Valentine’s Day and Fossil Fuels

If you’ve ever been to a workshop on how to write an op-ed, you’ll know that the leaders spend a lot of time talking about the need for your piece to have a “hook.” This usually means finding a way to link what you want to say to some kind of timely news event. Most of these are fairly straightforward. On Mother’s Day, you publish your op-ed about the need for state-sponsored maternity leave. On Valentine’s Day, you write about worker abuses and pesticide poisoning in the international cut-flower industry. Or, for another Valentine’s Day idea, you write about fossil fuels.

Wait, what? How do fossil fuels go together with Valentine’s Day? Well, watch “Breaking Up With Fossil Fuels is Hard to Do” for an example of a masterful, if somewhat unexpected, media “hook.”

 

 

Then, use it in your classrooms!

  • For media studies classes, use it as an example of a media “hook,” as described above. Or use it after showing this video first. Then use both videos to analyze framing, strategic political communication, and how political actors respond to the messages of their opponents.
  • For environmental studies, social movements, or politics classes, use the video above and this video as a way to get students interested in the politics of climate change. Both videos tell simplified, politicized stories. What truth is there in both videos? What are the the different plans that already exist for lowering our use of fossil fuels? What political forces oppose these plans? How likely are the plans to succeed in the contemporary political moment? What would it take for them to succeed?
  • For gender classes, watch the first video and ask students, “How is gender being used in this vide? What does it mean that the “fossil fuels” character is female? That the narrator is female? That the story is tied to Valentine’s Day and breaking up? What stereotypes about women are being used to help make the point that we shouldn’t “Break up with fossil fuels?”

Thank you to Jean Boucher and Milton Takei for sharing these videos on the environmental sociology listserve of the American Sociological Association. Happy teaching!

Slideshow: Happy People’s Earth Day!

Today I celebrated People’s Earth Day in good Bay Area fashion, with a protest! After environmental justice leaders met inside with officials to present these demands, I joined 65 environmental and social justice groups at the regional EPA headquarters for a rally.  Then everyone marched to the State Department offices on Market Street for the last day of public comment on the Keystone XL Pipeline.

For a taste of the event, check out this clip of Dr. Henry Clark from West County Toxics Coalition, who spoke after EPA Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld.

Or, take a look at my photos! (There’s a lot of them – put your mouse over the slideshow and use the buttons that appear to advance through it at your own pace. Be in touch if you’d like copies.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Press Advisory

The week that was

This week I:

– saw a banana slug on my way to class – the first one I’ve seen since I’ve been able to call the banana slug my school mascot!

– made a loaf of rye buttermilk bread from this newly released cookbook.  Yum!

– took advantage of an office-mate’s recommendation to back up my computer with Carbonite.  Besides backing up your files, it also lets you access everything on your computer anywhere you have an internet connection. Awesome!

– after two and a half years of revisions, submitted an article based on my master’s research findings to its first academic journal.  I felt proud and productive for about 45 minutes, and then fell into a sad, empty kind of state.  My writer and researcher friends tell me this is common.  : (

– guided my students into the murky waters of writing a literature review. So far so good.

– had some of my photos published as an accompaniment to an article on the recent agreement to allow California industries to offset their pollution by purchasing pollution credits in Chiapas, Mexico and Acre, Brazil. Check out the backstory in my post.

– read the following in preparation for the Supreme Court case on climate change that was heard on Tuesday. (Now I need to find out what the actual verdict was, and how it impacts the case in Alaska I described in a recent post)

– got a phone call from the post office saying that my new bees had arrived in the mail!  They are now settled safely into their new diggs, and being, well, busy little bees.

– indulged my fantasy of being a scholar-farmer by doing some grading at 5th Crow Farm.  The fantasy part, however, doesn’t involve my car smelling like PSG after lending a hand with errands (that’s Peruvian Seagull Guano for those of you not in the know). It also doesn’t involve the earth trying to eat my shoes as I navigate the mud in my “stylish and inappropriate” footwear of choice: clogs.

– realized, again, that nothing makes me feel incompetent faster than trying to hang out with farmers while they are working.

Bees at the post office – in the box they were shipped in