FEBRUARY 2009 NEWSLETTER
WARM HEARTS, NOT THE PLANET!
In this chilly month of love and Valentines, we focus on global warming and how to combat it. We're all for warmth, but not at the expense of our future and the earth's future. This issue links you to some of the intriguing and imaginative resources for teaching about global warming, focusing on approaches that inspire rather than frighten. These include books, grants, curricula, activities, free assemblies, and more.Safe Routes to Schools is the "issue of the month" and can help kids get out of cars! Jump in and get hooked on making a difference! We also bring you news about some basic human needs - water and milk - and how to help safeguard both for our state's children. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback, ideas and stories. And if you possess both the will and the way, please support our efforts by going to our Donate Now page.
NEWSFLASH: The federal Stimulus Bill passed and it includes funds for school repairs and modernization. We'll send you more information soon about how this can benefit California schools and ways to leverage the funds to make your repairs contribute to healthy, green, high-performance schools! Thanks to those of you that responded to our Action Alert and called your Congressional representatives!!!
Betsy Bigelow-TellerNewsletter Editor
NEWS: Curricula & Cash For the Climate Conscious
Interested in learning and teaching about climate change? Don't ask the Terminator for help. In July 2008 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have added global warming to California schools' curricula. But that won't stop the Earth Team, The Alliance for Climate Education and many others from offering activities, curricula and grants to California teachers and students who are hungry for information and inspiration. Peruse our digest below for ideas and projects.
The new Cool Schools Campaign run by Earth Team offers tips and activities for reducing your school's carbon footprint through energy efficiency and clean energy, alternative transportation, waste reduction and recycling. No need to start from scratch - the campaign provides middle and high school students in the Bay Area and beyond with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to take action against global warming in their schools and communities. Students can get involved in different ways, depending on their interest and amount of time they have available. Click on the link below to learn how to take action and have fun while working on the most challenging environmental issue.
The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) http://www.climateeducation.org offers interactive presentations for high school students that explain global warming and its effect on our planet, along with solutions to combat it. The program is science-based, energizing - and free! To schedule a presentation or for additional information, contact Ashlee Jensen at Ashlee.Jensen@climateeducation.org.
Scholarships and Grants: ACE has also announced that it will award $2,500 college scholarships for juniors and seniors, and is running a school grant competition with awards of up to $20,000 per winning school. The ACE School Action Grants are for high schools that "demonstrate strong, collective, school-wide commitments to fight global warming." The goal is to help schools and their communities lower their carbon footprint in significant and sustainable ways. Students, teachers, parents, and administrators can all apply on behalf of their high school, as long as the school takes part in an ACE Assembly in the spring or fall of 2009. The grants will be awarded in summer 2009 for the 2009-2010 academic year. Think you could figure out what to do with all that money? Get started by clicking on the links below.
Sustainability Listserve: Take a look at this new national listserve for K-12 educators. It focuses specifically on the topic of education for sustainability. Educators involved in teaching students in any K-12 subject are encouraged to join. The goal is for teachers to communicate and collaborate on strategies to integrate sustainability issues into the teaching and operations of K-12 schools. Click on the link below to join.
Teachers' KnowZone, created by the California Air Resources Board, is a great place to find information, lesson plans, and activities about California air quality and environmental issues.
Also check out:
Lynne Cherry, a renowned children's author, worked with award-winning photojournalist Gary Braasch to create a "non-scary" book about climate change science and solutions for grades 4-8 called, How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming. Reviewers are calling the book "beautiful," "informative," and "empowering." The National Science Teachers Association calls it "amazing," and notes that "Students and teachers can participate in brainstorming, experiments, water monitoring, or class discussions that might lead to student activism to improve our environment. With others around the world who are working on their hypotheses, we explore how life forms are changing due to increases in temperatures…By presenting real-life accounts of scientists and their work, author Lynne Cherry helps students and others connect with our environmental problems and actions by becoming active decision makers."
Title: How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming
Author: Lynne Cherry
The companion Teacher's Guide offers activities and lessons geared to 5th-8th grade science standards. Use the link below to look at the "Resources" section and find free downloadable activities.
Feed the Children Well -- at School
In growing numbers, parents, teachers and schools are promoting healthier school meal alternatives for students. Food & Water Watch is supporting this effort with a recently launched petition to give all schools the option to choose milk for their students that is free of the growth hormone rBGH.
The background: The artificial growth hormone rBGH is used in cows to increase milk production. In addition to being unhealthy for cows, it may be linked to cancer in humans. It has been banned in some countries, and US consumers are increasingly choosing milk produced without it. Some companies may be turning to school lunch programs as outlets for milk consumers don't want. But agribusiness shouldn't dictate what's best for school kids. Food and Water Watch's School Milk Campaign is working to make sure all schools have the option to choose milk that is free of rBGH.
What about the cost? Sarah Alexander of Food and Water Watch points out that hormone-free milk is cost-competitive for schools: "The large retail demand has increased the supply of rBGH-free milk, and milk prices in general are extremely low at the moment, so we don't anticipate there being cost issues for most school districts."
To learn more and sign the petition, go to
School Milk Campaign
You can read about other efforts to provide healthy food for kids at schools in Berkeley and Oakland by linking to an article called "Feeding the Children Well" by Mike Rosen-Molina in this month's The Monthly.
Take Back the Tap
Did you know that up to 40% of bottled water actually comes from the tap? Corporations are bottling the water that runs out of our faucets and selling it back to us at thousands of times the price under brand names like Dasani and Aquafina. What's worse, bottled water corporations are changing the very way that people think about water from a human right to a high-priced commodity - all in the name of profit. And state agencies are spending taxpayer dollars to buy bottled water at high cost, while our schools suffer budget cuts!
What does this have to do with your school ? To resist these efforts and protect our public water infrastructure, Think Outside the Bottle is asking individuals, schools, institutions, and local governments to pledge to support tap water over bottled water. And by getting state agencies to cancel bottled water contracts we could save state funding and reduce cuts to schools and elsewhere! You'll also be helping to reduce the huge amount of pollution generated by the manufacture, transport and disposal of billions of plastic water bottles. Sign the pledge today at
San Francisco Flower & Garden Show
This year the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show will offer thousands of green ideas and 25 gardens, celebrating sustainable design for landscapes large and small. One feature, "Sproutopia: A Place for Kids," will boast imaginative hands-on activities and interactive demonstrations, and miniature display gardens created by local schools.
When: Mar 18-22, 2009
Where: San Mateo Event Center
More info: http://www.gardenshow.com/sf/index/index.cfm
Attention SF Youth! Seeking 7 dynamic, motivated, environmentally minded youth...
to be part of a Youth Planning Committee for a Youth Environmental Summit in June 2009 in San Francisco. The Summit will address climate change, sustainability, and environmental justice for youth in the Bay Area through speakers, workshops, music and art. The Youth Planning Committee will coordinate the event, from setting up speakers and workshops, to marketing and outreach, to greening the event, and everything in between, with supervision and support from Global Exchange and San Francisco City staff. Youth involved in the Planning Committee will receive small stipends for their time and work, and will be required to attend a retreat March 28-29th. For more information or to receive the short application, contact email@example.com, (415) 255-0598.
Power Shift 2009 - Largest environmental youth conference in U.S. history
In the middle of the new administration's first 100 days, 10,000 young people will convene in Washington, DC to hold elected officials accountable for rebuilding the economy and reclaiming our future through bold climate and clean energy policy. When: February 27 - March 2, 2009
Where: Washington, DC
Brower Youth Awards Call for Nominations
The annual Brower Youth Awards honor six young people for their outstanding activism and achievements in the fields of environmental and social justice advocacy, honoring David Brower's legacy for protecting the planet. Each winner is awarded $3000 and brought to San Francisco for the award week and a backcountry camping trip. The Brower Youth Awards not only promote the accomplishments of these young leaders but also invest in their continued success by providing ongoing access to resources, mentors, and opportunities to develop their leadership skills through Earth Island Institute's New Leaders Initiative.
When: Deadline to submit nominations is May 15, 2009
The Green Living Expo
When: February 21-22, 10am-5pm
Where: Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles
Sixth International IPM Symposium
When: March 24-26th
Where: Portland, OR