Global Warming

Asked if he was going to see the new movie about Global Warming, former President Bush said "Doubt it."

Up until about five years ago, if you brought up the subject of global warming with some folks, their response was that the science was somewhat fuzzy. Not that you'd ever hear that from a scientist truly involved in studying climate change, but those who didn't want us to focus on this crisis tried to fool us into believing that there were major doubts that human behavior was causing a rapid warming of the earth. Today, if you asked some of those same people, they'll say "yes, global warming does exist and it may have been caused by human behavior." But....... now they've been programmed to add that "there's probably not much we can do about it, and we certainly shouldn't ruin the economy by legislating anything too hastily."

With the huge popularity of "An Inconvenient Truth," the Oscar-winning film about global warming narrated by Al Gore, and a new film by Leonardo DiCaprio (the 11th Hour) we felt it was a good time to let folks know about lots of resources, which can help you study global warming and take action to make a difference.


NOTE: Move your mouse over the names of web sites mentioned in this article. They are links and you can click them to visit those sites. (A full list of links is also included at the end of the article for your convenience.)

Global Warming: Fact or Myth?

Goodbye Earth Hello MoonGlobal Warming (AKA Climate Change) is a FACT. Just ask some of the penguins getting ready to leave the planet (OK - that's just according to a wonderful children's book but.....)

The earth is getting warmer and the impact of the changes in temperature is already dramatic. An overwhelming majority of scientists agree that greenhouse gasses, emissions of cabon dioxide resulting from our use of fossile fuels, destruction of wetlands and clear-cutting of forests, are clearly part of the problem. These same experts also agree that hundreds of millions of people will suffer from the effects of global warming. The real questions to be answered right now are what we can do about it, how we can change our behavior, what should be legislated, and what can we do to help the people and areas of the earth most impacted by how far we've already gone.

If you'd like to start off with a good introduction to what global warming is, what scientists believe causes it, the impact it is having today, a vision of the future, and ideas you can use to make a difference starting now, click here to check out this presentation by Steve Van Velsor (of the Sierra Club). He spoke at 1st. Presbyterian Church Palo Alto and was gracious enough to allow his presentation to be posted to the web. You can see his presentation, hear him speak, and read the notes. 

Searching the Web for Global Warming Resources

Search the web for the term "Global Warming" and one of the first web sites you come to is the Environmental Protection Agency's web site on global warming. Given the reluctance with which the Bush Administration has approached this issue, the EPA web site does a fairly good job of explaining global warming. The kid's page at EPA is also a really nice place to visit for parents and teachers and kids.

The second site you'll find when you search (using Google) is globalwarming.org. Now that certainly sounds like the name of an organization truly concerned with global warming, but, their concern is actually more for the plight of poor unfortunate and overburdened consumers. Pesky laws and regulations based on flimsy science and doom-and-glooming liberals make things so tough for consumers who just want to fill up their Hummers that someone's got to watch out for them. Viewing a couple of TV spots they are promoting around the country, you find out how lucky we are to have carbon dioxide, because without it.... well.... life would really be terrible. And, according to these folks, there are real doubts about whether the glaciers are melting. And though it would be funny if it weren't so sad... their tag-line on commercials they are running on TV is "Carbon Dioxide..... They call it pollution, we call it life."

The web site is the work of "The Cooler Heads Coalition" formed May 6, 1997 and claims to dispel the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis. One of the most vocal scientists to spend many years trying to debunk the idea of global warming was Dr. Frederick Seitz, a former president of the National Academy of Sciences. According to a story in April's Vogue Magazine, Dr. Seitz resolutely disputed suggestions that climate change was a real and present danger. It seems that Dr. Seitz has a history of disputing so-called flawed science. He was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the tobacco industry to debunk the theory that smoking caused lung cancer. Guess whose payroll he's been on since the 1990's? Would you believe oil companies? Check out the the resources put together on this by the National Environmental Trust.

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How to End Global Warming poster

Next up is the Union of Concerned Scientists. In these Orwellian times, I would have expected this to be another bogus site given the name, but... this one is the real deal. Real scientists, concerned about real science!

Founded by faculty members and students at MIT in 1969, UCS is an independent nonprofit alliance of more than 100,000 concerned citizens and scientists. They augment rigorous scientific analysis with innovative thinking and committed citizen advocacy to build a cleaner, healthier environment and a safer world. Their web site's section on global warming is an outstanding resource.

How far behind can Wikipedia be on any search you do? Not far at all. Remember that what's written in Wikipedia is the work of average folks like you and me, scientists like those from UCS, and pundits from places like globalwarming.org so take what you read with a grain of sodium-chloride (salt).... but, WiKi's resources on global warming are pretty extensive.

Living in the Bay Area, there's almost no more fun way to introduce children to science than with a visit to the Exploratorium. Check out their interactive web site on climate change.... terrific!

Now, if you'd like to calculate how much carbon dioxide you emit in your day to day life, check out this web site (carboncounter.org).

And finally...., the folks that, to quote QUAKE Radio (a Bay Area progressive talk-radio station) drive the conservatives crazy....... The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the World Wildlide Fund and Al Gore's climatecrisis.net (An Inconvenient Truth).

So, there we have it, a bunch of terrific (and some silly) resources you can use to learn about global warming, but even more importantly, to start making a difference! We need new legislation, we need new behaviors, we need to care because our children, grandchildren, and great great great great (thank goodness we don't use any carbon-dioxide by being too wordy when typing) grandchildren deserve a healthy planet to live on. Reach And Teach has some products you might want to consider to increase your awareness of and start doing something about climate change. Visit our web store for more information.

Reach And Teach is committed to developing and distributing products that are manufactured in an earth-friendly way.

When we do our own printing, we use InkWorks Press in Berkeley, a worker-owned cooperative that uses recycled paper and soy inks. CIVIO, A Civil Rights Game is an example of a product manufactured by InkWorks Press.

All of our posters (like the Global Warming poster) are printed on recycled paper with soy inks.

As members of Co-op America (now called GreenAmerica.org), we do everything we can to do business in an earth-friendly and fair-labor-practices way. If you'd like to spend a day or two visiting with companies and organizations like ours, take public transportation or a bicycle to an upcoming Green Festival (Washington D.C., Chicago, or San Francisco).

Resources for Parents and Teachers:

While much of the world is coming to accept the reality of climate change, children in many homes and classrooms seem to be taking it the most seriously. Parents and teachers we've spoken with have shared stories of children being terribly afraid, crying, about what might happen to the planet.

We want to help parents and teachers and anyone who works with kids to move from fear to hope, and from hope to action. Kids can make a difference, just as kids led the way in getting many adults to quit smoking and to buckle their seatbelts, kids can take the lead in changing our lifestyles. Here are some resources we recommend:

This award-winning book combines the talents of two uniquely qualified authors: Lynne Cherry, the leading children's environmental writer/illustrator and author of The Great Kapok Tree, and Gary Braasch, award-winning photojournalist and author of Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World. Not only is it one of the best ways to learn about climate change, with stunning images and incredibly easy to consume writing, it also helps empower each reader to get involved in global activities to make a difference. Of all the books we offer on climate change, if you can only buy one, this is the one!

Wicked Cool SolutionsWith sections on Local Environment, Food, Conscious Consuming, Energy, Transportation, and Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, users are encouraged to take responsibility, problem-solve, and “be the change they wish to see”. Terrific classroom or home-schooling resource. Ages 5-12.

FROM THE BACK COVER: Finally an activity book that focuses on solutions! Sustainable solutions that everyone can learn about. This book covers everything from worm composting to windmills, cob houses to community gardens. Dig in and have fun with all the activities including a word search, maze, connect the dots...... Math and science too! There are even activity ideas for parents and teachers in the back. Get excited to learn about wicked cool ways to create a better world.

 

This is my planet Reports of global warming’s catastrophic effects are everywhere: in newspapers, on the nightly news, even on movie screens. The subject can be so overwhelming that young people are often left with the thought, What can I do? In This Is My Planet, Jan Thornhill gives young readers the tools they need to live their own lives more ecologically — and ultimately, to improve the life of the planet.

The book takes a comprehensive look at climate change, beginning with basic information about how the planet works and moving through an in-depth look at human societies and three specific environments — polar, ocean, and land. Although she doesn't shy away from the truth, Thornhill offers hope, showing where action can make a difference and providing evidence of the Earth’s amazing resilience and adaptability. Never preachy or alarmist, this amazing book trusts young readers with the facts, allowing them to form their own intelligent opinions. A multitude of full-color photographs enhance Thornhill’s engaging, informative text.

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Healthy Foods Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils invites you and your students to discover where food comes from, how our bodies use food, and what happens to food waste. You’ll participate in the ecological cycle of food production > compost formation > recycling back to the soil, while helping children understand how their food choices affect not only their own health, but farmers, the environment, and your local community.

Elizabeth and Kathy use simple concepts and fun activities to show children the big picture-how quality soil is the basis of nutritious foods, and how eating a variety of wholesome foods leads to healthy bodies. Their program enhances existing curricula through methods that include writing, art, scientific investigation, music, and puppetry. Suggested resources encourage you to adapt the program to your needs, small scale or large. For instance, the activity "What If All I Ate Were Potato Chips?" encourages children to investigate the nutritional value of foods, while a seed-sprouting experiment "teaches through the taste buds." School gardens such as an Appetizer Garden or the legendary Three Sisters, or a series of classroom worm-composting activities help students discover the role nutrients play in healthy plant production. Handy extension activities demonstrate ways that students can help effect change in their own lives and communities. Background information, suggested readily available materials, and clear instructions give you enough guidance to integrate these activities into your classroom right away.

Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils invites you and your students to discover where food comes from, how our bodies use food, and what happens to food waste. You’ll participate in the ecological cycle of food production > compost formation > recycling back to the soil, while helping children understand how their food choices affect not only their own health, but farmers, the environment, and your local community.

This manual grew out of a successful pilot program funded by the USDA. Elizabeth Patten is a licensed dietitian working in the field of preventive health. She lives in Freeport, Maine, with her family and several thousand red wigglers. Kathy Lyons is an environmental educator and puppeteer in Orono, Maine. Annelida the worm puppet was first created for a recycling program but has happily joined the team as "spokesworm" for the Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils project. Helen Stevens is an illustrator and graphic artist in Gardiner, Maine.

For a little bit of fun..... Consider these titles:

Winston of ChurchillChurchill, Manitoba is the polar bear capitol of the world. Every winter, tourists flock to the tiny town to watch the bears hunt and frolic on the frozen waters of the Hudson Bay. This year, though, the tourists are in for a big surprise -- Winston! A smart, fierce, brave bear, Winston of Churchill has noticed that their icy home is slowly melting away. He explains to the other bears why the ice is melting then, using the stirring words of his famous namesake, rallies the bears to convince humans to save their Arctic home. However, on the way to the protest march, Winston learns an unexpected lesson and realizes that he, too, must change his ways. This timely, funny story draws attention to the polar bears' plight and helps children understand that in the face of global warming, everyone must do their part, no matter how small.

Can I Recycle My Granny?Granny

If you ever find yourself in a position to debate / argue with someone who really doesn't believe in all this "green hoo ha," you might want to prepare yourself by reading this book. It is pure satire but truly does represent what non-environmentalists think of those of us who choose to go green.

Description on the back cover:

Meet Ethan Greenhart, committed eco-activist, ethicist, and campaigner. In this essential guide, Ethan answers some of your most pressing environmental dilemmas: 'Is it ethical to work in a supermarket?, 'Is it ethical to get into an ambulance?,' and most importantly, Is it ethical to laugh?

Is it ethical to buy this book? Probably not but it'll be worth every tree-murdering page...

Ethan Greenhart is a committed ethicist, green writer, and activist. Ethan is so ethical when it comes to the environment, it's scary. He favors euthanasia as a solution to the world's over-crowding problems; he is opposed to throwing confetti at weddings because it contains bleach and artificial colorings that leak into the earth; and he doesn't travel anywhere that can't be reached by foot. In summary, Ethan has an environmental bone to pick with every aspect of modern life, from voting to vacationing to having children.

Based on his hugely popular and provocative weekly advice columns for Spiked magazine, this engaging collection of essays provides innovative answers to all of today’s most pressing environmental dilemmas. Hilarious and thought-provoking, this is an acidly accurate satire that’s sure to hit home. Ethan Greenhart is the satirical creation of the journalist Brendan O'Neill. He is the editor of the online magazine Spiked and his work has been featured in the BBC News Online, the Guardian, New Statesman, Salon, Spectator, Sunday, and Times.

 

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Two of our absolute favorite fiction books for Teens and Tweens are the Gaia Girls series.

Gaia GirlsA talking sea otter? What would you do if you could hear the Earth asking for help? In the Gaia Girls book series, that is what happens to four girls, each from a different region of the world. They are approached by Gaia, the living organism of the Earth. Each is endowed with powers over one of the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. They must learn to use their powers to help Gaia survive the effects of modern humanity.

In Way of Water, Miho’s backyard had always been the sea. The creatures within it were an endless source of fascination. But when the sea steals away her small family, she finds herself the ward of an uncle she has never met and submerged in a world she has never known: Japan.

From the city of Nagoya to the seaside town of Goza, Miho struggles to fit in and navigate the language, the culture, and her own grief. It is in Goza that she discovers her surprising family history and finds new teachers.

She is befriended by an old man who becomes her sensei and teaches her Sho-do, The Way of the Brush. And it is there she meets Gaia, the living entity of the Earth. Gaia grants her amazing powers to connect with the “minds in the water,” and Miho is given access and understanding to all the world’s oceans.

Will she be able to use her powers to help balance the traditions of the past with the demands of the present? Can she overcome her outsider status to help others understand the Way of Water?

 

Enter the EarthIn Enter the Earth, Elizabeth Angier was happy to be at the end of the school year. She thought her summer on the family farm would be full of work and play with her best friend, Rachel, and her other best friend, her dog, Maizey. However, Elizabeth didn't anticipate the Harmony Farms Corporation moving to her town. Her world starts to crumble as her best friend moves away and her parents whisper of farmers selling their land and the effects this factory farm operation could have on them.

When she thinks things can't get much worse, she meets the most unusual creature, Gaia, the living entity of the Earth. Strange things begin to happen to her, around her, and through her!

Elizabeth discovers that with these new powers comes responsibility. A dire mistake makes Elizabeth wonder if meeting Gaia has been a blessing or a curse. Will Elizabeth have the strength to fight a large corporation?

Or will her upstate New York home be spoiled by profit driven pork production that fouls the air, land, and water?

Help Us Spread the Word:

Reach And Teach, and all of these green businesses and organizations, need your help. We need to show the world that you can be green AND profitable. Please help spread the word! If you liked this article, share it with friends!!

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