By CHRISTINA HICKMAN
May 31, 2011
Next time you start to toss something in the trash, consider this: the average American produces enough garbage in one year to fill 21 football fields.
Students at New Bedford High School recently learned that staggering statistic and more in a series of assemblies held by ACE (Alliance for Climate Education) in collaboration with SEEAL (Southeastern Environmental Education Alliance).
"These presentations are not doom and gloom," said Alan Palm, the New England Lead Educator for ACE. "They are focused on opportunity and inspiring kids to be part of the solution."
With emphasis on climate change and what people can do to help reduce their carbon footprint, each of the four 50-minute assemblies at NBHS featured speakers well-versed in the subject.
They included Zoe Hansen-Dibello, Sustainability Education and Youth Coordinator at The Marion Institute, and Tem Blessed, a local hip hop artist and Green Coordinator for YouthBuild New Bedford, along with an interactive PowerPoint presentation from Palm.
The PowerPoint "ain't your old man's PowerPoint," said ACE's Head of Marketing, Matt Stewart. Rather, he said, it is "focused on building an engaging, animated, multimedia experience (with text messaging!) for climate science that sticks with apathetic teens."
Palm posed questions during the PowerPoint, encouraging the students to speak up with their answers.
"It's important for the youth to have a voice about this," said Hansen-Dibello.
She talked about the problems and their solutions, citing suggestions such as alternative transportation methods and buying local food products.
The presentation wrapped up with Blessed's performance of "Green Anthem," which he collaborated with 3rd Eye Unlimited to create.
"I love seeing young people doing constructive things with their talents," he told the audience. "Take the passion and ability you have and choose what to do with them."
Before leaving, Palm made a couple suggestions for students to help the cause right here in New Bedford:
Start an environmental club at the school or take part in the Connecting for Change, a solution-based conference put on by The Marion Institute which takes place on Oct. 21—23 this year.
Students were also encouraged to sign up with ACE for more information. Hansen-Dibello said that between 75 and 100 students signed up during the first two assemblies.
"It's good for the teachers to see their kids coming up here and to see so many people getting inspired," she said.
ACE is a national nonprofit organization that aims to educate high school students about climate change and urges them to take action in their schools, communities and every day life.
The program has visited more than 7,000 students in 15 schools in Southern Massachusetts and almost 1,300 high schools and 800,000 students across the United States.
ACE recently was awarded Climate Change Communicator of the Year 2011 by George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication. For more information about ACE, visit www.acespace.org. For more information about SEEAL, visit seal.org. For more information about the Connecting for Change conference, visit www.marioninstitute.org/connecting-for-change.
To view the article on the Standard Times website, please visit www.southcoasttoday.com
Point-of-care diagnostics includes a series of innovations which render informations about the state of health and eventual infections within a short time and close to the patient. The example of patients with diabetes illustrates how instant measuring can improve the quality of life.
At the Paracelsus Center in Lustmühle (Switzerland), Dr. Thomas Rau has a special method of finding the causes of the patients' sufferings. Among other diagnostic, he uses dark field microscopy, a merely physical method of POC diagnostics, to visualize microorganisms without using chemicals to color the sample. After treating the illness, he and his team proceed to give holistic instruction which the patient may comprehend to change his eating and sleeping habits and thus maintain his/her health.
As our healthcare systems needs to save money, the instruction of the population about how their body works, in combination with measures aiming to treat the causes instead of the symptoms of any disease, is the most sustainable and even the cheapest method of keeping us healthy.
For more information, please visit www.blueeconomy.de
Most of the buildings in which human beings work and live, have too dry air with an excessive amount of CO2 and are polluted with dust particles which endanger their health. For this reason, we are developing ever more and more innovative filtration systems in order to keep the air clean inside the buildings.
It is nothing new that plants improve the air. What is new is the pioneering work of Lars Thofelt, who observed how tropical forests catch dust particles from the air, let them fall down with raindrops and finally create more soil. He used his insights to design a rainforest in miniature which can be cultivated in large buildings. A mix of tropical plants not only removes dust particles, but also keeps the humidity stable, binds CO2 and even toxic formaldehyde - all this at a much lower cost than energy wasting filter systems.
If these micro-rainforests are planted in schools, the children can not only study in a more healthy surrounding. Instead of studying uninspiring biology books, they have a close experience of the functioning of ecosystems within their daily life.
For more information on the Blue Economy, please visit www.blueeconomy.de
By Matthew Courtland
The Natural Strategy
The educational system in the United States once ranked among the best in the world, but the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) most recent statistics show the US produced only average proficiency scores when compared against other countries in science, reading, and math. We now have a unique opportunity to regain our practice of effective teaching and prepare our youth for a rapidly changing future by incorporating environmental sustainability and social responsibility into all aspects of our educational system.
The current paradigm which pushes businesses and people to do more with less, and at increasing speeds, is transforming into a model aligned with the laws of nature. In this new world there is virtually no waste and people and planet are treated as more than raw materials, they are honored as the fabric of life itself. In order to make the transition, our youth must be exposed to and educated on whole systems thinking with the natural world as the ultimate guide. While a handful of school districts, private institutions, and universities are making great progress, many continue to teach more or less as they have for years.
A positive example for how to develop sustainability pedagogy can be found at The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education. This New York City based non-profit has developed a holistic approach that involves the individual student along with his or her classroom, school, and community. Known as Education for Sustainability (EfS), this learner-centered method works with the primary influences in the lives of students, knowing that true, long-term change is most easily attained when nearly all major influences support the new vision. The idea that a person’s surroundings will have to transform in order to support the much needed true shift in our cultural values is a powerful concept and exactly what will be required. Just as important is the Cloud Institute’s distinction as to the focus of their work. They are involved in “educating for sustainability, rather than about sustainability.”
Founded in 1995, the Cloud Institute offers a variety of services designed to enable sustainability, including long-term consulting, teacher workshops, and curriculum development. A great example of their work can be seen in The TerraCycle Curriculum Series. Lesson plans, story books, and student handouts are free to download and provide ready to use materials for educators. The Natural Laws and Principles of the Materials Cycle curriculum uses a story, Where Do Apples Go, to explain what happens to organic and non-organic material when thrown on the ground outside. The Healthy Commons program introduces children to the concept of shared resources, such as air, water, and community parks and begins to explore the responsibility we all have for these communal necessities of life.
While organizations like The Cloud Institute are focused solely on educating for sustainability, others include environmental protection as one piece of a larger mission. The Marion Institute works with communities, schools, and individuals on green economics and environmental education in addition to health, healing, and spirituality. They have launched four Seed to Table programs that link classroom experiences with the time children spend in the garden. The Marion Institute also aids schools in developing composting programs and providing field trip opportunities to visit local farms and green industries.
Sustainability field trips of another kind will soon be possible at Enclave Harbor. This well-designed virtual world has a variety of alternative energy and environmental science activities from solar-powered cargo blimps to tidal turbines and even a landfill. A workbook guides students through life, earth, and physical science virtual field trips with a focus on sustainability.
One well known real world school that has incorporated sustainability in a variety of ways is Phillips Exeter Academy. They developed an environmental mission statement in 2004 and, in 2005, fourteen staff members participated in a four-day workshop to learn how to infuse their teaching with environmental education. Today Phillips Exeter offers eight courses with a strong sustainability focus that cover topics ranging from English to science to religion. Students also have the opportunity to leave campus and explore sustainability in the larger world. Available programs are based in the mountains of Vermont; in Callan, Ireland; and at The Island School in the Bahamas.
While on campus, students who are interested can become Environmental Proctors. E-Proctors, as they are known, have a variety of responsibilities, including educating their fellow dorm mates on energy efficiency and conservation along with placing the composting pail outside the building each morning for pickup. Charging youth with these types of responsibilities has numerous advantages. The E-Proctors gain valuable experiences championing and managing environmental initiatives by promoting and supporting sustainability measures to their peers. Challenging students to live a life full of green measures solidifies important environmental habits, such as composting and turning off lights, preparing the Phillips Exeter community for stewardship of the natural world long after graduation.
Today, youth who are interested in sustainability have the opportunity to further their studies in both undergrad and graduate programs. Many traditional business colleges include triple bottom line course work and there has been a steady increase in “green MBAs.” The Presidio Graduate School offers both an MBA and MPA in Sustainable Management. Their integration of sustainability into every course ensures students are steeped in environmental and social responsibility. Being surrounded by green class work and real-life examples of sustainability in action allows students to become business leaders that see the world in new way.
The promise of sustainability education is a well trained, insightful workforce that views the natural world as a precious resource and all people as worthy of fair and equal participation in the global economy. If our nation looks to the examples of sustainability education currently in use and invests time and money into incorporating these holistic, whole systems ideals into a redesigned teaching model, our lagging educational system will begin to produce results that will benefit the entire world. Matt Courtland of The Natural Strategy educates people on sustainable business practices while reconnecting them to the energy and inspiration found in nature.
For more information visit http://www.environmentalleader.com/2011/05/17/the-promise-of-sustainability-education/
Please join us for Community ecology: Moving from Competition to Co-Creation, a fundraiser for the Marion Institute's Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative and P.O.W.E.R.
Thursday June 2, 2011 from 6:00-8:00pm in New Bedford, MA at the Joseph Abboud Factory.
This fundraiser is pay what you can event. We hope to see you there.
For more information on this event please visit the Green Jobs, Green Economy Initiative website.
Everybody knows Polyurethane foams (PU foams) from daily use: household sponges, insulation for buildings, toys and packaging for electronics are made of this material. About 3000 chemical additives make it more lasting, elastic, or flexible for any use in particular. Unfortunately, a large part of these additives has never been tested on long term consequences for human beings or nature.
While searching for a viable and natural substitute for these chemicals, two American mycologists had little to do but take a "closer" look. Mycelium, the mushrooms' root system, proved to be as functional, versatile and sturdy as artificial PU foam after submitting it to a simple cooking and drying process.
Gavin McIntyre and Eben Bayer founded Ecovative LLC in New York State and signed contracts with a furniture maker and an electronics company to provide molded foam for their packagings. They also developed insulating panels for home and commercial construction. The advantage: this mycelium foam is 100% free from chemical additives and biodegradable. When buried, it degrades in just four weeks.
For more information please visit www.blueeconomy.de
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