WWW: A Changing Environment in Latin America Calls for Action this Earth Day

¡Feliz viernes a todos!

Thank you kindly for joining me again to read about our lovely planet this week! We have made it to April and Earth Day is just around the corner on the 22nd. Earth Day is important for many reasons, just one of which is to highlight the problems our environments are facing today as a result of our ever-changing climate. While Latin American countries are only responsible for a small amount of carbon emissions, the environments in Latin America appear to be among those most impacted by the changes. Because Latin America is a region full of diverse ecosystems, from rainforest to tropics and everything in between, the effects small changes to the climate have had in the region are particularly devastating. The Latin Times’ Susmita Baral compiled a slideshow that shows the environmental devastation in twenty Latin American countries as part of the article entitled “Earth Day 2015: Find Out What Environmental Problems 20 Latin American Countries Face.” Using this resource in class in the upcoming weeks will help illustrate the importance of taking action to preserve our environments, not just on April 22nd, but every day. We hope the slideshow will initiate the conversation in the classroom, and help bring real life changes to the foreground so students see the importance of taking action.

The next resource highlights three Latin American countries who have taken action to preserve their environments: Costa Rica, Brazil, and Mexico. Using these three countries as examples, discussions could focus on fossil fuels and their impact on the environment and alternative energy sources that are renewable and less detrimental. Considering Costa Rica, Brazil, and Mexico use many different kinds of renewable energy sources, like solar, wind, and hydro power, classroom discussion will be enriched with real life examples of such alternatives. While we frequently look to the Global South as an example of a developing or underdeveloped region of the world, this would be a great way to incorporate Latin America into the classroom in a positive light; as an example of forerunners in implementing renewable energy, of what policy changes that protect the environment should look like, and providing proof that renewable energy is accessible!

We hope these examples help illustrate the kind of environmental problems that make Earth Day so necessary. If nothing else, we hope you can use these resources in the classroom to provide depth and real life scenarios to your environmental and energy source discussions in the coming weeks.

With warmest wishes,


Vamos a Leer | WWW: A Changing Environment in Latin America Calls for Action this Earth Day

Image. Photo of Renewable Energy. Retrieved from Resource Lessons under CC.


¡Mira Look!: Eight Days, A Story of Haiti

eight days coverSaludos, todos! This week marks the beginning of our February theme on Haiti. As Keira explains in her Sobre Febrero post, we’ve decided to celebrate Black History Month by focusing on Afro-Caribbean narratives: “When we’ve discussed Black History Month in the past, we’ve broadened the conversation by looking at resources related to the vast African diaspora of Latin America, which in itself is a worthwhile endeavor because African history is deeply entwined with Latin American history. This year we want to go deeper by focusing on the Afro-Caribbean experience specifically.” To this end, I have decided to focus this month’s children’s books on Haitian authors and Haitian narratives: “...in February our writers will turn their attention to Afro-Caribbean cultures and specifically Haiti, a country whose people are of predominantly African descent and whose complicated history is frequently overlooked or simplified. Our hope is that these resources will contribute to teaching and learning about this remarkable country.” Some of this month’s book reviews will continue to dialogue with last month’s themes on civil rights and human rights. Across it all, we will also celebrate the spirit of Valentine’s day by emphasizing themes of love (love of self, love of community) through our conversations about Haiti. As Keira beautifully put it, this month’s theme “continues our earlier focus on social justice and activism, both of which can be seen as outpourings of love for the world and society around us.

Our book for this week is Eight Days, A Story of Haiti written by Edwidge Danticat and illustrated by Alix Delinois. Last month we also featured a book by Edwidge Danticat, Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation, in recognition of our themes on civil rights. We have previously featured other educator’s guides and reviews on books about Haiti, including Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg, Krik? Krak! also by Edwidge Danticat, and In Darkness by Nick Lake. This last book, In Darkness, is a Young Adult novel that follows a very similar story line to that of Eight Days, A Story of Haiti. This may be useful for educators interested in pursuing these themes with older students. Continue reading