Call for submissions: A People’s Curriculum for the Earth

Bill headshotRethinking Schools is in the final stages of producing a book on teaching about the environmental crisis, called A People’s Curriculum for the Earth. If you’re a subscriber or regular visitor to our website, you have probably noticed that over the past several years Rethinking Schools magazine has featured increasing numbers of environmental justice articles. We are pleased by what we’ve assembled in the new volume–which is patterned after our 2002 book, Rethinking Globalization: Teaching for Justice in an Unjust World.

But we still need some help. We have a few “holes,” wishes, or would-like-to-have-mores. These are of two types:
  1. articles that describe classroom teaching (story-rich, replicable, critical)
  2. student-friendly readings: short articles, interviews, testimonies, stories, excerpts from novels, poems, graphics, and the like.

Some areas for which we want more material, both for the book and for future issues of the magazine, include:

  • Indigenous struggles around environmental issues — e.g., the Idle No More movement
  • Teaching about oil exploitation and natural gas fracking
  • Rachel Carson and early work against pesticides
  • The “people’s history” of struggles against environmental racism
  • Teaching about nuclear issues — e.g., nuclear testing, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima, uranium mining
  • Water issues, everything from the disproportionate impact of corporate practices on poor communities and communities of color to the implications of the decline of glaciers
  • Food sovereignty, and the activism of groups affiliated with La Via Campesina
  • Genetically modified organisms
  • The political economy of hunger
  • Stories of resistance and hope — how responses to environmental crisis can also be responses to economic crisis

Yes, these intersect and themselves are overwhelming. But we’re hoping that in putting out this final call that some of you may have pieces of your curriculum in hand that you’d be willing to let us consider for Rethinking Schools magazine and/or A People’s Curriculum for the Earth.

If so, please get in touch with me at

Thanks for all your important work in these tough times. And thanks for your support of Rethinking Schools.


Bill Bigelow
Curriculum Editor

At the Movies with Rethinking Schools

Summer is the season of Hollywood “blockbusters.” Unfortunately, most films that come out during summer are duds, so here we propose some alternatives that will both entertain and educate.

These articles are free for all friends of Rethinking Schools.

Gasland-DVDSTKR-FFracking: In the End, We’re All Downstream, by Julie Treick-O’Neill
A 9th-grade social studies teacher uses the Academy Award-nominated Gasland to help her students explore the environmental and social impact of fracking natural gas.

Coal at the Movies
Classroom DVDs on coal and mountaintop removal mining, reviewed by Bill Bigelow.

Reviews: Videos with a Conscience, by Ryan Zinn
Resources to help teachers and students delve into the economics and politics of food.

Review: “But You Guys Wanted Us Here,” by Moé Yonamine
A film tackles the U.S. occupation of Japan. Teaching activities included.

If you’re a subscriber, you can access these articles.

(What are you waiting for? Subscribe today.)

King Corn: Teaching the Food Crisis, by Tim Swinehart
King Corn follows an acre of corn to market and a future as ethanol, food sweeteners, and animal feed. The journey anchors a curriculum on the international food crisis and how much choice we have over what we eat.

Review: Dignity and a Haircut, by Wayne Au
A review of the film American Pastime describes baseball under mass incarceration.

Who’s Crazy? Students Critique The Gods Must Be Crazy, by Chris Hawking, with Cresslyn Clay and Colin Pierce
Remember that cult classic The Gods Must Be Crazy? Posing as multicultural, the film supports the very biases that it claims to critique.

Review: ‘Our Dignity Can Defeat Anyone,’ by Julie Treick-O’Neill
A film about work and workers in Mexico, Maquilapolis inspires high school students. Finally, a film about sweatshops that views workers as more than victims.

We haven’t written an article about it yet, but another film idea is to check out the widely acclaimed and award-winning Dirty Wars, by Jeremy Scahill, and use the teaching activities from our new book Teaching About the Wars (available as a PDF for only $7.99) to bring home the lessons from the film.

When we sent this list out to our e-newsletter list, we received a few more suggestions for films to use in the classroom, including:
What films have you used successfully in the classroom?  Please share in the comments.
If you want to write about your experience using film in your classroom or write a review for Rethinking Schools magazine, check out our writers guidelines.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!