Posted By: Francis Koster Published: March 9, 2021

Schools are often the heart of communities.  My own memories of primary school included time spent playing dodgeball on the playground,  my excitement when I was asked to bring my favorite book to school and tell my classmates why I liked it, and too many times having to carry a note home to my parents about some action I did or did not do.  (That never ended well.) Like some members of our community, some school buildings are getting old. Like some of us, their plumbing does not work as well as it once did, and friends and loved ones notice peeling paint, deteriorating roofs, and breathing issues (in the schools). North Carolina’s schools rank 37th of all 50 states in student learning.[1]   Our disappointing ranking is driven in part by old and loved school buildings which do not breathe well.

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: December 27, 2020

My mom and dad always ended the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period exhausted. They took six kids and grandma on a holiday schedule filled with choir rehearsal, church events, pancake breakfasts, and fundraisers. There were serious moments - as kids, we were asked if we had been naughty or nice, and by the time we entered high school we were reminded of our obligation to become a role model for others. We were often asked, “Are you walking your talk?” I have been thinking about this. Are we, as a country, being "naughty or nice?" Does our behavior reflect what we proclaim are our values? I do not think so. Across our country, our life expectancy has been falling, particularly among the poor, even before the Covid epidemic.[1] [2] Many years of failure to adapt public policy to scientific findings is causing great pain and suffering.

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: October 15, 2020

I am one of six kids. My father was a very good man – but he was not what you would call “warm and huggy”. He expected us to pitch in and carry our weight in household chores from about the time the broom was twice as tall as you were, and heaven help you if you didn’t. One of his favorite lines was “All behavior has consequences – good behavior has good consequences; bad behavior has bad consequences”. When a bad consequence arose, he would often remind me and my brothers and sisters of the behavior that got us to it. Didn’t do homework? When report cards came around you were reminded of “All behavior has consequences….” Didn’t tie your shoe? Didn’t check your backpack for your lunch? Late for school because you didn’t keep your bicycle tires pumped up? “All behavior has ……”. I must confess I heard it a lot.

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: October 4, 2020

Imagine an evening (pre-COVID-19) where you take your family out to dinner and all order a family-sized meal of seafood gumbo full of clams, shrimp, and other delights.  Yous.  You may get more than you bargained for. Turns out that when someone throws a plastic bottle into the ocean, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces until it becomes invisible to humans – but it does not go away.[1] Most of the plastic made in the world winds up in water where it breaks down into invisible but long-lasting pieces which gets eaten by wildlife.  The bodies of fish, clams, crabs, and other water critters consume these microplastics contain plastic they ate.  Bigger fish eat the little fish, you eat the big fish and when you eat the seafood, you also get a dose of plastic.[2]  No charge will appear on your bill - but you will pay for it in your healthcare bills. If you ordered hot tea with dinner, things could get worse because a surprising number of brands of tea have plastic in the teabag dissolving astounding amounts of invisible microplastics into the hot tea water which wind up in your tummy.[3],[4]

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: August 30, 2020

We pride ourselves for being a wealthy nation. It may shock you to learn that in this elite group, we rank 35th in life expectancy. [1] Invisible things in our environment are dramatically impacting our citizen’s health. A major contributing factor to our nation's awful life expectancy is that 72% of all American adults are either overweight or obese – and the percentage is rising. Since 1960, the weight of the average American adult increased by 28 pounds! [2], [3], [4]

Posted By: Francis Koster Published: September 26, 2016

How to Raise an Environmentalist Encouraging children to form an emotional attachment to nature may be key to protecting our planet’s future. by Jill Suttie as posted in “Yes!” magazine Sep 24, 2016 Originally posted by “Greater Good” We read it in the news every day. From climate change to overfishing to deforestation, it seems …

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Posted By: Francis Koster Published: February 22, 2016

D.C. Opens First Compost Site, Adds Anti-Idling Technology to Police Cars April 24, 2013 by Don Baxter DC City Buzz Examiner On the heels of Earth Day, in a continuing effort to make the District of Columbia the healthiest, greenest and most livable city in the country, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and city officials announced …

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Posted By: Francis Koster Published: December 7, 2015

Plastic Microbeads In Toothpaste  By Francis P. Koster, Ed.D. If you buy Crest toothpaste, it has little plastic pieces in it - put there on purpose.  Really. It even tells you on the label.  Go to the little “inactive ingredients” text on the side of the box, and you will find the word “polyethylene”.   About …

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Posted By: Francis Koster Published: November 22, 2015

An Electrifying Idea - Community Solar Gardens by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D. One of my favorite statements by a corporate leader goes something like this: “If change outside of your organization is happening faster than change on the inside, the end is near.”  (Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric).  This is happening to a …

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Posted By: Francis Koster Published: September 27, 2015

The Personal Moral Issue Around Climate Change by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D We have two decades to save life on earth as we know it - and I am not kidding[i]. About 150 years ago we unknowingly started making gasses that are coming back to hurt us. They came from the carbon-based fuels - coal, …

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