Saturday, March 30, 2013

Eco Heroes on Parade Again

'Tis the season for my 3rd Annual Eco Heroes Parade.  My Eagle Cove School 3rd graders researched famous environmentalists using these 3 books from the Earth Heroes' Series.
Once again, I have an crop of biographies written by my troops, with a cute collection of environmentalists visiting my room (check out the pictures below).  For our past 2 years of parades, check out:

Book pics from and parade pics from my camera.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Earth Hour in Retrospect

Earth Hour 7.0 has come and gone.  With it, more than 7000 cities participated, making it the most so far in its 7-year history.  A big jump from its inception in 2007 in just one city:  Sydney, Australia.

In my world, we had an adult-only Chili & Cornbread Cookoff at Eagle Cove School.  Being a Maryland "green" school, we also participated in a condensed version of Lights Out for Earth Hour Saturday night.  It really looked pretty cool in the darkened gym with the green string of tube lights weaving in and out of the chili crock pots!  

At school this past week, my 3rd graders wrote about Earth Hour for their weekly composition.  The overriding comment that we talked about was well-written in one student's paragraph:
"Mark your calendar!  Earth Hour is coming.... You might wonder why would we want to do this? Well, it saves a little bit of electricity, but it is a symbol that shows that little actions can become big things when put together.  Added up, it can make a big difference."
My brother (knowing I crave all things green) sent me an interesting semi-rebuttal article from Huffington post entitled: "Earth Hour Is A Big Waste Of Time! Or, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Bjorn Lomborg?" by Tom Zeller, Jr.  Despite it's turn-off title, it actually is a good article. As I started reading it, it reminded me of last year's "Human Achievement Hour" where the anti-Earth-Hour-ian's countered Earth Hour by proposing "Let's turn ON the lights during Earth Hour's 8:30--9:30 to celebrate all the world has accomplished due to technology."
Of course, it leads me begging the question:  Why does it have to be mutually exclusive?

(Which is not much different from "Why can't we all just get along?"  But, I digress.)

Zeller goes on to say that Bjorn Lomborg (who wrote the 2001 book The Skeptical Environmentalist  and who is a part of Copenhagen Consensus) counters ideas such as Earth Hour by saying it is "exactly what is wrong with today's feel-good environmentalism."  Copenhagen Consensus released this video this weekend as a counter:

But, after watching this video, I think there is a good message here. As in ALSO! Lomborg counters that Earth Hour over-simplifies climate change. But I disagree. It becomes something easy that everyone can take part in... and then it helps people analyze their way of living and invites them to decide, "Gee, what other changes can I make to help our planet?" Yes, it will take visionaries to see that their are other methods of change needed to be made on huge energy levels to change the current situation. But it also takes "the average Joe" to reconsider daily decisions that could lead to a less-wasteful lifestyle. The "average Joe" can't necessarily tackle green research and development. Additionally, you can't tell me that inventors, scientist, and environmental or political leaders don't turn off their tech for an hour every now and then to regroup or recharge!

Likewise too, we need videos such as the one above to see that the world is not in balance...that there ARE over a billion people world-wide who don't have the same luxuries that some of us are used to. So we need that message to be heard as well. And I bet, most Americans (and perhaps many other global citizens), may not even realize that statistic. In some ways, by turning of the light for an hour, we can get a slight understanding of what it might be like to be in "energy poverty" like these 1.3 billion people world-wide who already are. This map does an excellent job of showing the "haves versus the have nots."

I truly don't believe you should take multiple sides of the same goal and put them against each other. It is counter-productive. Additionally, it would seem that all groups involved, based on Zeller's article,want awareness. Awareness! Enlightenment!! Let's fight for the common good and bring about the necessary "light" to protect our resources, fight climate change, and make the world a better place! Sometimes "bringing the light" comes by way of Earth Hour candles in a darkened room. (Earth Hour, by the way, has been reported as "the single largest symbolic mass participation event in the world.") Sometimes "illumination" does comes in other ways--in making technological advances, writing books and articles, inventing new power sources, and sharing information! Bright ideas sometimes do indeed need brightly lit rooms. Again I say: Why does it have to be mutually exclusive?
Yes, many advancements have come from electricity. It has taken us to entirely new levels of thought, connection, imagination, ability, and innovation. No one here is countering that. Yet, we are a global society that (on average) is using the resources of 1.5 planets, when we only have ONE. Third graders get that. By having even the youngest of children be able to vote with a light switch, we will begin to create thinkers who will grow up one day. These children have the potential to become future green research and development leaders. This can only come through awareness. THIS is why we need both--and this is why we need to NOT be objectifying people who have the same ultimate end-goal (= reducing greenhouse gasses and the effects of climate change, while building a more sustainable and healthy planet).

We have ONE planet. Let's fight for it together!

Earth Hour Banner from, 60 vs 60 pic from, Video from, world map, Number of planets needed chart from

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Earth Hour is Out of This World

It's not often you get a message that is literally "out of this world!"

However, when it comes from the International Space is!

Here on Saturday, March 23, the day of Earth Hour (which is 8:30--9:30 in your time zone), is a message for those of you who may be still on the fence as to whether to participate.  When you take a look at the Earth from a new perspective--from above, from the International Space Station), you may start to see things in new ways.  Take a look and a listen from Russian Cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and his perspective on Earth Hour.

Then take part in Earth Hour. Watch your clock, and get creative with candlelight, bonfire, flashlights and more tonight from 8:30 to 9:30! (Click here to learn more about Earth Hour.)

Video from, Earth Hour Logo from

Thursday, March 21, 2013

World Water Day 2013 -- Part 3

This version of the 2013 logo contains traditional patterns from the USA, Brazil, Mexico and ChinaSo we are less than a week away from World Water Day 2013 (tomorrow, Friday, Mar. 22). If you've been reading along with GTG's Part 1 and Part 2, here's where you probably are:

--Concerned with the plight of people in Africa who have to travel great distances to get fresh (often not clean) water;

--More aware of the value (& sometimes scarcity) of this precious, wet resource of ours;

--Committed to such things as stopping the dripping faucet, taking shorter showers, or watching your water use while you brush your teeth;

--Finding yourself wondering how these few, little things can actually help.

That's where this infographic from The Pond Blog of Lochness Water Gardens can help bring about some insights when it comes to water usage for the planting and harvesting of some of your favorite foods.

So whether you switch from coffee to tea or from beef to pork to vegetarianism, there are some interesting and eye opening new options for things you can do to help conserve water... not just on World Water Day, but everyday. It shows you that little things do add up and each one of us can make a difference.

Water Usage Infographic

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Earth Hour Ahead: Saturday, March 23

It's one of those weeks where a LOT is going on.  Eco-speaking, that is.

You've got World Water Day this Friday, March 22nd, and Earth Hour, this Saturday night, March 23, 8:30--9:30.
If you've been following along here at GTG, you already know a bit about World Water Day through Part 1, Part 2, and my all time favorite video (a blast from the past).

But, unless you've been here for years, you might be questioning, "What is Earth Hour?" Well, as you can imagine, I've already had a lot to say on that here at GTG (so check my archives).  But, lucky for you, I'm no where near done.

This Saturday, March 23rd, is all about Earth Hour.  I find it fascinating that I find myself getting a little choked up about it every time.  It is so powerful, and Earth Hour speaks to me on a number of levels:

Historically:  This is my 5th year participating, one way or another, whether it be a home event with buddies or a school event with games.  I've spoken on behalf of Earth Hour at the Maryland House of Delegates in February 2011, I've seen it grow exponentially.  (Check out my graph of Earth Hour participants by # of countries and cities.)

Via Empowerment and Activism:  Earth Hour takes on a life and energy of its own--I love taking part in it. I love energizing kids about it each year as we watch the videos, brainstorm about it, and write persuasive paragraphs about it.  The kids can even see that by turning off your lights from 8:30 to 9:30 pm your time zone, you are a part of something big.  That truly is the definition of awe-inspiring!

This year we'll be at a school sponsored event, where due to the logistics, our time is lessened, which is a bit of a bummer, but still you are one who is small, taking part in one something that is globally big.

Watch the Official Earth Hour 2013 video and feel the need to be a part of something big...a part of something global!! Then turn out your lights this Saturday from 8:30 to 9:30 in your time zone and watch the "wave" of "de-illumination" take place!!

Video and header from; graph created using Earth Hour Statistics (from their website) as created on the Create A Graph Website.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The sounds of the bagpipes from church this morning are still wafting through my ears!  Happy St. Patty's Day and the wearin' o'the green!

I'm sporting my "Green Chic" t-shirt as March 17th is a good time to express both my eco-side and my Irish-lovin' side. Also, in the vein of recycling, I'm going to bring up some of my oldies but goodies and "greenies" from my GTG leprechaun days of yore.

Cheers to you and yours today, as your Irish eyes are smiling, while you're drinking a green beverage or two.

Sláinte--a collection of all things green (eco, Irish, and otherwise!)

Pre-St. Patty's Day--a link to 10 green initiatives to take for this leprechaun-lovin' day

The Wearing o'the Green--a bundle of ways to live green, eco-style

Eat Green--green up your food routine

Living o'the Green--my family's St. Patty's Day 2010, decked in green and painting/installing our rain barrel

The March 2009 Green Team Gazette--where this blog started--as a monthly newsletter

Shamrock pic from; Rain barrel pic of our back yard from

Friday, March 15, 2013

World Water Day ~ Part 2

This version of the 2013 logo contains traditional patterns from the USA, Brazil, Mexico and ChinaInfographics are great ways to visualize the importance of and information about a subject, as was evident a few days ago with my World Water Day ~ Part 1 post.  Videos are too.

Here are 2 for you:  the first is an eye-opening one about the importance of opening our eyes to World Water Day 2013.  The 2nd one tells you some of the science of water (and the importance of potable [= drinkable] water), proving the point that "Water is Amazing" (created for World Water 2012 last year.)

World Water Day this year is March 22nd, 2013.

To learn more about World Water Day, check out the United Nations World Water Day 2013 brochure or their website... or check out (Co-founded by Matt Damon).  2 great (& humorous) videos can be found on the Matt Damon link!  Definitely check those out!!

Video 1 from; "Water is Amazing" Video from; Logo from

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

World Water Day 2013 ~ Part 1

This version of the 2013 logo contains traditional patterns from the USA, Brazil, Mexico and ChinaIt's been said:  "Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink."

Fitting in that we're less than 2 weeks away from an eco-holiday: March 22nd--the annual United Nations World Water Day

Here's a great infographic that helps put water (that valuable and often taken for granted wet li'l resource out there) into perspective!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Greening Your Home and Yard Routine

Spring has nearly sprung, and tonight is Daylight's Saving Time here in MD.

As the weather turns nicer, here's a great infographic to help you green your home and yard routine!!8 tips to reduce your carbon footprint - go green! :)

Infographic from 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Following the FlowChart of Climate Change

Here's an eye-opener of an infographic.  Not necessarily classroom-friendly, but definitely educator-friendly for giving good arguments when the naysayers continue to crop up.

(Now "why" they continue to crop up when 97% of climate scientists are all on board, I'm perplexed... but perhaps this will turn some of those naysayers around!)

"Do you believe in Climate Change" Flow chart ~ From


Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Radical Explosion of PBS Resources!

The last month was brought to me by the Letters P & D: Professional Development! I began February at the MAEOE Conference in Ocean City, MD where 600+ Maryland environmental and outdoor educators gathered to engage in eco-ed!  This past Friday I was at the NAIS in Philadelphia, PA with about 5000 independent school educators and administrators with a team from my school at the National Association of Independent Schools.  

(If only I could have worked it out to go to EdCampIS this past Saturday with my Head of School for the "Independent School EdCamp" Experience, as I feel EdCamps are one of THE most amazing and dynamic types of professional development...but I digress.)
Conferences and professional development are so energizing for teachers.  Yes, the sub planning leaves a little bit to be desired (as teachers, we know it always takes sooo long to write up the plans for when you are going to be absent--much more time than just getting the lessons together in the first place).  But, to be in a fresh environment and network with other instructors and school leaders, and get exposed to the amazing things that are capable within a enriching!

The 76 page NAIS booklet for the 3 day conference definitely gave you a lot to choose from, even if you were only there for a day, like me.  One of my favorite sessions was about a household name that we all know and probably love:  PBS.

What I didn't know was the wealth that lived over at PBS.  We're not just talking Sesame Street or even Downton Abbey, folks.  There is soo much more there.  Here were some of the amazing finds I discovered in my 1 hour PBS session:

PBS Kids Website has been rated one of the 50 best websites in Time Magazine.  To build your readers, check out PBS Kids/Read!

PBS Teacherline has online, facilitated professional development.

PBS Kids Island is a great place to go for online reading games for beginning readers.

PBS Mobile has approximately 30 apps for tablets.

PBS Parents is a great online resource for parents.

PBS Kids Lab has a large array of educational games--many of which are interactive whiteboard-ready!

PBS Ready to Learn starts with a curricular framework with a transmedia approach (rather than stand-alone interactives)

PBS Learning Media is a treasure trove, plain and simple!  Over 20,000 classroom-ready resources are right there waiting for you to build your lessons and make them blossom.  With partners like NASA and the Library of Congress, the wealth is evident! Search by keyword, grade level, curricular strand, or even by standards. It is a free login, and you can customize it for you by allowing you to add resources to your favorites, building classes and thematic units as you go!  Over 850,000 educators have already registered to use PBS Learning Media!

Here's just a few little eco-favorites I've found already with just the briefest of searches over at PBS Learning Media!

This is definitely a bookmark-worthy site!

To learn more about NAIS, be sure to check out some of their official attendee-bloggers.  Between NAIS and PBS, you might find yourself a little lost for days, surfing the net for so many goodies!!

Photos & videos from....PBS Pioneers video:,  PBS Kids from