike made from old bits and pieces (and perhaps some things that mum might need…). They create wheels out of wood, a number plate out of bark and handlebars out of branches. These children use their imagination and problem solving skills to create a bike that can shicketty shake them over sandhills and winketty wonk them through fields.

This book is lots of fun to read and really makes you think – that if you didn’t have access to toys, televisions and screen then perhaps more of this would take place in our backyards and parks. Perhaps more children would be outside playing, thinking creatively and using up their extra energy.

The Patchwork Bike is a celebration of children and play and the joy of owning a bike. The artwork in this story is superb and more can be seen here. Each page exudes energy, we can see the children playing at all times of the day and all over the village. We can feel the joy and smell the freedom these children have despite the fact they do not have much more.

The Patchwork bike is Shortlisted for the 2017 CBCA and I’m thinking it has a good chance of winning!

So what can you do to link this to Sustainability? 

  1. Look at some ‘junk’ you have at home and create a bike, pushcart or scooter! Draw up plans first and then create. What extra things do you need? How will it work?
  2. Can any of the toys or things you don’t need anymore go somewhere else apart from the bin? Charity? Garage sale? Repair cafe? A friend?
  3. Explore local repair cafes and see how they fix up things that many people think are useless junk.
  4. How can you create less waste in your life? Do you really need to latest toy? Can you make do with simple things and still have fun?
  5. Try to pick up less free things just because they are free. This especially includes toys that are given as part of store giveaways – you can sign my petition here to stop this.

 

 

The coffee cup

A few weeks ago I blogged about and sometimes you forget – which many readers found solace in considering many of us lead busy lives and just sometimes those coffee cups get forgotten.

img_6667

Well there seems to be an answer to this forgetting right here in Sydney.

Although it’s still not ideal and waste is still created – a 96% recyclable cup has been created. The first place to trial this cup will be Toby’s Estate in Chippendale. This cup can  be turned into paperback covers and other paper and cardboard products BUT it does need to be dropped into a recycle me box in order for this to happen properly.

It would be wonderful if we always remembered our reusable cup or took the time to have our tea and coffee at the cafe – but it is good to know there is an environmentally answer to those times we do forget.

Perhaps it is time to talk to your regular cafe and ask them what they are doing to make a difference to the waste their customers create. Either offer a discount or start to invest in these recyclable cups.

And sometimes you forget

Every day I try to be the most environmentally friendly person I can be and every day I hope that I am inspiring my children to also be friendly to the world they live in. 

But sometime life and convenience gets in the way.

Today, on the way home from a weekend away my husband wanted a coffee for the long drive ahead-and the keep cup was buried somewhere underneath our luggage. 

He could have done without but sometimes after sleepless nights with young children a coffee is a necessity! 

So rather than feeling Eco-guilty and beating myself up about it,  I can choose to recycle the lid and reuse the non-recyclable coffee cup. 

So here are some cups full of soil and seed! We know these cups are going to last a while so they can easily live in the garden and withstand heat, cold and water. 

Teach your children to care about the word they live in but don’t let them fear the world. Educate them so they are empowered to make the right decisions and if they have to take the option which isn’t ideal, teach them what they can do. 

We don’t want to burden our children with fear. We want to give them knowledge and tools to live an informed life. 

And remember -books are a great way to help with this education! Check out my list of books that link to sustainability. 

L

How to teach your child about fair trade: clothing.

What we buy plays a huge role in so many people’s lives  – how much they are paid, health effects of how the clothes are made and environmental impact of the clothing production.


How can you teach your child about fair trade in regards to clothing? How can you be more aware of what you buy so you are reducing your footprint on the earth and it’s people?

Grab some clothes from your drawers and with your child:

  • Look at where they have come from. Using a map of the world see where those countries are.

(The closer the clothes are made the better! This means less plane kilometres(less pollution) and the likelihood that the people who made your clothes have been not been paid that well) 

  • Look at what your clothes are made from – many are plastic based – do you have many natural fibres?

(Plastic based clothes take more time to break down and therefore have a longer lasting impact on the environment. The people who work with these materials are more likely to have their health impacted upon)


  • With the same pile of clothes work out which ones you have bought brand new, brought form an op shop or been handed down to.

(Clothes can be quite cheap so many of us are happy to buy and wear once. Try to visit an opshop for your clothes, wear your clothes for more than one season and pass on used clothes to others)

  • How many of these clothes are worn out?

(Many cheap clothes will not last very long but will hang around for 100’s of years. Try to invest in clothes that last longer – this doesn’t always mean the most expensive brand will last longer!!) 

Talk together about what you are going to do to lessen your clothing impact on the world!  Then have a read of these books to inspire some fun activities and change!

Schumann the Shoeman and The Very hungry bum.

 

Whatcha Building? by Andrew Daddo and Stephen Michael King

It’s exactly what this town needs.

I adore this book, Whatcha Building? by Andrew Daddo and Stephen Michael King is a story about endings and new beginnings, imagination and determination and a sense of community.


The old milk bar around the corner from young Davey’s house in being pulled down and a new building is replacing it. Davey observes the daily deconstruction of the milk bar and each day takes a piece of timber home. The builder and the reader’s imagination run wild with all the possibilities of what young Davey might be building.

It’s only until right at the end the masterpiece is unveiled with a timely message for us all.

I love the illustrations in this story as they not only accompany the text but they add more  depth to each page. Stephen Michael King has used recycled garbage, cardboard, pen and ink to create the illustrations and this combination brings life to the story. Throughout the images we can get a real sense of the community at work and the role we all play in our environment.

So what else can you do with this book? 

Sustainability

  • We all throw out too much and many of this can be reused or recycled. Investigate what you can do with things that are no use to you anymore. Rather than just throwing them out can you create something new? Give it to someone else? Or recycle it in the best possible way.
  • Create your own doll sized house purely from recycled and reused materials.
  • What sort of materials are best for the environment? Compare and contrast different types of floorboards available to the community – work out which ones are best using categories such as value for money, ecological impact and community impact.

Global values

  • Watch building really makes us think about how important people and space is to each of us. Many of us get caught up in consumption and needing the best of everything. Is there a place in your community where people can come together?
  • Design a space where people of all ages and backgrounds can come to share the love of where they live – without having to buy things.

Literacy

  • Look at the slang used throughout the story – what do each of these slang words mean? How does this portray Dave the builder?
  • What is the significance of Davey not saying many things throughout the story?

 

Some great thinking questions:

Do endings always have new beginnings?

If all the buildings in your town were replaced how would that effect your community both negatively and positively? 

Select one architect who has changed the way we build sustainably. Find out how they approach design and how they want to improve life for all.

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Let me know how you go! It’s a beautiful book – I hope you can enjoy it too.

Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood

How does music allow us to connect with others?

If waste did not exist, how would your lifestyle be changed?

Poverty is a necessary evil – do you agree or disagree?

Ada’s Violin (The story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay), written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport is a true story is told about the people who live in Cateura in Paraguay, a town on the edge of a garbage tip.

Have you ever wondered what happens to all of the rubbish you put in your bin?

I am sure many of us never put a second thought to it, especially if you live in a developed country where tips are away from human habitation.

What we put in our bins should be on our mind as landfill is taking up more space with more things that will never break down. In a perfect world there would be no landfill as people would make their own food, recycle, reduce consumption and reuse products themselves or gift to others what they don’t need.

In the story of Ada’s Violin, The main character who is a young girl named Ada lives on the edge of the tip and often views the garbage truck as a vehicle of surprises – it could be full of toys, jewellery or even plastic which had a going rate of ten cents per pound.

Ada’s grandmother notices a sign up for music lessons and promptly enrols Ada but a large problem arises – the lack of instruments to learn on.

It was the creativity and persistence of Senor Gomez , Tito Romero and Senor Chaves that led to the creation of instruments made totally from junk !

After many hours of practise the Recycled Orchestra was born! This orchestra has since toured the world, enthralling audiences with their talent, amazing sound and ability to rise up from the poverty that bequeathed them.

So what can you do with this story?

Sustainability 

OI.3: Sustainable patterns of living rely on the interdependence of healthy social, economic and ecological systems.
OI.4 : World views that recognise the dependence of living things on healthy ecosystems, and value diversity and social justice, are essential for achieving sustainability.
  • Investigate where your landfill goes in your neighbourhood. Are their any tips that recycle rubbish?
  • Investigate how long different items take to break down.
  • Investigate poverty in the world – how many people in the world are living on the edge of a tip? How many people live off a tip. Is it fair that people live like this?
  • Reflect on your own waste habits – do you do enough to minimise landfill? Keep a rubbish diary and note how much you throw out to waste for a week. How much do you recycle? Use for compost/wormfarm/backyard animals?

Music & Science

  • Create your own instrument out of rubbish. How can you make it solely of rubbish? What can you use for glue? binding?

Literacy

  • Investigate the word ‘recycled’. What does it mean to you? What did it mean to Ada? Explore how we can go beyond the meaning in the dictionary depending on perspective and context.
  • Investigate the word ‘orchestra’ .  What does it mean to you? What did it mean to Ada? Explore how we can go beyond the meaning in the dictionary depending on perspective and context.
  • What does this quote mean to you? They had discovered the surprise waiting in the landfill. Buried in the trash was music. And buried in themselves was something to be proud of.
  • How do the illustrations help the story? Explore different pages throughout the book to highlight how they work together.

    ** Create your own recycled instrument, write a description of it – how it looks, how it is made and the items you would need to create it.

    ** This is a story about music. Does it make music throughout the story? How does this book sound? Explore musical words and sounds throughout the story.

    Two lessons for you: 

    Lesson One

    To help students re ne their understanding of the word recycle, have them complete a concept wheel about the Recycled Orchestra. Have students answer the following questions on the appropriate section of the wheel, using both words and illustrations:

    • What does recycled mean? What does orchestra mean?
    • Who recycled? Who is part of an orchestra?
    • Where did this recycling take place? Where can orchestra’s be?
    • What did they recycle? What music did they play?
    • Why did they recycle? Why did they want to be in an orchestra?
    • What were the results of the recycling? What were the results of creating this orchestra?

    Lesson Two

    In order to create the Recycled Orchestra, Favio Chávez had to solve several problems. Explain how he solved the following problems:

    • Problem #1: There were not enough instruments for the children.
    • Problem #2: It wasn’t safe for the children to have expensive instruments.
    • Problem #3: There were no classrooms.

    • Problem #4: The children struggled as they learned to play their instruments.

     

The Very Hungry Bum by Claudia Rowe

I love this book so much! Luckily my children love it to so I can read it to them over and over.

hungrybum

What would you do if you had a bum that was so hungry it would eat not only your underpants but sleeping bags, butterflies and tennis racquets? That’s one of the many great questions we can use when reading this book.

But why am I linking this into my blog on books about sustainability? Well humour can get us a long long way and while many environmental books are hopeful they are often quite sad too.

I have really wanted to blog about this book as I feel that the issue of bums eating underpants is a major issue!

Just recently clothes have started to become cheaper and cheaper and becuase of this we have become more of a throwaway society, not worrying if a shirt rips after one use as it was only $5. These clothes are ending up in landfill too quickly and too easily. We need to make more of a conscious effort.

So how can reading this book inspire thought in you and your children or students?

  • Look at how clothes are made. Choose an item of clothing in your house, see what it is made from and then research this material or item.
  • Map on the world where all the clothes in your house come from – this will raise an interesting discussion. Can you change this somehow?
  • How is a pair of underpants made? Guess how it is sewn together, how pictures are placed on these and what the material is made of. Research and check your hypothesis.
  • How can we ensure clothes last? Look at the types of materials that last longer by using some websites of companies whose aim is to make clothes that last forever such as:  http://www.buymeonce.com/clothes/ and http://textilebeat.com/category/clothing-waste/
  • Is it really cheaper to buy cheap clothes that need to be replaced more often?  Use clothing catalogues of cheap store and then add up the price of a different items and compare to a more ethical brand. Ask your child what they think is the best outcome for the long term? What would they prefer? There are many arguments for and against but try to keep in mind being sustainable!
  • Research Australian companies that have cheap, throwaway goods. Find out their ethical statements about impact on the environment. Do you really think they are following through with this? Write them an email to them to ask further questions.
  • How are clothes made or how were they made in more traditional societies or in the past?
  • CREATE: How can we use these goods when they are no longer able to be used for their original use? Look at Reverse Garbage and upcycle projects to create some ideas. Create your own new item from old clothes and plastic objects.
  • Literacy: Parodies – what are they and how have they been used? Create your own parody of a well known book (see the others Claudia Rowe has!)

 

LINKS TO THE CURRICULUM

SCIENCE

Different materials can be combined for a particular purpose (ACSSU031)

Natural and processed materials have a range of physical properties that can influence their use (ACSSU074)

DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY

Recognise the role of people in design and technologies occupations and explore factors, including sustainability that impact on the design of products, services and environments to meet community needs (ACTDEK010)

Investigate food and fibre production and food technologies used in modern and traditional societies (ACTDEK012)

Examine how people in design and technologies occupations address competing considerations, including sustainability in the design of products, services, and environments for current and future use (ACTDEK019)

Critique needs or opportunities for designing, and investigate materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to achieve intended designed solutions (ACTDEP024)

SUSTAINABILITY

OI.6 The sustainability of ecological, social and economic systems is achieved through informed individual and community action that values local and global equity and fairness across generations into the future.

OI.7 Actions for a more sustainable future reflect values of care, respect and responsibility, and require us to explore and understand environments.

OI.8 Designing action for sustainability requires an evaluation of past practices, the assessment of scientific and technological developments, and balanced judgements based on projected future economic, social and environmental impacts.

OI.9 Sustainable futures result from actions designed to preserve and/or restore the quality and uniqueness of environments.