“Enough Food For Everyone IF…”

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Last year, I talked about reacquainting myself with Environmental Education and the reasons why I initially became involved in teaching and learning. In that post, I talked about Oxfam and the Land Grab campaign. For further information, click here.

Today gave me the opportunity to find out more about current global issues with the #BigIF event at Hyde Park. The stage was adorned with the phrase, ‘Demand G8 Action to End Hunger’.

The #BigIF event was remarkably well organised, with friendly, effervescent supporters and campaigners throughout the park.

The installation was awesome, though the photos struggle to do justice to its scale. However, the best image I have found can be viewed here.

The hosts for the event, Gethin Jones (@GethincJones) and Myleene Klass (@KlassMyleene) set the scene for the day, before introducing Danny Boyle to the participants. Danny talked about ‘People and Parks’ in his own inimitable way, before urging us to strive for our own Gold Medal for 2013…’the eradication of hunger’.

This sentiment was echoed by Bill Gates, who stated:

Ask yourself what you can do…then go out and do it.

The actor, David Harewood reminded us to visit www.enoughfoodif.org and tweet using the hashtag, #BigIF

Many in the crowd were seen to both tweet David Cameron and text him on 6777.

The speakers reminded us that world hunger is not a natural disaster, but a human one, with 3 million children dying every year, i.e. 25, 000 every day.

The phrases that resonated most were relayed by Jai Naidoo, who referred to Nelson Mandela, as well as Alvin Masiola and other guest speakers:
  • Tax dodging denies resources to those who need them most.
  • There must be no more empty promises…we need to close the loop holes.
  • Injustice will not be tolerated; it triumphs when people do nothing.
  • What we are attempting is an act of justice rather than charity.

We must:

Say no to hunger…it must not happen on our watch.
Encourage governments to do more.
Make our voices heard.
Be relentless in our demands for a just and fair world.
Show both solidarity and dignity.

Rather cliched maybe, but need to remind ourselves that we do not inherit the world from our ancestors. Rather, we borrow the world from our children.

Some of the banners that abounded, proclaimed the injustices of Multi National Corporations and Land Grabbing.

‘Food not Fuel’ was just one recommendation.

On the tube journey back, one fellow traveller stated that the highlight for him was the humble Satish Kumar, who had walked the 8000 miles from India to London in order to put the spotlight on the plight of the farmers, as well as global warming.

Another highlighted the performance of Lucy Rose (@lucyrosemusic).

On a personal note, the day made me consider again the quote:

‘What’ and ‘if’ are two words as non-threatening as words come. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: 

‘What if…?’

For further information about the #BigIF campaign and it’s associated partners, please click here, where you will find  links to:

amongst others.

Reflecting On The Week That Was…

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Well here I am writing my first ever blog post from the delights of a service station, Leicester Forest East on the southbound side to be precise, reflecting on ‘The Week That Was…’

The start of Spring Bank was shared with friends from Yorkshire, the highlight being a much anticipated visit to the Shard. The panorama was truly breath-taking, enhanced further by a stunning sunset and reflections both in the water and windows.

Now that I am no longer a full-time teacher, I do not view half terms breaks as holidays. My week involved training the wonderful Health Mentors of Evolve, first with Team Tarling in London, then with the Pioneers in Birmingham.

The Pioneers training day focused on importance of Reflective Practice (RP). We looked at the work of Brookfield and his 4 lenses to becoming a critically reflective teacher, as well as considering the influential work of Schon, Kolb et al.

However, it was not just published academics who were to inspire us. The Health Mentors also considered the wise words of Dave Hulston (@dhulston), from his work, ‘Roots and Routes’:
Who are we?
Where are we?
Where are we going?
These three underlying principles or guiding questions were developed further to include:
How are we going to get there?
Who will we travel with?

It was acknowledged that there are barriers to RP, mainly to do with time. However, the benefits of RP to both the individual and organisation are immense. We considered ways to facilitate RP, for example:

  • Self and peer assessment

  • Problem-based learning

  • Personal development planning/portfolios

The latter method included reference to the outstanding work of Oliver Quinlan (@oliverquinlan) who shared the blogs of students at Plymouth University. For further details, click here and here.

The words of Confucius were highlighted during the day:

By three methods we may learn wisdom:

First, by reflection, which is noblest;

Second, by imitation, which is easiest;

and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

With this in mind, we recognised that reflection often involves recognition of the mistakes we make. We realised that making mistakes are good, but only if we learn from them.

Later in the week I had the chance to catch up with Chris Mayoh (@chrismayoh) who was reflecting on his recent recce to Russia and how he now intends to take his latest route to the International School in Moscow. I admire Chris’ courage and look forward to hearing more.

So the end of an eventful, if not entirely relaxing week is here and I will reflect further, now knowing that: