JANUARY 2009 NEWSLETTER
All over the country, teens are turning green… Is it St. Patrick's Day? Envy? Seasickness? Nope! Youth everywhere are turning their passion for the environment and their concern about their future into environmental action in their daily lives. In this issue, we focus on how teens in California are taking the lead in greening their lives and communities, and reaching out to their peers to inspire them to do the same. Please share the following resources with the teens in your life--now is the time to harness their amazing energy to create a greener future. We've also got an important update on air pollution around schools, as well as announcements and an action alert - read on and keep in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you like what we're doing and want to support our efforts, go to our Donate Now page.
Best wishes for a great, green 2009.
NEWS: Gettin' Their Green On
When teens get organized, they can do just about anything - like lead the way to a greener future. Sponsored by the City of Los Angeles, organized and presented by youth, and energized by nearly 5,000 students, the 2008 Environmental Youth Conference took place in December in L.A. The event was free, and the keynote speaker was 14-year Alec Loorz, founder of "Kids vs. Global Warming." The focus was "Climate Change: How it impacts us now, and how we can make a difference," and included youth-led workshops on switching to greener practices at home, in school, and in communities. Also on hand were professionals to point the way toward successful careers in green industries. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hosted the conference, which is in its second year, confident that "Our City's youth are the future of the green movement." We'd say they're an important part of the present of the green movement, too!
COMING UP: More Teens Lead the Green Charge
The 4th Annual Teens Turning Green National Summit is coming up next month in Marin, and, like the LA youth conference, is almost entirely organized by teens. The goals are similar to last month's conference too-- empower teens to become leaders in their schools and communities--but this time the focus is eliminating toxics. The Summit will feature two days of panels, workshops, planning, and discussions with visionary leaders. The organizers hope attendees will leave the summit more knowledgeable and inspired to bring their new smarts back to their schools and communities. Teens Turning Green, Teens for Healthy Schools, and Teens for Safe Cosmetics all exist to promote thoughtufl and responsible choices among teens, and to build a movement of teens opposing toxic problems. Students can start a "Teens Turning Green" chapter at their school by clicking on the Teens Turning Green link below.
What: 4th Annual Teens Turning Green National Summit
When: February 6 & 7, 2009
Where: Marin Art and Garden Center, Ross, California
How Many Kids Does it Take to Change a Nation's Lightbulbs?
Light bulbs have long symbolized bright ideas. Not long ago, a light bulb went on for a New Jersey boy: what if he and his classmates - and students nationwide - replaced incandescent bulbs in their homes with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs)? He thought they could make a big difference as individuals, and an even bigger difference together. The non-profit JuniorEnergy.com was the result, and is now working in schools to help kids discover how they can have a positive impact on the planet by engaging family, friends, and neighbors in small, simple actions.
The Junior Energy website is kid-friendly, with an interactive calculator that shows the energy and financial savings that can be achieved by replacing regular bulbs with CFLs. There are also resources for teachers to integrate these issues into math, science and critical analysis lessons.
Need more encouragement to switch to CFLs? Up to 25 percent of home electric bills is for lighting. Incandescent bulbs are ridiculously inefficient, converting up to 90 percent of the electricity they consume into heat. That's so 19th Century! Some CFLs are four times as efficient as incandescent bulbs, and last up to ten times longer.
Take a look and change your bulbs!
BOOK REVIEW: Generation Green: The Ultimate Teen Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Life
The title pretty much describes this hip, practical manual, written by Tosh and Linda Sivertsen, a teenage boy and his mom. Tosh's introduction, describing his very basic upbringing in New Mexico without indoor plumbing, provides a "gross" factor that will appeal to kids and juvenile adults alike. In the first chapter, he lays out his desire to give teens the "basic lowdown on some of the most important issues affecting our planet," followed examples of innovative solutions people are using to address the issues. His belief is that if teens have "the inside scoop on what's going wrong and what it'll take to turn it around, [they]'ll be more pumped about trying some of the suggestions to come" throughout the book. Tosh shared his message in person with thousands of enthusiastic green teens when he spoke recently at the 2008 Environmental Youth Conference (see above).
Tosh acknowledges that green choices take some effort: "We all want comfort. We all want to fit in. In truth, we're all a little spoiled-at least in my generation." Nevertheless, he goes on in Chapter 9, "A Day in the Life," to walk the reader through how a typical teenager might go through his/her day, then rewinds, and demonstrates how a few simple changes could reduce that teen's footprint. Take a look at:
National Green Week
When: February 2-8, 2009
Where: Your school and throughout the nation
The organizers of this event hope to mobilize a million children and 2000 schools nationwide the week of February 2-8th to demonstrate how eco-friendly choices can reduce the volume of trash produced in schools - by a lot: In one week, the organizers hope to reduce school waste by more than two million pounds! Produced by the Green Education Foundation, National Green Week is a free program that will provide lessons and activities that are easily incorporated into science, math, language arts, social studies, and the creative arts -- and online support for the week. Web support will enable students to upload videos, photos, stories, and illustrations that document how National Green Week jumpstarted creative hands-on environmental endeavors.
Love Your Mother: Green Cleaning in Schools Valentine's Day of Action
When: February 13, 2009
Where: Your school and throughout the nation
This February 13th the Green Flag Schools Program will host a national day of action to encourage green cleaning policies and practices in schools all over the U.S. This day of action will demonstrate to students, parents, teachers, and administrators that eliminating toxic cleaning products improves health, and is cost-effective and easy.
Brower Youth Awards Call for Nominations
Each year the Brower Youth Awards honor six 13 to 22-year-old youths for their outstanding activism and achievements in environmental and social justice advocacy. Each winner receives $3000, a trip to San Francisco for the award ceremony, and a wilderness camping trip. The Brower Youth Awards promotes the accomplishments of these young leaders and provides ongoing access to resources, mentors, and opportunities to develop their leadership skills through Earth Island Institute's New Leaders Initiative. Applications are due May 15 and can be found via the link below.
It's Winter Migration Time!
Why not take a day or two to marvel at birds? The following festivals boast a myriad of wild bird shows, workshops, guided nature tours, kids' activities, art shows, and storytelling, and most events are free:
10th Annual Snow Goose Festival
When:: January 22-25th
Where: In and around Chico and Butte County
Info: (530) 345-1865
12th Annual San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival
When: February 1-3rd
Where: Building 897, Mare Island, Vallejo
The Green Living Expo
A free, fun, green family event. The Green Living Expo celebrates the greening of all manner of products and services. More than 100 exhibits cover: green building/remodeling; health & beauty; organic & natural products; green home interiors; an Eco-Fashion Show; Green Kids Zone; and an Eco-Car display. There's also food, music, and a freebie: All attendees receive a free canvas reusable shopping bag at the door.
When: February 21-22, 10am-5pm
Where: Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles
Sixth International IPM Symposium
This one is tailor-made for Green Teams or facilities managers who want to green the pest management routine at school. Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a long-standing, science-based, decision-making process that identifies and reduces risks from pests and pest management. The goal of IPM is to prevent pest damage by the most economical means while minimizing risk to people, property, resources, and the environment. IPM is especially important in schools and other places where children, who are still developing, spend much of their time.
When: March 24-26th
Where: Portland, OR