Earthday Webinar

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Thank you to everyone who attended our special webinar for Earthday 2010.

It was great to hear from so many teachers and classes from all over the USA, Canada and US Territories overseas. Putting together a webinar like that is never easy. Making sure there is enough information for the subject to be interesting, without overloading the facts and figures so as to completely confuse the audience is crucial. From the feedback we received so far, we just about got that right.

Dr Neal Lineback is used to speaking to prestigious audiences all over the world about climate change and environmental issues. But he is the first to admit that speaking to school audiences is often the most challenging, because our schools contain some of the most curious and analytical minds anywhere. Such analysis can result in questions like the one put to Neal during the ‘Florida Everglades’ section when a 6th Grade class asked “How do we protect our sugarlands?” A legitimate question, when we talk about conservation to protect the environment, we must also remember that there are communities and livelihoods that are also at risk. Environmental protection should be considered and controlled. It is a question of balance. Take the battle between renewable energy proponents who want to put solar panels in the Mojave desert and those who are anxious to protect the ecosystem there.

It can also be more difficult, believe it or not, when you cant see the faces of the audience. You can’t see when they are frowning, smiling, shocked or amused. And of course there are always a few technical gremlins in the system.

For me as the presenter it was great to take time to review some of the Geography in the News articles that we here at Maps101 often miss when they are published each Friday. Finding out about the huge amount of plastics that is poisoning our Pacific Ocean (and many others) made me double check our trash cans this week. I can’t believe that despite listening to and seeing multiple news programs each day I new NOTHING about this problem.

The aim of the webinar was to start conversations. We can expect little more. But if generations of students and teachers see the problems that are occurring on their own doorsteps we will be better equipped to avoid repeats of these mistakes in the future.  Sadly as we were broadcasting the webinar, another potential environmental crisis was unfolding after an oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana. Our thoughts are with the workers who have lost their lives and we wish those attempting to contain the problem the very best of luck.

Dr Lineback addresses issues like these every week in Geography in the News, available through Maps101. You can always get a free trial and see what all of the fuss is about.

If you didnt make it to the webinar, a recording is available. Watch it and tell us what you think. We would like to do more, so your feedback is vital.

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