Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green... Or Is It? Ma Nama Na!

I'm going to be bold and daring in this statement:  The new "Muppet Movie" might just possibly be the greenest movie ever!

The elements of green are everywhere:

Let's start with the main plot point ~ a ruthless eco-terrorist/ capitalist wants to take over the namesake's property and drill for oil.

Secondary plot point ~ Jealousy, the green-eyed monster, rears its head in matters of love.

Money, a green favorite to many, was flowing this opening weekend.  Case and point:  "The Muppets" was the #2 grossing movie of Thanksgiving Weekend (love it or hate it, Twilight's Breaking Dawn wouldn't dare step aside to give up the #1 spot).  "The Muppets" grossing $29.5 million this opening weekend alone, according to UGO: The Movie Times.

But wait!  There's more!

Environmental steward Yazmin Watkins served on set, making it greener than ever! According to On Earth:  A Survival Guide To the Planet, her jobs were many.  She was the one in charge of:
  • reducing the amount of waste produced on set;
  • monitoring and eliminating waste in the areas of energy usage, water, and other vital resources;
  • hiring green vendors; including organic caterers and composters
  • making eco-friendly decisions along the way, whether it's reuasble bottles (plastic-be-gone!) or eliminating eco-unfriendly wardrobe malfunctions.
  • All of this (and more) ties in with Walt Disney's Environmental Initiatives and Commitments, which they began in 2009. 
And then, of course, there's Kermit the Frog.

There's no question that Kermit is a fair-minded frog, and an environmentalist at heart.  How can you not be, when you rely on a clean planet as a multi-talented swamp-dweller?  How can there be any question about his eco-fortitude when he's known for singing "The Rainbow Connection?"  The song clearly is a tribute to clean air, optimism, and a view for a better world with it's word's "What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing? And what do we think we might see? Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection... The lovers, the dreamers, and me."

Then of there's his anthem, "It's Not Easy Being Green."  Can anyone deny that perhaps the green/eco-movement started here, with Kermit?

And then too, there the fact that Kermit is a Congress-speaking activist. Check out the video here of his day on Capital Hill in Washington, DC, where he was speaking on behalf of amphibian conservation for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Which all brings about another definition of "green:"  all the newbie children that all us "Muppet Show" fanatics of the 1970s are bringing to the show.  Our own children.  Many of us doing it not only as a family bonding experience, but also as a large yet valid excuse to walk in the theater and fork over our wallet-greens to purchase the tickets!  It is our turn to indoctrinate the youth of America.  Our time to pay tribute and homage to the late Jim Henson.  Our time to cherish the fact that "it's not easy to be green."  Our time to embrace our inner-green.

And yes, our time to perhaps embarrass our children as we openly sing along to the old favorite tunes that percolate throughout the movie.  Or, maybe that was just me...and my own mini me!

Movie Poster image from and Kermit pic from  Walter pic from

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Wish of Thanksgiving

The cornucopia has always been one of my favorite symbols of the autumn and Thanksgiving season.  The horn of plenty.  An image of wealth, that has nothing to do with money. It evokes the beauty and the bounty of nature and all that surrounds us.

May today bring you a moment to reflect and celebrate the wealth that surrounds you.  May you see the bounty that is around you ~ both in your own home, as well as in your neighborhood or globally.  May your Thanksgiving bring you love, laughter, joy, gratitude, and memories of friendships and family, and peace. 

Click here to see a special Thanksgiving card, from me to you.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Image from

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Feed the Hungry With

I ran across this new-to-me video, and was reminded about how much I love

From their website, Freerice has 2 goals:

"1.  Provide education to everyone for free.
2.  Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free."
Play the vocabulary or other games, and "win" 10 grains of rice with each successful answer for folks worldwide who are hungry.  It's a win-win site.  Get smarter, help others. Check out this video to find out even more:

LANGUAGE LEARNING:  German, Spanish, Italian, French
HUMANITIES:  Literature, Famous Paintings
GEOGRAPHY:  Flags of the World, Countries (on Map), World Capitals
ENGLISH:  Vocabulary, Grammar
MATH:  Multiplication, Basic Math (Pre-Algebra)
CHEMISTRY:  Symbolls (full & basic)

Video from; photo from the website.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Green View on the Roof

Today, I had the privilege of being part of a crew of at least a dozen or more parents, teachers, and even a grandparent of our school to make "green history" at my school:  Eagle Cove School.  As a Maryland "Green" School, we are all about being green.  Recycling is 2nd nature.  Composting is what we do.  We grow vegetables in the on-campus greenhouse.  We trek along the nature trail, and we seine in the river that neighbors our campus. Today, we ratcheted it up a notch:  today we put in a 15' x 25' green roof on a section of one of our campus building's roofs. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  If that is indeed the case, then a Smilebox, with embedded video, is worth at least 10,000.  Watch it here, with photos I snapped throughout the day.  It's amazing what you can accomplish in a little over 3 hours when you come equipped with a crew!  Special thanks to Rick Truett, from RF Truett Sustainable Building in Pasadena, Maryland, for all the assistance along the way today, helping our Green Roof take shape.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another Successful Story of Stuff: The Story of Broke

I happen to think Annie Leonard from the "Story of Stuff" videos is sharp as can be.  I love the style of her videos in exposing things--whether it is over-production, over-consumption, pollution & plastic, health & cosmetics, and more.  In fact, it's been the topic of GTG conversation many times before.
Well, Annie Leonard is back at it, this time with "The Story of Broke."  In it, she looks at money, our country, our economy, and the fact that there does seem to be money for certain things, but not others.  Once again, she hits a nail on the head.  Check out her latest video below, or go to the Story of Stuff website.

Video from

Sunday, November 13, 2011

So...This One Time...At EdCamp...

There are times in our lives when movie lines are like the soundtrack or text reel of our lives.  I've got to say, here today, mine is from the 1999 movie "American Pie."  A view of the following clip might take you back down memory lane, especially if you're in the over-30 set.

Of course, I need to tweak the line a little bit: 
"So... this one time... when I was at EdCamp..."

EdCamp Harrisburg, that is.  Yesterday.  And yep, can't stop talking about it.

Of course, to get the full degree of why it's so embedded on my brain, you need to know what an EdCamp is.   For a great overview, and a list of all upcoming and past EdCamps (complete with Google Pin map), go to the EdCamp Wiki ~ a portal of all things EdCamp.  The video there of EdCampPhilly is phenomenal in that it allows you to see the learning in action.

So back to the original question...What is EdCamp?
The short version, though, is that an EdCamp is a free, "unconference."  Like-minded individuals (aka: educators) come together to a common place (aka: the camp) to meet in a forum to discuss their field.  There are no key-note speakers or high-rolling conference price tags.  The participants become the speakers who generate the topics on which to speak.  The conference topics evolve right there and then, that morning.  The players are the experts.  You have a crew of people who have different experiences, different expertise, and a massive sharing occurs.  You have multiple rooms with a variety of topics happening simultaneously, and you can bop in and out to get the most of your day on all the topics you are interested in.  Amazing conversations take place. Everyone goes home with valuable insight and information.
So... yesterday.... when I was at EdCamp.... I met great people & new-to-me ed-tech experts.  I put names, with faces, with Twitter-handles of some of the Twitter folks I follow who are rock stars of the #edtech field.  I got a wealth of new ideas and new sites to go check out.  I came home with resources that I'll be able to use with my 3rd graders--this week, if I want to.  I got to take part in interesting conversations and debates. It also showed me how little I truly know, and how eager I am to soak up more!

In short, EdCampHBG rocked.

Kudos to the team of organizers... and for those of you who couldn't be there, you can check out the backchannel of people's tweets from yesterday, and their reflections today, at either of these two spots on twitter:  @EdCampHBG or under their hashtag #EdCampHBG.  Likewise, you can see their Flicker photo roll, shedule, and the "meet the participants" at the EdCampHBG website. 

Next week, during my Eagle Cove School professional day, I have about a half an hour to present on all things iPad, edtech & more... and I'm sure it'll start out "Last week.. when I was at EdCamp....!"

If you can, be sure to find an EdCamp near you, and take part!!

Photo from; EdCamp Website pic from,
EdCamp Wordle from; Video

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Seriously?! The Sponsor Versus the PSA

Sometimes, life never ceases to amaze me. Here's the latest "I'm shaking my head."

 A few weeks ago, Plastic Pollution Coalition started to play an anti-single-use-plastics video featuring the top 11 American Idol [A.I.]  finalists from last year.  Now, the A.I. sponsors are trying to put the kaputz on the video, asking Plastic Pollution Coalition to remove it from their YouTube Channel.  For lack of the need to reinvent the wheel, read an excellent article about it here from Beth Terry over at My Plastic Free Life,.which mentions another great article over at Forbes.  Watch the A.I. video in question  here below, for as long as it's still an active video (aka, not forced-to-be-removed):

Seriously? Sponsors removing a pro-environment, anti-litter commentary?  Nice. (That's sarcasm, if you weren't sure.)  As both the Beth Terry and the Forbes articles speculate, Coca-Cola is one of the major sponsors.  Gee, they have a lot of products that they serve up in plastic single-use containers.  Especially when they are the parent company to approx 545 product brands, listed here.  Among those, aside from the obvious Coke & Diet Coke (and this is coming from a Diet Coke girl, mind you,) there's Candad Dry, Dasani Water, Nestea, Seagrams, Fresca, A&W, Sprite, Fuze, Glaceau Smartwater & Vitami water, Hi-C, Minute Maid, Powerade, Schweppes, and Simply Orange... just to name a few.  Could they be the sponsor in question?  Hmmm.... Makes you wonder.

I am glad to see that the Plastic Polution Coalition isn't pulling the PSA.  To see their thoughts on the subject, go to their website.  In the meantime, the big question....what are you going to do?

Plastic Pollution Coalition logo from, Video from, coke & American Idol pic from

Monday, November 7, 2011

Series 7 Billion: The Final 7th

It's been a full week.  Halloween.  November's arrival.  Daylight savings time.  Global milestone of 7 billion people.  Yep...not your typical week.

So, where do you stand, here, a week after the population explosion?  Feeling crowded yet?  As our GTG series o'7 billion draws to a close, here's a final resource for you.

Population Connection's Education Program is a great website focused entirely on population education.  It is a national program dedicated to teacher training (preK to 12), providing age-appropriate curricula on the multi-disciplinary fields of population trends, environmental education, public health, sociology, history, geography, anthropology, economics, ecology, and civics.   Whether it is through their newsletter, online resources, their curricular-products you can purchase, connections to state and national standards, or their teacher training, their resources are vast!  In their storehouse, they have 150+ activities (with a majority of those being hand-on, kid-friendly, clever classroom activities).

Great places within their site to investigate:
Images from the Population Connection website:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Series 7 Billion: Part 6/7

Just how typical are you?  Regular?  Ordinary?  Run of the mill?  Average Joe?

From a population sense, you can find out just where you fall on the typical-ometer.  National Geographics, with their year-long dedicated series our global population milestone of 7 billion, has created a great video entitled "7 Billion:  Are You Typical?"  It truly helps you visualize what our "typical" global citizen resembles.  Also... again... the philosophy is emphasized:  just look how important the individual acts are of 7 billion participants. 

So, Go ahead, check it out...just how typical are you?

For more on our Green Team Gazette Series of 7 Billion, investigate here.
Video from; image from

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Series 7 Billion: Part 5/7

7 billion people and you: What's your number? | Quirky (with a dash of genius)! | Scoop.itToday's my bday... happy birthday me!

We all have lots of things we ponder and contemplate on our birthdays.  In this season of 7 Billion, an interesting thing to ponder is our place in this great big population thing.  BBC has a great link where you can calculate just that!  Put in your birthdate, demographics, and find out where you are in in the grand population scheme.  

As for me and my birthday, I was the 3,646,597,107th person alive on Earth.  I was the 77,752,632,831st person to have lived since history began.  Looking at those numbers, the numbers of candles on the cake don't feel that bad at all!

To see more on GTG's "Series 7 Billion," check out this link.

Image from

Friday, November 4, 2011

Series 7 Billion: Part 4/7

Here's the View from Down Under...An Australian perspective on how 7 billion will impact their country...but how much different is it truly on a global aspect?

Click here to read the other parts of GTG's "Series 7 Billion."

Video from

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Series 7 Billion--Part 3 of 7

In this week of 7 billion awareness, both globally and here on GTG, this is a good video that highlights the environmental impacts highlighted in this video.  One of my personal favorites in the video is the Sir David Attenborough quote.

Another great place to go to investigated the impact of 7 billion for sustainability, urbanization, health care services & more is 7 Billion Actions.  This site also was developed through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which is leading this global campaign to build awareness around the perks and perils of 7 billion people. 

From their website, there objectives are focused around 7 major themes:
  • Poverty and inequality;
  • Women and girls empowerment;
  • Reproductive health and rights;
  • Young people;
  • Ageing population;
  • Environment;
  • Urbanization.
Go to their website, view a story, share a story, take part in one or more of 7 billion actions!!

Still searching for more?  Check out Worldwide Institutes Vision of a Sustainable World and their article:  "As Global Population Surpasses 7 Billion, 2 Clear Strategis for a Sustainable Future.

Also, click here to investigate more of GTG's "Series 7 Billion."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Series 7 Billion--Part 2 of 7

Here in the aftermath of Halloween, late night trick or treating (on a school night, no less), and sugar highs and lows, GTG is dedicated this week to checking out 7 billion--what it looks like in terms of population, and what that means for our planet. So, here's some "food for thought" and a few more finds (no, not quite 7 billion!) as you raid your Halloween stash!

1.  7 Billion and Me is a site with a boatload of information.  Included is yet another running tally of our population growth, along with a bunch of other resources as well.  (Kids do indeed find it pretty amazing as to how fast those counters move!).  You can also include your demographics (including your birth date) to determine just how exactly 7 billion affects you.  The website was created by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and it builds a bit of perspective on where 1 person can fit into the mix.  You also could experiment with your students to see how the results change if you vary the demographics and home countries!!

2.  The World of 7 Billion is another site, with a gazillion more goodies.  Among other things there, you can find an interactive wall chart showcasing a timeline of population growth, middle & high school lesson plans, and activities for school wide events.  You can also find student contest videos that were submitted by high school students back in May 2011 voicing how they, as students, could make a plan to be part of the global population situation.

3.  On Free Technology for Teachers yesterday, Richard  Byrne highlighted a story on NPR, Visualizing How a Population Grows to 7 Billion.  It included a great video, which you can check out there, or here below.

Pic with numbered signs equalling 7 billion from, Video from NPR, and World of 7 Billion from .