Your personal diversity and inclusion statement

As one of the assignments in STOCKSCH 382 – Professional Development in Sustainable Food and Farming, students are asked to write a Personal Diversity and Inclusion paragraph. This is becoming more common among employers as part of a routine job application package. This blog will help you to create your own D & I statement.

Why write a Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Writing a Diversity and Inclusion Statement of your own allows you to clarify your own thinking with respect to these issues in your life and in the work place or school.  Many employers are now requiring such a statement as part of a routine job application process.  In addition, you may find yourself on a team some day where your workplace is trying to create such a statement.  This is good practice! 

Continue reading Your personal diversity and inclusion statement

Why so many epidemics originate in Asia and Africa – and why we can expect more

Author: Suresh V. Kuchipudi

Clinical Professor and Associate Director of Animal Diagnostic Laboratory, Penn State – March 4, 2020

The coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, is a frightening reminder of the imminent global threat posed by emerging infectious diseases. Although epidemics have arisen during all of human history, they now seem to be on the rise. In just the past 20 years, coronaviruses alone have caused three major outbreaks worldwide. Even more troubling, the duration between these three pandemics has gotten shorter.

I am a virologist and associate director of the Animal Diagnostic Laboratory at Penn State University, and my laboratory studies zoonotic viruses, those that jump from animals and infect people. Most of the pandemics have at least one thing in common: They began their deadly work in Asia or Africa. The reasons why may surprise you.

Continue reading Why so many epidemics originate in Asia and Africa – and why we can expect more

To our Grandchildren

Shortly after Phyl died, I asked friends and family to send me a short video clip of themselves talking to our grandchildren about their GG. I made the following two videos from these clips. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

John Gerber

1.Family and friends from the “old days” tell GG’s grandchildren about their GG – 28 minutes

2. Remembering Phyl Part II – Amherst Friends – 45 minutes

In addition, there are two videos from Phyl’s Celebration of Life

3. Wildwood Celebration for Phyl – Part I

4. Wildwood Celebration for Phyl – Part II

And a few favorites

5. There is Love – 4 minutes

6. A Parade for Phyl and Sue – May 22, 2020

7. Three Years of Phyl in Four Minutes – 4 minutes

8. Phyl Goes to MIT – 3 minutes

9. Phyl at the Beach – 3 minutes

And finally…

10. Phyl’s story – 38 blog posts

This is what our mermaid is doing now……

Our mermaid

Plants will save us – if we let them do it

The seeds of truly green technologies are being planted now.

By Linda Rodriguez McRobbie – November 29, 2020

In an experiment at MIT called Automated Arbortecture, researchers used computer-controlled lights to control the shape a plant took as it grew.
In an experiment at MIT called Automated Arbortecture, researchers used computer-controlled lights to control the shape a plant took as it grew.HARPREET SAREEN

Karen Sarkisyan’s tobacco plants glow. Not quite enough to read by, and less than, say, a freshly cracked glow stick, but much more than your average tobacco plant glows, because your average tobacco plant doesn’t glow at all. In fact, although many species of marine creatures, insects, fungi, and bacteria naturally emit light, no plants do.

“I personally am amazed every time when I look at them in the dark room,” says Sarkisyan, a synthetic biologist at the London Institute of Medical Sciences at Imperial College London and the CEO of the biotech startup Planta, based in Russia, where Sarkisyan got his degree. A time-lapse video of the plants growing over several weeks shows their

glowing leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers, green as an alien invasion, flaring bright as they curl upwards. Sarkisyan acknowledges that the video makes the genetically modified plants look a bit brighter than they are to the naked eye, but in any case, the sight is captivating.

Continue reading Plants will save us – if we let them do it

A Thanksgiving message from john

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They will live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. “

Anne Lamont

——————————————————————



TO:  Friends and Family

Every once in a while I look back in my journal to see what I was thinking and doing one year ago.  On my birthday last year, Phyl and I drove to a farm store in Westhampton where she said they made the best whoopie pies!  She had a hot dog and a whoopie pie and seemed to enjoy the day.  But that evening she broke down in tears, according to my journal, and cried “I hate my body.”  She had lost most of her physical abilities by that time and needed help with everything except eating, talking and driving her power chair (and these would all go within the next 6 months). I wrote that I felt helpless. The next day she was up and ready to go again.

Phyl was amazing the way she would continue to bounce back from regular and continuing struggles and defeats.  Every time she lost another ability, it hit her hard.  We cried together at night and the next morning she was smiling and ready to go again, trying to figure out how to adjust to the most recent loss.  She demonstrated a resilient attitude that I didn’t appreciate at the time because I was so worried about “what’s next?”  My job was to be prepared for whatever she needed.  

Thanksgiving was approaching and I asked her to write a letter to her network of friends and family.  It took her hours, since she had little control of her hands.  Nevertheless, she wrote in a letter we sent to you all…. “I am grateful for each and every one of you. I’m thankful for the walks around the neighborhood, the prayers, the outings, the problem solving to make situations work for me, the kisses and hugs, the food, the txt, the phone calls, my new bathroom (thanks Dad), the chats on the deck (some serious and some hysterically funny) and the shoulders to cry on.

Continue reading A Thanksgiving message from john

our “backyard”

The land bordered by VanMeter Dr. to the south, East Pleasant St. to the east, Rolling Ridge Rd. to the north, and Ridgecrest Rd. to the west defines an area that comprised much of  the Jerseydale Dairy Farm managed by the Harlow family since 1908 and sold to Walter C. Jones for development in 1952.  Named Grandview Heights by Walter Jones, the area was one of the first housing developments in Amherst.  This short study looks back at the land and it occupants.

Twenty thousand years ago, if you stood roughly in the middle of the property, on the corner of Harlow Dr. and Frost Lane, and looked straight up, you would see an ice sheet two miles high.  Two miles of crushing weight which had moved inch by inch from the north, dragging rocks and boulders and scaring the earth along the way.  The weight of that frozen mass, under which nothing could live, created a tabula rasa upon which a new story of the land would be written. And then the ice melted.  When the glacier had receded, the rift valley that would become the Connecticut River Valley remained and an east-west series of hills south of Hartford created a natural dam, backing up the flow of water running from the north and creating a long lake, later to be named Lake Hitchcock after the Amherst College professor who so loved this region.

The ice started to recede about 18,000 years ago and Lake Hitchcock began to form.  Standing at the corner of Harlow and Frost, 16,000 years ago, you would have been on an island with its western shoreline just a few feet west of Ridge Crest Rd.  The current UMass Agricultural Learning Center and much of the valley beyond were under water.  You could see an island in the lake not too far out that is now Mt. Warner. 

The shoreline of geological Lake Hitchcock was along a line west of the homes between Ridgecrest Rd. and the UMass Agricultural Learning Center (Beachfront properties).

Continue reading our “backyard”

Local and Green, Curbing Climate Disaster by Modeling Indigenous Values

Larry Spotted Crow Mann, Nipmuck. Photo: Used with permission of Larry Spotted Crow Mann

Original Post – AmherstINDY; November 13, 2020 by Darcy DuMont

Editor’s note: This column appeared previously in The Amherst Bulletin

“We humbly acknowledge that we stand on historic Nonotuck and current Nipmuck land, acknowledging also our neighboring indigenous nations, the Nipmuck and Wampanoag to the east, the Mohegan and Pequot to the south, the Mohegan to the west and the Abenaki to the north.”

This is a Statement of the Indigenous Heritage of the Land provided at the opening of each of the Amherst climate task groups over the last three months. Such land acknowledgements are becoming common now, throughout Canada and the U.S., on college campuses and generally as a movement in support of Indigenous heritage and rights.

Continue reading Local and Green, Curbing Climate Disaster by Modeling Indigenous Values

Stories within stories

In my Agricultural Systems Thinking class we were talking about the concept of holarchy. This idea suggests that a farm, a business or a person is a “holon”, that is a unique system in itself.

At the same time, a holon (farm, business or human being) is also part of a larger system (holon) and is composed of smaller systems (holons).

A holarchy is a nested hierarchy of holons, where a holon is both a part and a whole. The key relationship in a holarchy is that “we look out for purpose and in for function.” That is the holon represented by a “word” in the diagram below looks “within” (letter) for its function. And the holon “word” finds its purpose in serving the next holon (the sentence).

Get it?

This also works for biological and social systems. So, the individual human might find purpose at the next larger level (family, community etc.) and function within (heart, liver, lungs etc.).

To help us understand this in another way, Michael Dowd claims that we are all “stories within stories.”

And to further “paint a picture” of the concept of stories within stories, we watched this video….

Our celebration of Phyl’s life

On Saturday, October 4, 2020, my family and I passed the urn holding Phyl’s ashes around and then placed it in the ground. We dropped flowers around the urn and said goodbye to her physical form but we hold her spirit in our minds and hearts.

Phyl (and my) grave site in Wildwood Cemetery on October 4, 2020 – Phyl made the lovely blue urn herself.

Phyl and I had decided upon Wildwood Cemetery many years earlier as it is a beautiful location and right across the street from the school where Phyl worked for 10 years.

We invited 50 of our closest friends and family members who lived in New England or New York to join us. The state COVID regulations restricted outdoor events to no more than 50 and anyone from outside of our region had to quarantine for two weeks, so were prevented from joining us. While we were sad that we had to put limits on participation, we wanted to try to provide an environment where people were safe.

Continue reading Our celebration of Phyl’s life

Systems Thinking for a More Sustaianble World

Levi Stockbridge Lessons and Legacy

What can we learn today from "Prof Stock"?

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Changing the Story

Systems Thinking for a More Sustaianble World