Earth Day is 50!

One small action–provide food for wildlife in your yard.

Happy Earth Day! Time for true confessions—even though I had the privilege of writing EARTH DAY AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT, I don’t usually celebrate Earth Day. The truth is I’m bad at holidays in general. I love them; I’m just terribly inconsistent with my commemorations.

I also don’t own a hybrid, can’t afford much organic food, and occasionally throw away something I could recycle because it’s just been one of those days. And you know what—that’s okay! I am leery of anyone holding people to a “purity test” over their personal practices. Yes, we should take the environment—which includes our own homes and communities—seriously. But there is not one way to take care of the earth.

People celebrated the first Earth Day many different ways as well. Some were simple—thousands of participants picked up trash and cleaned up stream banks. Others were artistic—concerts, plays, and recycled art. A few were downright outlandish, like the “die-in” held at Boston’s Logan Airport and the “Dead Orange Parade” in Miami.

Click on image to go to the Lerner Publishing website.

At the end of EARTH DAY AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT, I offered suggestions for readers on how to take action to save the planet. The first and most important action is this—vote! Voting is the single most important collective action we can take in this country. Support office-seekers who share your aspirations for a better, safer, healthier planet. Don’t assume their position based on party–find out where they stand on the issues.

What about all the other things we do in our personal lives to make a difference? I concluded the book with this line: “ . . . as one vote added to another added to another makes all the difference, so, too, does one action added to another action. Do one thing. Do it often. Share it with others. Because doing something small is always better than doing nothing.”

Catching Up

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CUTTING-EDGE AUGMENTED REALITY and CUTTING-EDGE VIRTUAL REALITY are available from Lerner Publications or via Amazon or your independent bookseller. Photo credit: Lerner Publications

I’ve been badly remiss in keeping up the blog these last few months. The good news is that book projects are the source of this egregious procrastination. But it also means I’ve missed sharing some book news.

CUTTING-EDGE AUGMENTED REALITY and CUTTING-EDGE VIRTUAL REALITY released this fall. The two titles are part of the Cutting-Edge STEM series from Lerner Publications designed for grades 3-5. If, like me, you think AR and VR are mostly used for entertainment, you might be interested to learn the huge variety of applications I encountered while researching these books.

Augmented reality pops up in sports broadcasts and Pokemon, but it’s also being used to plan surgeries and bring the past to life in museums. Virtual reality is being used to help treat phobias and to help paraplegics regain some muscle control.

I have another book releasing January 1, 2019, also from Lerner Publications. Stay tuned!

Science News

I’ve missed sharing SO much science news, but here are a few highlights I’ve been following:

  • The Mars InSight Lander made a successful touchdown on Mars yesterday (November 26, 2018). I never get tired of watching mission coverage of big space news.
  • Marine mammal scientists have been able to use new, higher resolution satellites to track whales from space. This breakthrough may help researchers learn more about whale behavior and monitor whale populations.
  • And one more tidbit, the European Space Agency’s GAIA mission released its much-anticipated map of 1.7 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “B”!) stars. Scientists have already used the data to discover that our Milky Way galaxy has a thing for eating other galaxies.