Saturday, February 27, 2016

Happy 6th Birthday #GTG

It's amazing what happens when you start studying your calendar:  you realize you are amidst a birthday, anniversary, special season.  

That's a little bit what happened here when I realized my first Green Team Gazette post was born 6 years ago:  Feb. 26, 2010.  

A toe-dip out in the blogosphere 6 years ago, 126,012 visitors later, here we are.  I'd like to send out a thank you to all of you who have visited along the way and to all of  you who keep coming back. 

Cheers to the environmentalists out there, the educators, the innovators, the #EdTech teachers amongst you.  Thanks for riding along, and sharing in the resources, the rants, the chuckles, and the cheers of the past 6 years.  Raising a glass for many more as we continue to learn from each other and go forth!

Image created Using the PicCollage app on my iPad.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

MidMonth Climate Manifesto: John Oliver For the Win

In the category of "oldy but goodie," this springs up from a bit ago, but always worth a rewatch.

Here John Oliver demonstrates the how media debates on television typically show the numbers as a climate skeptic versus Bill Nye. 1 to 1. Seemingly 50-50. However, John Oliver, along with displaying some definitely good facts, does a wonderful job of visually illustrating what 97% climate science support really looks like in a debate.

Beware, bewarned--this is for the adults in the group who like sarcastic, snarky (and language-filled) humor.  For that reason there, this one is NOT for classroom consumption!

Video from

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Barry Rosenthal's "Found In Nature:" Marine Debris Art in Action

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is no longer a surprise to any of us.  In fact statistics of marine debris are more and more startling all the time.  The latest:  by 2050, plastic pollution in our planetary oceans is predicted to outnumber fish populations.  That's startling.

Barry Rosenthal has been combing beaches since 2007, collecting trash and repurposing it into art in order to bring a greater awareness to what we have been doing to our waterways.  Here's a short video of Barry narrating some of his finds and his creations.

For Barry's Website, where you can see his whole gallery of "Found in Nature" debris pieces, click here.

I like the lines:
"You are what you consume. You are what you do to the environment."  
What does that make you?  And what can you do about that?
How can we leave this world a better place?

Video from, image from

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Eco Wins & Eco Losses: Hotel Style

A week or so ago we did a pre-Valentine's Day get away to a cute town not far away, rich with quirky
shops and fun meanderings, in and out.

Kids and dog at grandparent's house. Check.

Just the two of us, and clearly from the giddiness I carried with me, it's been far too long since I've been "away."   I was please as punch with both a comfy room, a hotel with a pool & hot tub, a darn tasty breakfast, and a nice little street fair to boot. Yes, a nice get away, indeed!

Heading back to the breakfast, I was impressed with the plates, cups, & bowls with their "Sustainable Forestry Initiative" logos, and message stamped on each one saying that they were recyclable. Superb! Just how it should be!


I noticed that on the buffet (right next door to the plates) there was a bowl of individually-wrapped apples. Wrapped in plastic, 1 for 1. Ack?!!! Apples have a natural packaging! It's called skin!! Which caused me to ponder: "Do we seriously live in a world that's so germaphobe/clean-a-phobe that we need to individually wrap apples in plastic wrap?!"

I guess so.

Insert huge sigh here.

Unfortunately from here, the cosmic eco-miss continued. In this hotel, dedicated enough to advertise on logo-ed plates that they care for our planet enough to provide sustainable paper-ware, I was struck by the fact that there was one receptacle in the dining area. Well, two really, though two identical ones. Ones that looked far more like a traditional trash can than any sort of environmentally-friendly recycle bin. Long live co-mingling food scraps and recyclable products (she says sarcastically).

So, as I bid my plastic-ware, recyclable plates, and food scraps into the abyss of the trash bin, I bid a welcome to my wares to a long life in their future new home--the ever-lasting "sustainable" landfill.

Another mega sigh.

The irony: the weekend we were away is the weekend of my annual eco-mecca.  It's the equivalent my Superbowl.  The annual environmental conference at MAEOE (= Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education). For the first time in 7 years, I was not there. And while I was certainly having a delightful weekend away with my husband, I found myself pondering: "Why are we still here, in 2016?  Why am I writing about plastic wrapped apples, 5.5 years after I've written about that all before? When will we figure out that plastic wrap is a terrible drain on a non-renewable resource. When are we going to realize, as a society, that there is no "away?" Why do we keep throwing it all away... and when will we ever learn?

Increasingly, I'm worried that the answer to that question is, "When it's too late."

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day Via The U.S. Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior has posted this great video on their Facebook page in honor of Valentine's Day.   It's a great way to get in the spirit of love, beauty, romance, and nature seeing these national sight of beauty.
Click here to view the video.

May your Valentine's Day be filled with love--
for your people, for yourself, and for the wonder of nature that surrounds us all.

America’s public lands are wonderful places to love and be in love. Every year thousands get engaged and married in...
Posted by U.S. Department of the Interior on Friday, February 12, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

40 Days & 40 Items

Regardless of your religious leanings, it's probably somewhere on your radar that it is Ash Wednesday.  (Or maybe the bigger radar for you was that yesterday was Mardi Gras!)

Ash Wednesday commemorates the 40 days of Lent. These are the 40 days between Ash Wednesday & Easter Eve (the Saturday before Easter).  I did not grow up following the tradition of getting ashes on Ash Wednesday, though I did grow up in the church.  That part of the Easter Season just wasn't a major focus for my family. Other things did.  

One of the elements of Lent, if that was/is your tradition, is to either give up something meaningful to you for 40 days... or the twist: do something additional/out of your typical routine for those 40 days of Lent.  You are sacrificing one way or another.  Giving up chocolate is an all time popular favorite.  Though, I have heard up people more recently going on a social media fast (to bring more connection to their lives), exercising for 40 days, or making other lifestyle choices during that time period between Ash Wednesday and Easter to enhance their lives. 

That's where today's post starts.  I like that idea of 40 items in 40 days.  I saw this picture on Facebook today, which actually served as inspiration for this today.

There's also the larger tackle:  40 BAGS in 40 days.  Yes, that would be some major "decrapifying" (to quote the image below).  Given it's report card season, that seems pretty darn intense for this kid.  But 40 items.  I think can handle that.

So whether you observe Lent or not, it's a good way to gear up for spring, and carve out a little extra room in your closet.  But whatever you do, don't throw it away (there IS no away). So go forth and donate or regifting.  Keep those landfills free and clear.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Chick-Fil-A, Leading the Way: From Beverage Cup to Bench

My son knows one of my anti-mantras is "Styrofoam is Evil." (Capital E intented!!)

Of course he does, since I'm a raving environmentalist.

And as his mother, I know he loves Chick-Fil-A.

Of course I do. I'm a mom.

But one thing that has always seemed at counter odds with that fast food stop is their love for polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) cups.

Insert mama anti-mantra here!

Well, unbeknownst to me, Chick-fil-a has an environmental game plan about that.  Watch the video here to see how they go from beverage cups to benches.  Way to go, Chick-Fil-A for finding an innovative environmental solution that works for everyone!

To learn more, check out:
Chick-Fil-A's Environmental/Sustainablilty Mission Statement.

Chick-Fil-A's blog post "Inside Chick-Fil-A: From Cup to Bench"

Image from; video from

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

11 Dynamite Sites for #Eco Lesson Plans

We've all seen the "Keep Calm and..." memes.  How about if we went a li'l environmentally crazy:

Here are 11 dynamite sites where you can "go eco" and find environmentally-oriented lesson plans:

Lesson Plans from

Read-Write-Think: Reading and Writing About Pollution to Understand Cause and Effect
Global Environmental Issues: What Are the Worst 9 Environmental Issues Globally? 

Discovery Education:  Protecting our Planet

EekoWorld @ PBS Kids

Learning to Give, Earth Connections (A site dedicated to philanthropy education)

Science Lots of Lessons

BrainPop Educators:  Water Pollution Lesson Plans

Teach Engineering:  What's Air Got to Do With It?

Image from