Why We Need High Performance Healthy Schools
Everyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about the future of our children. As a mom, I constantly think about the planet we are leaving to future generations and how it will impact their health and wellbeing.
In a few weeks, I will be speaking at the Green Schools National Conference in Denver to share my vision for providing children with healthy learning environments, as well as access to environmental education.
I’ll be joined by some of our country’s top education and environmental experts to discuss how schools can access funding for green projects and resources teachers can use in the classroom to ensure their students are environmentally literate.
Through my work with the Captain Planet Foundation and Mothers and Others for Clean Air (an organization I co-founded with my friend Stephanie Blank), I have seen the powerful impact certain programs can have on students, educators and school systems. I would like to take the opportunity to share a few examples here today.
An Education Model That Works
At a recent Captain Planet Foundation Benefit, we presented Arabia Mountain High School Academy of Engineering and Environmental Studies with a CPF School Award for fostering the growth of young environmental stewards and helping students connect the lessons they learn in the classroom with the outside world.
I was so impressed when I learned about this school’s education model, known as The EIC Model™, which stands for “using the Environment as an Integrating Context for improving student learning.” Not only does Arabia Mountain High School follow The EIC Model™, but it is also the first public school in Georgia with an LEED Silver Certification.
Developed by the State Education & Environmental Roundtable (SEER), the EIC Model™ consists of educational “best practices,” to teach students K-12 about the environment and service learning in their communities.
In this specialized high school, students study energy, biodiversity, water conservation and eco-friendly growth. They also have access to the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area, which encompasses 40,000 acres in three counties in the Atlanta Metro Area.
In each grade level, students are assigned an inquiry question which they study for an entire year.
This program was designed to improve engagement as well as teach students about the environment. While this is just one specific example, there are multiple schools throughout the country that follow similar models. I hope that it is a continuing trend that we will see in more schools in the future.
A Healthy Learning Environment
Mothers and Others for Clean Air works to reduce children’s exposure to air pollution—at school and in their communities. Childhood asthma is unfortunately a growing trend and here in Georgia, we have one of the highest rates of the condition in the country. To me, this is unacceptable, so I started Mothers and Others to help improve air quality for all Georgians.
We established the Mothers and Others School AQI (Air Quality Index) Flag Program based upon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index. Through this system, parents, teachers and students are informed about each day’s air quality based on a colored flag flying outside the school.
We also encourage transportation officials to apply for grants that pay for school bus retrofits to reduce the toxic diesel emissions students are exposed to on their morning and afternoon commutes.
Our youth are our future. By educating them about our planet’s important resources, as well as providing them with safe learning environments, we are giving them the tools they need to build a healthier, safer future.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Loveday Wright and Stuart Braun
After a Japanese-owned oil tanker struck a reef off Mauritius on July 25, a prolonged period of inaction is threatening to become an ecological disaster.
<div id="bb0a7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e5aefc0fff61ab1aea2f4b03c5399864"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1291765757013983238" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">The #oilspill is devastating but I want to honour the community mobilisation at the Mahebourg waterfront today (to… https://t.co/UWFkZFdjdi</div> — Fabiola Monty (@Fabiola Monty)<a href="https://twitter.com/LFabiolaMonty/statuses/1291765757013983238">1596815930.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"Booms are made of nylon mesh filled with #sugarcane straws all hand-stitched by Mauritian volunteers, empty plastic bottles used as buoys," described Mauritian journalist Zeenat Hansrod in a tweet. </p>
How to Tackle Oil Spills<p>The method for tackling oil spills depends on several factors, including the type and amount of oil in question, location and weather conditions.</p><p>"Once the oil comes to shore, the more intensive the cleaning technique. You can risk causing further damage," said Nicky Cariglia, an independent consultant at Marittima, who specializes in marine pollution. </p><p>"If you wanted to remove all traces of oil, the techniques available become increasingly aggressive the less oil that remains. In mangroves, you would have the added risk of causing damage by trampling," Cariglia told DW. Highly sensitive mangrove ecosystems line the Mauritius east coast that is threatened by the current spill.</p><p>Because oil normally has a lower density than water, it floats on the surface of the ocean. This means that for clean-up action to be most effective, it should happen very quickly after a spill, before the oil disperses. </p>
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When Europeans first arrived in North America, Atlantic puffins were common on islands in the Gulf of Maine. But hunters killed many of the birds for food or for feathers to adorn ladies' hats. By the 1800s, the population in Maine had plummeted.
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A "major" natural gas explosion killed two people and seriously injured at least seven in Baltimore, Maryland Monday morning.
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Nearly 900 people across the U.S. and Canada have been sickened by salmonella linked to onions distributed by Thomson International, the The New York Times reported.
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In the coming days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to use its power to roll back yet another Obama-era environmental protection meant to curb air pollution and slow the climate crisis.
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By Alex Kirby
The temperature of the Arctic matters to the entire world: it helps to keep the global climate fairly cool. Scientists now say that by 2035 there could be an end to Arctic sea ice.
Melt Ponds Crucial<p>"The prospect of loss of sea ice by 2035 should really be focusing all our minds on achieving a low-carbon world as soon as humanly feasible."</p><p><a href="http://www.reading.ac.uk/search/search-staff-details.aspx?id=10813" target="_blank">Dr. David Schroeder from the University of Reading</a>, UK, who co-led the implementation of the melt pond scheme in the climate model, says, "This shows just how important sea ice processes like melt ponds are in the Arctic, and why it is crucial that they are incorporated into climate models."</p><p>The extent of the areas <a href="https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/seaice/characteristics/formation.html" target="_blank">sea ice</a> covers varies between summer and winter. If more solar energy is absorbed at the surface, and temperatures rise further, a cycle of warming and melting occurs during summer months.</p><p>When the ice forms, the ocean water beneath becomes saltier and denser than the surrounding ocean. Saltier water sinks and moves along the ocean bottom towards the equator, while warm water from mid-depths to the surface travels from the equator towards the poles.</p><p>Scientists refer to this process as the ocean's global "conveyor-belt." Changes to the volume of sea ice can disrupt normal ocean circulation, with consequences for global climate. </p>
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