September 18, 2020
Happy Friday iksplorers! Today's Weekly Summit has the low-down on outdoor living -- Norwegian style, a deeper dive into understanding wildfires, a mask tip for kiddos wearing them all day, a few much-needed laughs and more. Enjoy!
Sorry I can't make it, I asked my toddler if he wanted help putting on his shoes he answered "yes I don't"
--Not Another Pinterest Mom, @snarkymomtobe
Yes, winter is coming. And we’re all a little jittery about how it’s going to play out. But, if we follow the lead of the Norwegians and live by the rules of “friluftsliv,” we could probably lay some of that anxiety to rest. Yeah, we’re not sure how to pronounce it either, but the word basically means “open-air living” and it’s long been part of Norwegian life. Essentially, friluftsliv suggests that one should spend time outdoors, no matter the weather, and celebrate the ability to do so. In a time when the coronavirus pandemic makes being outdoors so much safer than indoor gatherings, shifting our mindsets to prioritize outside time – and prepare for it with the right clothing and gear (shameless plug for our layers here!) – could be the key to getting through the months of colder weather with our physical and mental health intact.
And yet, there are some things that are just going to be difficult to do outside at all. Like school. Sure, historically, pandemics and major health crises have seen some school systems experiment with outdoor classrooms, open windows even when the temps drop lowest, and more. Sometimes they’ve had great success. But it’s more likely that school administrators will look for safe ways to open up, and remain open throughout the year, with those windows shut. In New York City, during the height of the crisis there, the district found a way to do just that: to welcome thousands of students – all children of essential workers – inside buildings to continue their educations. And they did so without reporting any large clusters of symptomatic cases. Fully opening the largest school district in the country this fall is in a different order of challenges. But the experience throughout this last spring and summer should be instructive.
It’s difficult to grasp the magnitude of what’s happening with the wildfires engulfing California, Oregon, Washington and 10 other western states right now. If you want to understand more about why these are happening, and at such a massive scale, the basic answer is two-fold, according to this piece from The Guardian: climate change and long-term fire suppression policies. How to address this ongoing and ever-growing problem is more complicated. But it includes rethinking our relationship with forests as well as our attitude towards forest fires. Traditionally, indigenous people in this country allowed fires to burn, even started some themselves – “small controlled burns to clear out fire-fueling vegetation, renew the soil and prevent bigger, runaway wildfires.” Rather than fighting all flames, they learned to live with, and adapt to, this natural process. If we want places like California to remain habitable, experts say, we are going to have to do much of the same. We’ll have to adopt a variety of strategies including combatting climate change, adjusting the way we build houses, updating electrical grids and more. It’s not going to be simple, to be sure. But other options seem scarce.
If you’re looking for an even more help understanding the wildfires, check out this episode of The Daily from the New York Times.
Most children who are back in school now have to wear masks for most of the day. Not an easy ask for anyone, let alone our kiddos. Towards the end of the day, the masks can get hot, stuffy, wet and generally not super comfortable. Face brackets to the rescue! These shields that cover the nose and mouth and provide some structure underneath the mask, help hold it off the face directly, and can make them easier to keep on. Pair with a mask extender that attaches the mask behind the head without using the ear tabs, and it seems like a winning combination.