Wednesday, December 1, 2010

africa and fracking.

My 1st period class is the envy of the rest of the 9th grade; we began a partnership with the Tribeca Film Institute in October, in which we visit them 3 times and view documentaries on various topics. The first was called A Small Act and was about an amazing true story of a Holocaust survivor who donated money to a child in Africa. The recipient of her funds started a scholarship organization for Kenyan students aspiring to go to secondary school. The film focused on how a small act of kindness can fuel much more hope and inspiration.

The 2nd film was called Gasland and it followed Josh as he traveled the country to learn more about hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) for natural gas. We saw people's faucets light on fire and learned about the health affects that this mining has had on the families whose properties are near the wells.

After viewing A Small Act, which was partially filmed in Kenya, I immediately thought of a youth I met when I was in Makindu, Kenya 5 years ago. He was young, bright, aspired to become a lawyer so that he could advocate for members of his community. I hadn't been in touch with him, so I decided to write to him and reconnect. Turns out he's studying law in university in Kenya. We've been in good touch ever since and the students are going to be writing him letters soon. I'm so proud of him!

After we saw Gasland, which ended with the urge to act, especially in New York, I set off to find out how I could ensure that fracking isn't occuring in my watershed. I found out yesterday that the State Assembly and Senate passed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for a year while research on its effects on the environment and drinking water.

Next, the kids are working on their own photo essays, about issues in their community. I'm so excited to see how their exposure to documentaries will shape the projects that they create. More soon from room 318. Happy World AIDS Day! I hope that you promoted HIV awareness today!


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