For weeks my friends in Kuala Lumpur have been suffering from horrible AQI, due in large part because of the burning in Indonesia. Students there have had only a handful of days this school year where they could play outdoors. Finally, last week it got to such a level that schools were closed and several of my friends there fled town, mostly heading to Phuket.
This week I have a week’s break from school and, ironically, as I headed to Phuket myself for a few days of relaxing on the beach the bad air has reached here. Yesterday and today I only ventured out for short walks, which has done lots for my goal to read more, but little for my goal to spend more time outside. The view from my window looks like this:
Now the rains have blown in, so we may have better air tomorrow, but what about all of the people (and animals) suffering in Indonesia? It will take way more than a rainstorm to quell the fires there.
As I sit in my airconditioned hotel room enjoying the storm I am reading The Uninhabitable Earth (or the doomsday book as my friends Sandy and Tom call it) and watch Greta Thunberg on repeat. I know it is not enough that I have turned off my ac, downloaded apps on my phone to alert me to how sustainable the palm oil in the products I buy is, cut way back on my meat consumption, and other tiny steps. One of my “jobs” while on break is to write a guest blog post on the earth friendly initiatives in Phnom Penh, and at this moment it all feels futile, but I am awed and inspired by Greta and the 15 other young people “from across the world are petitioning the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to hold five of the world’s leading economic powers accountable for inaction on the climate crisis”. I am certain that the young people we teach today will continue to take action to make the world a better place and I hope that they continue to hold us all accountable too because it is far too easy to think, “What can I do?”
Thinking about our next unit “Innovation” followed by “Children’s Rights”- I know some third graders in Phnom Penh who will lead and inspire.
Just my random thoughts today- definitely not a coherent slice.