Day: August 15, 2014

White House Council on Environmental Quality and EPA Honor Student Leaders and Exceptional Teachers with Environmental Education Awards

Today, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, announced the winners of the annual Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) and President’s Environmental Youth Award, (PEYA) recognizing outstanding student leaders in environmental stewardship and K-12 teachers employing innovative approaches to environmental education in their schools. In a ceremony at the White House, 17 teachers and 60 students from across the nation are being honored for their contributions to environmental education and stewardship.

“These awards recognize the outstanding contributions of student leaders and exceptional teachers on some of the most pressing issues facing our nation, including combating climate change and instituting sustainability practices,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Environmental education encourages academic achievement, especially in the sciences, and develops the next generation of leaders in environmental stewardship.”‎

This year, students are receiving awards for projects including activities such as creating a novel water purification method, assessing apples as a sustainable fuel source, and reducing the carbon footprint of a school to help combat climate change.  Teachers being honored this year have employed interactive, hands-on learning projects such as opening a marine science station, designing a solar powered garden irrigation system, building a nature trail, and connecting students to their natural surroundings through field studies. These students and teachers creatively utilize their local ecosystems, environment, community and culture as a context for learning.

“To deal with immense challenges like climate change, we need a generation of leaders who don’t back away from complex environmental problems, and who have the skills to solve them,” said Mike Boots, Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “Across the country, environmental education is helping develop that generation of leaders, and the students and teachers being recognized today are remarkable examples of this kind of education at its best.”

The PIAEE and PEYA awardees demonstrate the creativity, innovation, leadership and passion for community engagement needed to face difficult environmental challenges. Teachers and students attending the ceremony will also be participating in a workshop led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to discuss climate and best practices in the field of climate education.

And today, NOAA, the US Global Change Research Program, and collaborators from both the National Climate Assessment network of stakeholders (NCAnet) and the CLEAN Network are releasing a series of guides for educators focused on each of the regions covered in the U.S. National Climate Assessment released by the Obama Administration in May 2014. The guides, which are being deployed on climate.gov, aim to help unpack regional findings and scientific messages, provide links to key resources, and connect educators with the climate-relevant information they need.

Additionally, the National Environmental Education Foundation and EPA announced the winner of the 2014 Bartlett Award. This additional recognition is given each year to an exceptionally outstanding PIAEE award winner, who can serve as an inspiration and model to others.

PEYA winners ‎include students from 9 states, including Washington, Iowa, Oklahoma, North Carolina and New Hampshire. PIAEE winners and honorable mentions include teachers from 23 states and territories, including Vermont, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Guam and Puerto Rico.

Shared shipping is slowly gaining ground between market rivals

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Companies cut expenses and carbon when they ‘compete on the shelf and collaborate on the back of a truck’. But how to build the trust it needs to succeed?

My Misadventures in Urban Composting

Read the full story in Citylab.

Composting—like jam-making—is one of those activities I tend just to read about. Nice idea, but too much hassle to actually carry out. Until I somehow became one of those people who processes kitchen waste on her balcony, producing nutrient-rich soil and saving the environment one banana peel at a time.

Ending tariffs on green goods will show free trade can fight climate change

Read the full story in The Guardian.

James Bacchus: The supposed choice between economics and environment is false, tariff cuts on green goods are a good move.

Manufacturing Goes Lean and Green

Read the full story at Ensia.

Manufacturers around the world are uncovering the environmental as well as financial benefits of lean approaches.

Teaching kids about climate change? Read them a classic story

Read the full story at Grist. See the Environmental Novels LibGuide for fiction for grade schoolers through adults.

A professor of environmental science at Chicago’s DePaul University, [Liam] Heneghan recently started teaching a seminar called the Ecology of Childhood. Working from a list of the 100 most popular children’s books, including classics like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?, Heneghan explains that although they weren’t written with ecology in mind, the books are goldmines for environmental meanderings. More, they offer “the most gentle and loving way” to teach kids about the havoc humans are wreaking on nature.

What We Know About Entanglement and Ingestion: New NOAA reports sum up the state of science on entanglement and ingestion

The NOAA Marine Debris Program, in partnership with the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, has published reports that assess the current state of science on two marine debris impacts: ingestion and entanglement.

The reports examine existing scientific literature to determine what we know about these impacts, as well as gaps in knowledge and how they may be addressed.

Reports

Entanglement of Marine Species in Marine Debris with an Emphasis on Species in the United States
From reports in the United States, at least 115 marine species are impacted by entanglement, including mammals, turtles, birds, fish, and crabs. Most marine debris entanglement reports involved pinnipeds, particularly northern fur seals and Hawaiian monk seals, as well as sea turtles. Worldwide, at least 200 species are impacted.

Occurrence of Health Effects of Anthropogenic Debris Ingested by Marine Organisms
An estimated 26 marine mammal species, including toothed whales, manatees, and multiple seal species, as well as all sea turtle species have been confirmed to ingest marine debris. Over one-third of sea bird species ingest plastic. Research to-date has characterized the types, sources and impacts of ingestible debris, yet the overall effects on animals remain poorly understood.

Becoming a Change Agent for Sustainability

Read the full post at the Community College Sustainability Collaborative.

A few summers ago, I attended a week-long training on campus sustainability at the University of Vermont. It was one of the best trainings I’ve ever attended and the facilitator (Debra Rowe) at one point, after I had described some of the things I had accomplished in my career, congratulated me on being a successful activist for sustainability. That’s when the trouble started; you see I have never considered myself an activist, to me an activist spends way too much time screaming and making other people feel bad. I have always preferred to consider myself a subversive, someone who works somewhat under the radar to make change. The fact is though, that the term subversive carries a heavy negative connotation so it’s not a label I use for myself very often. In Vermont our disagreement resulted in me coming to a change in how I should refer to myself, so I’ve come around to the term change agent. I don’t think that labels are nearly as important as actions but this particular label got me thinking in a couple of ways. First, really what is a change agent? Secondly, at the encouragement of the facilitator, to really take a look at how in fact you do make change happen within an organization or community. The result of course is what follows.

Newspaperman’s book offers intro to area environmental issues

Read the full story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Don Corrigan covers a lot of ground in his environmental journalism class at Webster University.

Occasionally, students will take a keen interest in one of the many of environmental issues in the area, such as the two who managed to get arrested by Eureka police after trespassing in Times Beach while it was still contaminated with dioxin.

For those who don’t want to get that close, Corrigan’s new book, “Environmental Missouri: Issues and Sustainability, What you Need to Know,” offers readers a short overview of the dozens of environmental issues unique to Missouri and the St. Louis area.

California lawmakers considering historic shift in groundwater policy

Read the full story from the Los Angeles Times.

As California continues to endure a calamitous lack of water from the sky, the state could, for the first time, start to regulate water drawn from the ground.

Groundwater regulation has been politically poisonous since the state’s founding. But lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration are hoping to capitalize on the current parched conditions, and cautious cooperation from once-resistant interest groups, to pass a plan for a groundwater management system by the end of the month.

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