A mile in their shoes

The idiom “to walk a mile in someone’s shoes” means …

Can you guess?

Here’s a short article that will help: about an artist who has depicted various world leaders as refugees: “This Syrian Artist Wants World Leaders to To Know What It Feels Like To Be Refugees” (from BuzzFeed). Here are three. There are several more in the article, and more pictures and a couple of videos on the artist’s website.

“Vlad”

“Donald”

“The Queue”

If you’d like a detailed definition of the idiom, here’s one with examples, from Grammarist.

“Global weirding”

Instead of “global warming” we should say “global weirding” say some people. The term became a buzzword back in 2010; it’s a way to preempt climate change skeptics from saying, “But how can it be global *warming* if it’s snowing outside?”

I was listening to a new podcast called “Pod Save America” the other day. It’s a venture by former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau (not the same guy as the movie director — see yesterday’s topic) and his Crooked Media colleagues. They had Katharine Hayhoe, “sensible Canadian” and climate scientist on the show, and her hopeful, easy-to-understand explanation of where we are and what we can do was inspiring. The interview with Hayhoe begins at about the 37’40” mark of the April 3 episode.

Here’s her Global Weirding YouTube channel, and here’s one of the most recent uploads:

Discussion & writing topics:

  • Do you typically use the term “global warming” or “climate change” in English? What do you say in Japanese? What do you know about the phenomenon? What do you know about the “climate change deniers” and their point of view?
  • Do you think your carbon footprint is small or large?
  • Besides the cliched “eco bag” and “my bottle” answers to the “What can we as individuals do to protect the environment and prevent climate change?” what other answers are there? (You can try summarizing the video above and also add your ideas.)
  • What podcasts do you listen to in Japanese? In English? If you were to create your own, what would the theme be?

For more research, try Skeptical Science.

Here’s one carbon footprint calculator to try (it’s from the UK, so when you answer questions about travel, pretend you’re living in the UK — “domestic travel” — to get a more accurate result), and these are some tips about what you can do to decrease your footprint.

Making a “perfect” country

my-perfect-country

“My Perfect Country” is a radio program by the BBC (13 episodes as of today, and there will be a total of 14) which imagines how we could build a perfect country, based on the best policies of countries around the world. We could use Japan’s gun control policies, Costa Ricas’ green energy techniques, Peru’s methods of reducing poverty, and more.

The episodes are 27 minutes in length, but there are also shorter clips:

clips

Another idea to add to the list:

“Iceland knows how to stop teenage substance but the rest of the world isn’t listening” (from Mosaic)

Can you think of others?

Although I don’t think perfection is possible in most things in life, a willingness to try to change things for the better is a more beneficial way to spend our time than complaining.