Rachel’s Gift of Water

Children and young people see deeply into how we are one on this planet.

As one nine year-old, Rachel Beckwith, could ask that gifts for her birthday be giving water to others, each of us can imagine how we can turn our hopes into practical service for others to share in Mother Earth’s nourishment.  Imagine and act with love.  Rachel’s inspiration gives to all of us.

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Bike it! Takes a Load of CO2 off and Wakes You Up!

by Charlotte . . .

As one of our principal goals, the SaMoHi Solar Alliance (SSA) works to reduce our school’s carbon footprint through encouraging positive green behavioral changes in the SaMoHi student body and community. Currently, our largest campaign is Bike Day – a day in which we encourage students to get to and from school using alternative forms of transportation– such as walking, bicycling, skate boarding, and using public transit.

Using a carbon calculator, we determined that Samohi could prevent approximately 2,500 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere if every student and administrator rode his or her bike once a week.

Since our initial event in October of 2007, we have seen a tremendous increase in not only the number of Bike Day participants, but also in the number of students biking and using other forms of alternative transportation on a daily basis. The numbers have increased from an average of twelve bikes in the school bike racks on any given day in 2007 to an average of about 30 at the start of 2009. On Bike Days the numbers swell to over 100 student bikers and participants.

To encourage students to take part in Bike Days, SSA has set up a system of initiatives – offering free popsicles to all participants and raffles for prizes that range from donated bike bells and helmets to actual bikes. The event has grown into our school’s culture as students begin to anticipate the next Bike Day events.

Working recently with Samohi PTSA, we drafted a Bike Day/Bike Safety Proposition for Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) that the school board recently passed – expanding bike safety, education, and access throughout the district. The proposition also called for a district-wide Bike.

At this point in time, Bike It! has experienced a transition to the district-wide Bike It! Walk It! Day.  The district’s sensation has been driven by students and PTSA members.  SSA students have given presentations at the middle schools in order to encourage students on the benefits of biking and alternative transportation.  In June 2011, the success of the two district wide Bike It! Days in 2010-2011 school year got SSA a school district commendation, Santa Monica City youth commendation, and a Presidential Environmental Youth Award presented from President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency.  With this publicity, Bike It! Day has grown as a well-known and well-appreciated SMMUSD event including all schools willing to participate.

As one young woman joyfully exclaims, “The best thing about riding a bike is waking up.”

Happy 100th Birthday, Woody Guthrie!

One hundred years ago Woody Guthrie was born into his family and into ours as fellow human and biosphere beings.  His music and song move us on Mother Earth to confront the truth about how we live and take care of each other or not.  Truth and justice mattered in song and life to Woody, the “Dust Bowl troubadour.”  He died in 1967, and we still hear him.  We need to.  Listen.

“This Land is Your Land” lifted our voices and nourished our spirits beneath a blushing and glowing evening sky, two blocks away from the Pacific Ocean, as so many of us gathered together before the Santa Monica City Hall last January.  We readied ourselves to press our city council to advance our Sustainability Bill of Rights.  Hours later the council agreed, unanimously.

Our singing carried Woody’s spirit within us.  Our stance grows stronger each day that we recall him and his music and emulate what both stood for, then and now.

Friends at Rio+20

When we breathe deeply on Mother Earth, it’s uplifting to have friends and feisty allies to protect her. Explore how Linda Sheehan and her team at Earth Law Center persevere.

Linda has been a fabulous inspiration to us in Santa Monica as one of the lead-lawyers working with us to make our Sustainability Bill of Rights real and replenishing.