shielarcastillo


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When the shortest distance is not a straight line

Archimedes, that super cool slasher Greek mathematician (slash physicist slash inventor slash astronomer slash etc.) said ages ago that ‘the shortest distance between two points is a straight line’.  I love this quote. Although it was said in the context of mathematical sciences, it in fact gave me countless reassurances when life became complicated or when I’m overwhelmed by my own overthinking. It has helped me overcome a lot of concerns by simplifying things and solving problems one simple step at a time.

But recently I’ve been mulling about so many things happening in the world, complex eco-geo-political issues that demand more creative and non-linear solutions. I hope to write about more of my thoughts here in succeeding blog posts, but now I’d like to share about one word that comes to mind, leapfrog. I came across the word years ago in one of my social science classes at the Philippine Normal University, but the first known use of leapfrog was in 1872, or 1599, if Merriam-Webster could make up its mind.

Let me share with you three examples.

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Children need trees

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Field work at Chickabompalli, learning from the community. Photo by Shaiju Chacko

An amazing thing (among many!), at least for me, happened during the field work our group had for The Workshop 2015 (19th Praxis Commune for Participatory Development). The facilitators wanted at least each of the four foreign participants to join different groups. I was luckily made part of this awesome group composed of Shaiju, Nidhi, Nancy, Nitin and Afsar. Shaiju proposed for the group to be named Phil-Indies, marrying the names of the two countries represented.


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John Muir, en theos

John Muir
John Muir. Photo from http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/people/historical/muir/

I have been reading The Wilderness World of John Muir. It is really a good read. John Muirwas a farmer, inventor, naturalist and probably the foremost conservationist America, co-founding the Sierra Club and giving birth to the environmental conservation movement. As much as he enjoyed being alone in nature, he also enjoyed talking non-stop about his adventures and he wrote extensively in his journals, botany notes, books and correspondence. Continue reading


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Gamot Cogon School, helping heal the planet

Since we moved to Iloilo, my favorite afternoons are when I go to Gamot Cogon School as a parent volunteer after school monitor. The presence of an adult is needed for the kids left in school attending clubs, doing homework or remedial or simply waiting for their ride home. Not that they need any supervision. The kids are behaved and just do their work or play and a presence of a monitor is basically for emergency cases, which, thank God haven’t occurred. Continue reading