Dear Learning Gardeners,
Today is my last day as a tenured faculty member at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna British Columbia. I resigned from UBCO to move back to my hometown of Vancouver, and to focus on the work of climate change education that I have been dedicated to for some time now.
Stay tuned for further adventures.
As we learned in the garden, life keeps moving forward, as I’m sure many of you are now learning in your work as educators all over the world. . . .
In 2005, we started the Learning Garden after the release of a serious IPCC report on climate change. The garden officially opened in 2006, thanks to the hard work of a very dedicated crew. Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, was inspiring a sea change in how the mainstream thought about climate change. Pope Francis wrote a ground-breaking encyclical, Laudato Si, focussed on the impacts of climate change on the global poor. At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.
A lot has happened since we planted those first carrots. But, even as the current US President pulls the United States out of the deal...the ParisAgreement continues.
Today, twelve years after a small group of us walked bravely out onto that unused "back of the campus" piece of land, to create a drought tolerant garden, I still think it was the garden that influenced us more – than we could even design or model – it.
I still believe, more than ever, that we can all, in our different ways, help make the world a better place.
Working with people in the parts of the world now devastated by climate change, has only reinforced my belief in the power of this work. No matter what happens, the sun rises. And no matter what happens, we can still plant something - purple carrots, chilies, maize, kale. We can still write poems. We can still live poetically.
Thank-you so very much to all of the students who worked on the Learning Garden, since 2005. You are way too many to mention by name...you know who you are! Class after class visited the garden each Fall, and each Spring/Summer brought the work (and the songs!) that helped those future visits bear fruit.
Thank you, also, to the amazing UBC Okanagan Facilities crew who were always so helpful and encouraging, from the very first day. Thank you to the local small businesses who took the leap of faith to support the garden.
We all have our own memories of the Learning Garden, and it is a project that literally continues in the work and ideas of all who visited and found inspiration.
Thank you to the Syilx/Okanagan First Nation people on whose land the Learning Garden, and traditional Firepit, were placed. Thank you for welcoming my students and I.
Thanks to the red-winged blackbirds.