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Litscope: Virgo & ‘Miseducation: How Climate Change is Taught in America’

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Later this month will mark the start of my favorite season, fall. While the temperatures here in the Mid-Atlantic aren’t yet reflecting this seasonal shift, many other changes are forcing us to think about slowing down. Astrologically, several larger outer planets are still retrograde, but the biggest news will be Mercury retrograde happening on September 27th. When the planet of communication slows down, it’s important to regard our emails, letters, and tech devices with care. Perhaps, like me, you’ve already incurred some drama (I typed this column from my iPad because my MacBook is being repaired, wish me luck!). But the main key is to examine how these little snafus involve justice or “righting the scales” since this retrograde is in the sign of Libra. Sometimes, what we envision as impediments actually turn out to be in our best interest.

Late August to late September is Virgo season, and being the honest Virgo that I am, let me start by apologizing for my delay this month. I was juggling various issues, including a family member being hospitalized, that put me behind schedule. Now, on to my sign! Virgos are rumored to be extra fastidious and health-conscious, but what stands out to me is their giving nature and their compassionate sides. Whether they have jobs in healthcare, teaching, or social work, those under this Mercury-ruled sign generally have good intentions for their vocation. Now, of course, they may work your last nerve picking up behind you, or telling you the details of the latest vacuum cleaner they bought, but let’s face it—relationships are a give and take. Virgos are symbolized by a Maiden or a Virgin. This goddess-like woman carrying a shaft of wheat supposedly represents our fertility and harvesting ability, but the real truth is that we are absolute lovers of the earth.

 

 

So, what better way to champion earthy Virgo season than with Miseducation: How Climate Change is Taught in America, written by my long-time friend Katie Worth? This book is a deep dive into how climate change is being taught in American schools, and supports its theories with tons of razor-sharp research. Emmy award-winning Worth is a seasoned journalist and an expert at digging up convincing facts that would sway even the staunchest climate change denier. For example, Worth cites a study done by Eric Plutzer in collaboration with the National Center for Science education in 2019, noting that “most of those teachers who did discuss climate change in the classroom said they emphasized that global temperatures had risen in the last 150 years. But a third said they emphasized to students that ‘many scientists believe’ that global warming might be natural—an erroneous statement.” 

Miseducation offers plenty of evidence for its arguments, but it also shows readers where to attribute some of the cause. In regards to the debate, Worth points way back to the Darwinism vs. religion battle. She also exposes how the shady textbook industry, specifically in Texas, has been riddled with roadblocks when it comes to covering climate change in classroom textbooks. In Miseducation, Worth doesn’t seek to complain, but seeks to give readers a solid foundation of where to place some of the blame (there goes that Virgo generosity).

However, what was most interesting to me (and where I believe most readers will feel most drawn to) were the spaces where Miseducation goes personal by allowing students and children to speak candidly about what they know about climate change. Early on in the book, Worth interviews a young boy named Izerman, a Marshall Island resident, about what he’ll do if major Pacific Ocean storms continue to pelt the island. Izerman worries “that the only things that will be sticking up is coconut trees.” He continues, “if I learn how to climb trees, maybe if big waves come, I can climb in a tree and wait until it gets shallower.” Later, another young Marshallese girl named Eve (who was born and raised in Enid, Oklahoma) is asked how she felt about Oklahoma’s educational standards making no mention of climate change in required classes. She responds: “It’s kind of disappointing because, like, it’s a real thing.” 

All of the valuable information unleashed in this succinct and rigorous critique of science education in America is necessary, and Worth disseminates it with clarity and precision (and maybe a little Virgoan perfection). This is an erudite treatment of this topic and not suited for those looking for a “light read.” However, if you care about the planet, and how the education of America’s children plays into this equation, then Miseducation is for you. If I had one critique it would be to hear more of the children’s voices, and perhaps some of Worth’s own interpersonal connections to this topic. As Whitney Houston famously sang, “I believe the children are our future . . .”

 

This month, the card for the collective that emerged was the reversed Queen of Cups from the Rider-Waite deck. When upright, this flowy, sensitive card means that you (or perhaps a feminine figure in your life) are walking in the spirit of love. She is in touch with her feelings and leading with her heart. In the reversed position, the water is falling out of the chalice she holds. Perhaps she, or you, have taken all you can take emotionally and have fallen out of balance. This card reminds us to show ourselves some compassion and TLC. If the figure is you, maybe take some time out to reconnect to your feelings by painting or listening to music. Don’t let your feelings overwhelm you and take a little time out to engage more with your sensitive side.

 

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