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Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day by Zooming Out and Zooming In

With lockdowns and stay home orders spanning the globe to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, we’ve all been spending an awful lot of time on Zoom these days. I know I have. Even my 2 and 6 year olds have. And now the language of “zoomed out” has become commonplace. I think we are all feeling a little “zoomed out,” but not in the good way.

In Blue Marble Evaluation, we talk about the importance of zooming out to see the big picture of how issues affect the globe, and zooming in to see how they are impacting communities at more of a micro level. This concept is embodied in the GLOCAL principle of Blue Marble Evaluation, which calls us to integrate complex interconnections across levels.

But this skill of zooming in and zooming out now has a new meaning as we consider how to take our evaluation practice online in the era of COVID-19 and working at a distance. How do we continue to connect across borders and silos via Zoom, or whatever platform you prefer, without becoming completely zoomed out?

So on this 50th anniversary of Earth day, I offer you this invitation to  intentionally zoom-out – take a break from Zoom, from anything online if you can – and zoom- in to our planet at a micro level. Get outside. Take a walk. Talk to some trees. Be in nature. Perhaps adopt a storm drain or pick up trash in your community.

Then, return tomorrow and zoom back out. Make connections to the global scale. Reconnect with colleagues, but perhaps with a renewed sense of connection to the Blue Marble we call home.

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