Now that I’ve caught your attention with that flashy title, I’ll tell you how I plan to save the world, starting in Japan.
I’m going to do it one small nature-lover at a time…
2017…I’m a second grade homeroom elementary school teacher at an International Baccalaureate® (IB) school.
Bullet point life until NOW…
- Born and raised in rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in the 70’s and 80’s.
- Nature was my playground.
- Grew up playing in the forest, along the ocean, swimming in lakes and camping.
- In elementary school swarmed by yellow jackets (wasps) while playing hide and seek/stung dozens..hundred times/now traumatized by bugs (hornets)…
- Grew up
- Professional musician
- Professional 3D modeller
- Go to Korea…become English teacher
- Like teaching….go back to university in Canada and get teaching degreee and license
- Move to Japan with Japanese wife
- Teach at international school for 9 years
- Become utterly fascinated with insects and birds/the more I learned about them, their behaviour and purpose, my fear changed and became an interest/passion.
- Become passionate nature/wildlife educator
- Do social media/podcast stuff too.
Lifelong learner: Someone who is never satisfied with where they are intellectually. They are curious, inquiring people by nature who always want to better themselves and acquire new knowledge and skills.
As a youth I always had an attachment to nature. Nature was my playground. As a kid I knew how to make a shelter out of spruce boughs, start a fire, take care of myself if for whatever reason, I was lost in the woods. I grew up with survival skills.
That was then and this is now. Since 2002 I have called Asia my home. I have lived in Ilsan, Seoul and Busan South Korea and Kobe, Japan.
I have called big cities my home for almost my entire adult life.
Cities have been my home, but Nature has been calling to me more and more in recent years.
I rekindled my love with nature when I first arrived in Japan. I suppose it came out of my weariness of urban life. The world, environment and many other things were going to shit and I wanted to do something about it.
What could I do? One man with not a lot of financial resources. What could I do?
I decided to become a student again. When you are a teacher you should always be a student as well.
I decided I would start to learn about the nature in my new home, Japan. I bought field guides, read online science journals, researched, took photographs and learned. I am still learning everyday and plan to do so until the day I croak!
So, where am I in 2017?
I definitely know more about insects, birds, flora and fauna than the average bear.
More importantly I started to understand how they are all connected. How they are linked to our food security and the ecosystems around us. I’ve learned how critical every creature is to our very existence as people.
I’ve become passionate about pollinators, they are after all responsible for one-third of all of our food. They give us so much, yet they are disappearing faster than we think!
Most importantly, I teach about it every single day.
I am fortunate enough to be teaching at an International Baccalaureate® (IB) school that focuses on inquiry and discovery learning. It empowers students to learn about the world and to take action to improve it. My next job will be at another IB school. It’s an exciting environment to be in as an educator!
In this environment I flourish as a teacher because I am allowed to be extremely passionate about nature and conservation. Every single day I find time to teach my students some aspect of nature and conservation.
I may not have the financial means to go on amazing expeditions or donate to charities, but I can teach loads of kids about the importance of our natural world, how people are messing it all up (Climate Change is real and horrible) and how they can TAKE ACTION to make their world a better place.
Teaching the kids at my school about the natural world is so rewarding. I’ve become known as the “bug expert” which has given me a certain COOL factor amongst the elementary students. My passion for insects and other forms of nature has also allowed me to make connections with some students with behaviour issues that other teachers were unable to make.
I empower my young students to make a difference and help nature!
My goal…to empower a future generation of environmental stewards.
I’ve been inspired by many in my nature/conservation journey and I hope I can inspire many others as well.
- My family and I are off to China for 2 years where I’m sure I’ll be more inspired to teach about environmental conservation.
- I plan to work with actual conservation groups…rolling up my sleeves to do some fieldwork.
- Continue to read and learn.
- Continue to teach kids about nature.
- Continue to connect kids with nature.
- I plan to write a book about connecting kids with nature.
I plan to continue learning more so I can become a better teacher. I plan to teach every student I have as well as my own children that they live in an amazing place. They live on Earth. At the moment, Earth is calling for help and I want them to know that they can always take action to make Earth a happier and healthier place.
This is my goal…
This is my way to save the world…
Kevin O’Shea is the host of the Just Japan Podcast and the Just Japan News Podcast. He is also the guy behind JustJapanStuff. Kevin is a Canadian educator who lives in Kobe, Japan with his family.
Follow him on Twitter: @jlandkev