Yesterday marked the 51st Earth Day! I’m sure that there are many sites that will list tips to reduce your carbon footprint and be a better steward of the Earth. This is not that kind of post.
Did you know that the first Earth Day was a massive protest? What started as a nationwide environmental teach-in became a 20 million person protest, demanding the US government do more for the environment. The Earth Day protest proved successful; over the next few years, the US enacted a slew of environmental agencies and standards. Here’s a sample of what happened within the next three years after the first Earth Day:
The Environmental Protection Agency (1970)
Clean Air Act (1970)
Occupational Safety and Health Act (1970)
Banning of DDT (1972)
Clean Water Act (1972)
Endangered Species Act (1973)
Leaded Gasoline Phase-Out (1973)
While we have many environmental protections in place, we have a lot of work to do to ensure everyone has access to clean water, pollution-free air, and opportunities to recreate in beautiful parks. Most often, it is underserved and underrepresented communities that suffer environmental catastrophes. We don’t have to look far back in history for examples: the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Flint water crisis from 2014-2019, and the ongoing battles against the Dakota Access Pipeline clearly show how environmental issues intersect with racism and poverty.
While it’s too early to truly celebrate any recent victories in social and environmental justice, I find this spring more hopeful than the last. Where is the hope I speak of? Hope is found in every piece of trash we compost, in every company we hold accountable, and every environmental act our governments pass. Hope is found in standing in solidarity with protestors, donating to bail funds, and fighting white supremacy. Hope is found whenever we view environmentalism with an intersectional lens; it’s all connected, as they say, in a loop that never ends.
It’s hard to keep track of time nowadays. I often find myself trying to remember what day it is, or when was the last time I did something. I have work deadlines and homework assignments, but it all gets jumbled into one big blob of work. There’s just something about being cooped up at home that makes time slip by, unnoticed by my usual measures. That is, until I look out the window. Though quarantine has turned all of our lives upside down, nature stays the course (as always).
Science geeks, this one’s for you!
From astronomy to robotics, GeekGirlCon’19 will be packed with great discussions
by some of the leading minds in STEM. Want a sneak peek of what we have in
store? Check it out:
It was a persevering Mars rover, one who would inspire countless memories for those who worked with it and analyzed its data. Right up until NASA scientists lost contact with it, Opportunity (or as many called it, Oppy) drove far and beyond what we thought capable on the Marian landscape.
Last week Seattle hosted the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society. That meant that hundreds of America’s leading astronomers were in town last week! I was lucky enough to catch a few free presentations from some of these researchers at the latest Astronomy on Tap, and learned how I could help astronomers through citizen science initiatives.
One of the many aspects of GeekGirlCon that sets it apart from other conventions is its commitment to welcoming geeks of all ages. We don’t just tolerate our kid attendees, we design the weekend with their interests in mind. Whether that means keeping our 18+ programming scheduled in the evenings or setting up a kids-only cosplay contest, we’re serious about keeping our evolution reactive to the needs of even the littlest con-goers.
In terms of kids programming, the now-classic GeekGirlCon event we’re proudest of is our DIY Science Zone. This year will mark the Zone’s eighth iteration, with each con bringing bigger and better additions. Part of the reason we’re able to keeping growing and changing when it comes to this special-ist of events is because we’ve got a community that shares our values and knows that accessible science education needs funding.
One of the best moments of my life was when, while sitting in my psychiatrist’s office after having filled out a series of questionnaires, she looked up at me and said, “Well, you have ADHD.”
I was 26. I had graduated from college with honors, was working a full-time job, and led an outwardly stable life. At the same time, I was experiencing debilitating anxiety and depression and struggling to cope. I saw myself as lazy, incompetent, and immature—I had incredibly poor self-discipline, was always forgetting things, and constantly ping-ponged between excitedly volunteering for roles and feeling completely overwhelmed. It seemed like I had to work twice as hard for twice as long to keep up with my peers.
Let’s face it. Embracing technology and being a geek is not something women are “supposed to do”, right?
But, if we believed everything the world told us then maybe we would not know the Earth rotated around the sun (and not vice versa) or that it is not in fact flat. So, it is clear we have to buck the trends to make big things happen. Even today.
That is why I believe that drones are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to encouraging women to get into tech.
How exactly are drones making this happen? Here are three ways I can see drones helping…
As a pop-culture geek, I’m all about the suspension of disbelief. Give me mythical creatures, interdimensional travel, and fireball explosions in the vacuum of space—I prefer creativity to realism. But I also enjoy digging into whether or not fictional realities play by their own rules, and GeekGirlCon ‘17’s “The Science of Wonder Woman” panel did not disappoint.
“The Science of Wonder Woman” was a fantastic discussion of the Wonder Woman film from a scientific perspective. The panelists included astronomer and physics professor Dr. Nicole Gugliucci, forensic chemist and GGC DIY Science Zone project manager Dr. Raychelle Burke, and science writer R.K. Pendergrass.
We’re here! Well, not quite, but with just a few days left until #GGC17, I’m in full-on excited freakout mode, and I hope you are too. We’ve got our schedules, our apps, and we’re ready to have an amazing Con weekend.
If only we could be this calm and collected going into the Con
Over the past few weeks we’ve been giving you a preview of the amazing panels we have coming up, divided into all the themes we geeks are most passionate about. We’ve covered Social Justice, Diversity and Inclusivity, GGC After Dark, Pop Culture, Fandom, and Gaming. But as if all of that wasn’t enough to get you completely psyched for this weekend, let me introduce you to a group of panels that I am personally counting down the hours for: the STEM panels!
The original computers
Did you know that the first computers weren’t wires or blinking lights, but women? From the first computer program to sending men to the moon, women were technological leaders. So why is it so hard to find safe work environments and equal salaries for women in technology? Moderated by Asia al-Massari, the panel From Note G to NASA: Women in Coding and Programming invites you to join self-described lady-coders, Amanda End, Allison Borngesser, and Amy Wibowo, to discover what being a coder is all about!
Bugs are awesome, especially this adorable and efficient ladybug
Whether you’re squeamish around creepy crawlies or a full-on bug fanatic, the panel Different Isn’t Bad: What Bugs Can Teach Us About Being Brave will open your eyes to all the unexpected and amazing things that bugs can teach us. Meet The Bug Chicks, Kristie Riddick and Jessica Honaker, entomologists using bugs to talk about social issues like prejudice, racism, sexism, and feelings of isolation, while simultaneously teaching about insects, spiders, and their relatives. They make videos and talk with young people all over the world, inspiring bravery and open-mindedness. You’re sure to find your inner bugdork here!
Footage of me on my way to the Droid-building panel
Last but certainly not least, the panel Droid Building 101: Make Your Own Astromech!, moderated by Christine Cato, will discuss the methods used by members of the BB-8 Builders Club and Astromech builders club to create their own BB-8 and Astromech droids. The panel will include a brief history of the two clubs, the materials they used to make their droids, and a peek into how to make your own!
I, for one, am extremely ready to learn more about all things coders, bugs, and droids. I hope to see you at these incredible panels, as well as all the others we have scheduled this weekend!