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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

From space to my backyard: Connecting the global and local

Over the past few months I've been following Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield as he regularly tweets from the International Space Station (ISS). Click here for more info on the ISS: International Space Station

It has been remarkable to see the photos he has taken of well-known (and not so famous) places on earth. One of my favourites was a night shot of the community in which I live, the Waterloo Region.

Seeing the photos from space has reminded me that my backyard (in this case, the Waterloo Region) is closely connected to the global community in which we live. The ISS orbits the earth about 15 times a day. What a great perspective to recognize that the world is really not that big! We see distances within our own communities, never mind between countries, as sometimes insurmountable. But when seen from space, these distances are really just tiny and insignificant. In fact, a night picture from space eliminates geo-political-social-economic boundaries. For example, we don't see the low income housing down the street or the gated community around the corner.

When I get caught up thinking that conflict in Syria or cholera in Haiti is too distant to have any impact on me, I need to take a 10,000 foot view (or in the case of the ISS, the 354 km view!) and see how closely connected the world really is.

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