Tonight! #Earth Hour #YourPower

Will you go dark tonight to celebrate the light that life on our planet offers us?

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Tonight, join millions of people around the world  in switching off lights in homes, offices and famous landmarks at 8.30pm local time for an hour to mark World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour held annually on the last Saturday in March as a way to call attention to our planet before  April’s Earth Month activities.

Please join us! It’s simple to participate. Just turn out the lights from 8:30pm to 9:30pm, sit back, relax, check out the stars! Learn more at

While I have participated in the past at home, tonight we will be at the Banf Mountain Film Fest. So several hundred people will be gathered in a darkened hall to watch films that celebrate our home, what we do here, and why we love it.

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Writing Practice – why it’s time to stop thinking of writing as a profession

A lot of insights here. Check this article out!

Damien Walter

If you go to a good art school (and yes you STEM readers out there, such places do exist) they teach to think of your art as a practice. And yourself as a practitioner. There’s a purpose to this tradition, although admittedly it takes most art students – myself included – until well after they graduate and are in to their practice to understand why.

Before I say more about practice, I should say why I think this idea is useful at this time for writers. Today the writing world is in a certain amount of turmoil. Digital technology means that the limitations imposed by print have evaporated overnight. And although the change could be seen coming long ago, many writers and publishers are struggling psychologically to adapt. Questions like whether it is still possible to earn a living as a writer, whether self-publishing is a viable route for writers…

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How To Prepare for Earth Month

Some readings from the past few days relevant to the environmental and social justice issues we’ve been studying in class to prepare us for Earth Day.

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While “Every Day is Earth Day” and with April 22 internationally recognized as Earth Day, it makes sense that the whole month of April be designated as Earth Month.


Did you know that 1 in 8 deaths or the deaths of about 7 million people a year are linked to air pollution? 

It’s true, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Health Organization and reported in the LA Times. While the article quotes  Michael Kleinman, a professor of toxicology at UC Irvine as saying that “People don’t die of air pollution alone; they die of other things the pollution tends to exacerbate.” This is an environmental issue as well as a social justice issue; most of these deaths are in Asia and other poor and developing countries that rely on fires to cook their food combined with industrial and vehicle pollution sources.

With that in mind, here are…

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Ventura College Publication for Student Writing Seeks Submissions by 3/28

VC Voices

Close up of hand writingNeeds student writing!

Get published for cash prizes!
Get extra credit by submitting your work and including a copy of it and a screen shot that shows you did it!

Submissions due Friday March 28!

What is eligible: any essay, short story, or poem written by a student for an English class at Ventura College within the last year.

How to submit:

  • Complete a online submission form here.

Contact the editors for more details:

Happy Birthday, Cesar Chavez! Check out this new film, day of service, and Dolores Huerta speaking at VC!

huertaVC2014Get ready to learn about Cesar Chavez through film and events! Be inspired to participate in service in his honor–if not on his birthday March 31, then how about for Earth Day April 22?



First, on Weds. March 26 from 6-9pm in Ventura College’s Guthrie Hall (4667 Telegraph Road), Dolores Huerta will be on campus to celebrate diversity in culture. If my students attend and write about it, they can earn extra credit.

A labor leader and civil rights activist, Huerta co-founded with Cesar Chavez  the National Farm-Workers Association which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW). 

Recognized internationally for her contribution to social justice, Huerta has received many awards for organizing and advocating for farm workers, immigrant rights and womens’ rights. She has been honored as the Eugene V. Debs Foundation Outstanding American; received the Eleanor Roosevelt Presidential Award for Human Rights; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 1965 Dolores directed the famous National Boycott of Grapes, taking the plight of the farmworker to the consumer. The boycott resulted in the entire California table grape industry signing three year collective agreements with the United Farm Workers(UFW). Dolores is president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, which promotes leadership, and creates leadership opportunities for community organizing, leadership development, health, and education.

Friday, March 28, 2014  a film directed by Diego Luna and starring Michael Peña as Cesar Chavez will be in the theaters (see trailer). The film also features America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson, John Malkovich, Gabriel Mann, and Mark Moses.

All this leads to Cesar Chavez Day, March 31, a day that many are urging be made a Day of National Service.

Chavez was a champion for workers’ rights and an American hero. Honor his legacy by serving on Cesar Chavez Day, March 31 and seek to take this a step further to a full Day of Service. Urge the President to declare March 31 as the Cesar Chavez National Day of Service. (Sign the Petition:

And remember that in less than a month, we’ll have Alice Bag at VC for Earth Day!

Learn more about Cesar Chavez Day here.

Time to get HAPPY! First day of Spring/Fall, International Day of Happiness, and poetry!

How can we achieve happiness? Chris Carlsson argues it is by being “nowtopians” in his book “Nowtopia.” Read how and why at this link: and check out the radio interview with him too.

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day of happiness Today is the first day or spring –or fall depending on where you are on the globe!

No matter where you are, today is the International Day of Happiness!

If you’re feeling down, and need to get happy, you can get your happy on here and dance along with people from around the world.

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Simi 3/21: Alice Bag Speaks + Performs

extra credit for students who attend this event!

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Alice Bag in Simi

For Women’s History Month, meet a woman who makes history: Alice Bag, singer of the Bags and member of many other important LA punk bands in the 70s; she’s the author of  a recent memoir, Violence Girl: East LA Rage to Hollywood Stage.

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Ventura College To Host Environmental Lectures


You are invited to attend guest lectures for ESRM1/BIO 10.

Guest lecture on fracking:  RL Miller

Wed. 3/12 at 1:30-2:45pm in rm: ECT-8

Guest lecture on SOAR: Steve Bennett

Wed 3/19  at 1:30-2:45pm in rm: ECT-8

Guest lecture on Climate Change: Don Price

Wed 3/26 at 1:30-2:45pm in rm: ECT-8

RL Miller

RL Miller is a climate blogger at outlets including DailyKos, Climate Progress, Grist, Calitics, and on climate, environment, and clean energy policy. And you can Follow @RL_Miller on Twitter. He has recently founded Climate Hawks Vote, a superPAC devoted to electing climate-centric candidates. He has spoken at Netroots Nation (coal exports and climate), Netroots California (led environmental panel, 2010) and locally on issues such as Proposition 23, nuclear power, & fracking, and has appeared on radio shows including Lila Garrett’s KPFK. Miller’s work has been written up in the New York Times, Washington Post, Time, and Guardian (UK). He is also chair of California Democratic Party’s Environmental Caucus. Current interests, in all that spare time, include practicing law, keeping chickens, and – on rare occasions – sleeping.

Steve Bennett:
Steve Bennett serves on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, representing the citizens of District 1. He graduated in 1972 from Brown University with an Honors degree in economics. Before being elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2000, Steve was a teacher and high school administrator for 20 years at Nordhoff High school in Ojai. Steve served on the Ventura City Council from 1993 to 1997. He co-authored the Save Open Space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR) that has made Ventura County a national leader in land-use planning. SOAR slows urban sprawl by requiring a vote of the citizens before greenbelt areas outside of the cities can be rezoned for development.

Don Price

Don Price is a professional engineer now retired from the Ventura County
Air Pollution Control District. A graduate of Purdue University, he
has over 30 years of experience in the control of air pollution and has
been following global climate change since 2007.

Extra credit or make up an absence for my students who attend and write about these events!

Save the date: Earth Day April 22, 2014 Earth Day at Ventura College.

Find us on Facebook!

Book Club Spring 2014 Teaching Collective Assignment

"We are conduits for ideas, we are agents of change." Alice Bag #earthday

“We are conduits for ideas, we are agents of change.”
Alice Bag #earthday

With your book club teaching collective, you will create a group blog about your book club book which your group will have 20 minutes to present in class on Tuesday March 18.

Each blog should include, among other content

WHY your group would like the author to visit Ventura College (for example, on Earth Day 2014). Why would you like to meet the author? What would you want the author to discuss or do? What questions would you like to ask the author? In addition to our class, what other classes do you think would benefit? Who else would enjoy hearing the author? Continue reading


Directions for March 6, 2014 classes: Alley’s 1A

PLEASE POST on our classroom: MCW 211. Please spread the word that we are having class and it’s in the LAB POD C.

Dear colleagues* in English 1A Spring 2014 at Ventura College,

When Ventura College Executive Vice President Dr Patrick Jefferson invited me to attend the A2Mend Conference at the LAX Marriott Th March 6 and Fri March 7, I was thrilled and said yes—IF a sub would be provided for my classes. He assured me that my classes would have a sub, and that there was money to pay for a sub. However, when I asked my Dean, I was told no, there would be no sub.

I am still hoping that there will be a sub there for you. But I am also confident that YOU are here at VC to learn and grow. You don’t need a sub to tell you what to do, do you?

So I’ve decided that whether there is a sub there or not, I will give YOU ALL the directions I created for the sub.

Take your learning into your own hands! Take responsibility for your own learning! If you have questions, email me and I’ll try to answer them ASAP.

Directions for class today March 6 which will be held in POD C In the BEACH: Continue reading