Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This week-end at the Museum of Natural History

New York International Polar Week-end this week-end (Feb 2-3) at the Museum of Natural History. Many different activities and performances with scientists, artists and performers are offered (free with the museum admission): Go and check the website http://www.amnh.org/programs/specials/polar

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Home composting - to do with your parents and with your teachers

From Cathy Burns' mother of Olive in Second Grade:

She went to a workshop on how to do composting and would like to organize a workshop at PS 58. She needs as many families and classrooms as possible. It's something fun to do with your parents and teachers. 
The workshop is free and if you want the bin and the worms, it will cost $10.
The bin is small (it looks like a clear plastic storage unit you put under your bed or in a closet) and they explain you how to make sure that it does not smell. Even if you don't have a garden, you can still compost as you can bring it to the PS58 garden or put it on a tree outside. 
Please tell your parents and teachers and ask them to contact Cathy Burns. She needs participants to make it happen.

oil spill

oil spills kill amimal cus boi lih the os big bt.

from justin

oil spills

can you guys go less in cars so the oil doesn't spil?

from emma james

oil spills

I am worryd about animals and the oil spills. killing liveing things is horrible. in theocean because it kills animals and plants.

From cayla .and olivia .and mia.

oll spill

oil spills kill the animals. is bad to do for animals. can you write a letter to ask your president to stop oil spills? please stop

from eileen ye 211 miss dunford ciss

let's learn about oil spills

oil spiles are killing animals that live in the sea. please try to not spill your oil. be more carefl about oil spills.

from Henry and Nora

highway liter

dear peopeple
I dont like liter on hIways. can you stop? I keep seeing literd highways
and I dont like it.
from maisy and philip

love animals

Stop killing animals in the ocean becaues you are herting them. when you are herting them.

from Isabel noor

oil spills

stop useing cars & trucks please. Because you are making more oil ships and you are killing animals.

From marco & lauren.

dear ship captains

stop using chmicals and smoke and oil spills. it hrts the animals. stop using ships

from theo

dont use oil stop spilling oil

dear mom and dad,
dont use are car that mutch because when they cery the oil on the boate the oil leaks and kills animals

from liam and evan

oil spils

hi my name is julia laura
dear ship captin,
can you be more carful be cause oil spils hapining and oil spils are bad for aminles becasew we read a book and it made us feel saad.

from laura julia

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Animals of the earth.

Animals   are   important   to   the   earth   as   we   are   important   to   our   parents.
If    we   knew  what   is   happening   under   the   surface   of   the   water, I   am   sure   we   will 
 react! It's   great   to   see   people   posting   again!!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Melchior   3-320

Friday, January 18, 2008

gas leaks

drive cars less because it makes kids with asthma get asthma attacks. and i have asthma.

from jack


do not wast papr
do not waste electricity
do not waste wotr
do not waste oil

from diego

save the erth

dont cut trees
dont litter
no smoking
stop oil spills
dont cill animls
dont throw gobij in the water

from jason liam

help saave the earth

dont litre. dont cut down trees. no smocing. don't pollute

from trinity allie

help save our earth

clean up pick up litter. stop doing oil spills

don't cut down trees.

from nandito..william..

save the erth.

dont cut trees
dont litter
no smokeing
no macking
dont pink forws
be halte because itis sap
ship catin put oill in good cantinter so the oill wont sill
dont hirt anmaills
dont throw oldt things
dont piot because itis dajrash
dont kill anmilmis
dont lachse etertis

from nalani and ariana

oil spills

ship captains
dont spill oil. put it in big safe containers because we read a book about anamls and they can get killed. because the oil can get in thier bodeys and when the sorks come to the oson the oil can get in ther gills

from tatiana & jenna

oil spills

please try to stop spilling oil because it is polluting our water works.

from otto

oil spills

oil spills kill animals please stop doing oil spills my friends are sad.
by nicole and jaylah

oil Spills

ship captins
pat the oil in a big tanc that it wont spil the oil . no coting donn trees. plant grass

from jack z. kayla victoria

oil spill

dont spill oil
dont throw litter
dont drive cars so much

from paulino & gianni

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

oil spills

did you know that oil spills are bad for sea mammals they can be killed because oil is poisonous

from mala and alex

dear kids on earth

motor boats are bad for manatees, whales and dolhins. the motors are fast very fast stop drivign boats

from brian theo daniel

oil spill

please do not use your car dot drive cars dot put oil in the water dot use oil boats dot use motorcycles sin

from lia and ivan

0il spills

pleas help to stop oil spills they kill animals oil spills are when big boats spill oil in the ocean it is dangaris.

fom savannah and sammy.

oil spiils

i am writing t o tell you that oil spill are deaigerous for animals and the animals get kill because oil spills are dangerous for animals.

from julian brianna to the presldeet

oil spills

oil spills are bad they can kill animals please ridy bikcs and skateboards and rolerskate animals die please dont use bigboots
or roberboots samllboots stop driving cars walk instead

from alexandra an skylar

oil spills

dear boat people
please do not use big boat because some people flush oil in the sea on a purpose and that killing the animais an we need to eat fish

from caitlyn sofia

oel spills

those of you that make oil spills control your boats. if you dont know that the oil in the boats is poisons that kills ocean animals. dont use cars alot walk instead


oil spills

dont use cars dont use lights use your bikes or animals will diye. use lights less and cars less then oil spills wont happen again. the animals that live in the water die.

from mathiad emma

oil spills

did you know that oil spills are bad for losts of reasons. sea mammals can be killed there are ather plosnnis we are trying to stop sea animals in the earth from dying try to use less electricity because it will make less oil spills . oil spills are bad for the environment

from mala and alex

oil spills

Dear Mr. President,
help us not use oil spills in bouts to not kill fish. oil spills is bad for fish to kill fish. anlmals are dieing because of oil spills. we are tacking the poor litte anlmals lives away.

from louis and sophia m.

Oil Spills

dear president
take new laws do not put oil spill in water do not put oil in the water on purpose.

from roman ashley stephanie

learning about penguins

help the penguins because the ice is melting. no mor oil spills.

from oda and carlos

oil spills

oil spills are really bad for are environment seaotters are in really bad danger because of oil spills. we need to use less oil. stop driving cars
ars walk instead.

from marion and nicolas

dear president

piease use less electricity because it is not good for the animals.
from sara and kemonie

oil spills

some peaple say what are oil spills? well they are tjimgs that happen out on the ocean. they are things that afect mother earth. they kill many sea animals. They come from ships carrying oil.

from gabriella

Take care of the earth

please do not litter because its bad for the earth and the anamils no more oil spills drive less.

from solomon sebastian

oil spills are bad

dear children of the erth
i am going to teach you about oil spills. the first thing im going to tell you is that oil spills kill sea animals. it kills them when ships hit rocks and sink. also when you drive too much and if your mom or dad drives you too much please ask hem to stop. and it can olso kill not in water animals.

from sandra and omari

oil spill

dear president
use less electricity because oil spills kill the sea animals. oil spll can cause a fires.

from liam

oil spills

oil spills make many sea animals die and it can be very bad.You should help stop oil spills.

You can help by useing less electricity.

sofia and diana.

oil spill

dear president
please try to find a way to stop spilling oil in the water it is killing too many fish

thank you

dear mom dad

pelease stop using the lights. because they use to burn oil for lights so uos less electricity. Thank you.

from john matthew

Friday, January 11, 2008

Welcome to Little Grassroots from PS 58

We are writing to help save our Earth and make it healthy. We need to stop pollution becuase it is ruining our Earth. We are throwing away poor animals lives by polluting. We are worried for the animals. Please don't litter, it is bad. Let's work together to help save the Earth. We are planning an Earth day festival her at our school in Brooklyn. You should plan one too! Keep posted, we will be writing more later.

The Children of PS 58 in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Friday, January 4, 2008

PS 58, a public school in Brooklyn

Earth Day at Leonard de Vinci

At Leonard de Vinci, to celebrate Earth Day, we made posters.

Leonard de Vinci in France - also involved in the discussion in 2007

Leonard de Vinci, a bilingual primary school in Fontainebleau nearby Paris.

Kindercorner (Singapore) involved in the conversation in 2007

Kindercorner is a daycare in Singapore. Children discussed climate change and exchanged their thoughts with children in New York.

PS58 First Grade Science projects (April 2007)

First Graders at PS 58 have been working on environment, global warming, endangered species. On Friday 20 April 2007, their projects were exhibited at PS 58. Here are a few of them.

Earth Day Celebration at PS 58 (April 2007)

On Friday 20 April, we had an Earth Day Celebration. The First Graders opened the events singing songs they wrote with Mr. Nick, the music teacher. Collin Beaver, "the No Impact Man" came and answered their questions. There were many activities such as writing Tibetan letters to the Earth, painting rocks, building flower beds, planting flowers, making sculptures with recycled items, etc. There were also booths to learn about composting, water, farmer markets. The weather was beautiful and we had a lovely celebration. 
March 27, 2007
Little grassroots on Science Blogs
I was happy when one of my friends sent me an email this week-end telling me to check Scienceblogs, a famous scientific blog. There was a post on Little Grassroots:
"During the too-warm New York winter of 2007, a parent at Brooklyn's PS 58 started Little Grassroots as a place for children to blog about global warming. On it, the children of PS 58 are joined by kids from as far afield as France, the UK, and Singapore. Their contributions to the blog are lightly curated, but the children and their words really take center stage. (...)".
Read the whole post at:http://scienceblogs.com/seed/ (post of March 23rd)
I wanted to thank all the children who have been involved in the discussion for making it so rich and interesting - and of course, their teachers and parents who have also been involved.
Posted by ALF on March 27, 2007 at 02:48 PM

Sorting is creating / Second Pesticide free week

Here are two campaigns that the children from the De Vinci School would like to share with us:
1. An advertisement campaign "Sorting is creating" (Trier, c'est creer) launched in cooperation by the association of the French Mayors and the association Eco-Emballagage (eco-packaging) in order to raise the awareness of people regarding the importance of recycling. More (in French) at
2. The second 'Pesticide free week' - from 20th to 31st march,
France is the third pesticides consumer in the world (with 80 000 tons of active substances per year). Because of these huge quantities of pesticides used, negative impacts occur both on health (cancers, reproduction troubles...) and on the environment (water pollution, loss of biodiversity...).
The goal of the second pesticide free week’s 20th/31rst March 2007 is to show that viable alternatives to pesticide use do exist. During 10 days, hundreds of events throughout France and Europe will demonstrate it.
More in French and in English at: http://www.semaine-sans-pesticides.com/Home_Anglais_Pesticides.html
Posted by ALF on March 27, 2007 at 11:36 AM March 26, 2007
On top of our planet - an animation
Tonight we watched this little animation with our mummy. She found it on a blog. We liked it. We watched it several times. We found it sad. We would like things to change. We hope we stop global warming in a quick amount of time.
Have a look and enjoy.
Melchior and Jyoti, PS 58
Posted by ALF on March 26, 2007 at 08:42 PM
March 24, 2007
Wake up!
Yesterday was our last philosophy lunch club. We talked about the myth of a cave. It's a story told by Socrates, a Greek philosopher who lived long time ago. He tells the story of people who are prisonners in a cave (they were born there) and who have never seen the light, nor the real world. The only things they see are shadows on the wall projected by the fire (the only source of light in the cave). One of them escapea and after a difficult journey reaches the outside and sees the lights, the colours, and all the "real" things. He then goes down to tell the other prisonners and wake them up. Socrates through this story tries to tell us that we are often like these prisonners, and that we need to wake up and ask questions.That's what we've been doing with global warming for the last month. We opened our eyes and realized that there was a big problem. We then decided to try to wake up the other people. Here is a poem we all wrote together - that's the little philosophers' wake up poem:
Stop making the snakes' scales into shoes I hate global warming Don't cut the trees because some birds and animals will die Countries can also sink because of global warming; we need to fight global warming Stop driving cars because the panthers in the woods might be killed Don't make woods into hourses. Don't cut down trees because you will make animals die Don't throw plastic bags because the turtles can get stuck into them Try to REUSE as many things as you can No POLLUTING!
We drew the cave as we imagined it. Here are pictures of us drawing the cave:

And that's us doing a pyramid (maybe it looks more like a pile :-) )

The Philosophy Lunch Club, PS 58
Posted by PS58PhiloLunchClub on March 24, 2007 at 11:18 AM March 23, 2007
Letters to Senator Clinton
Letters from some First Graders of PS 58:
2/5/07I am worried about the polar. They are my favorite because they are cute. I heard the news the ice is melting because ti'is hot outside the het is gouing to the ntrth. Please help use.Sincerely, Anna
2/1/07Dear Senator C.I hope you will pass a law that names polar ears as a threatened species.PS I hope you are the first woman president.Sincerely,Gabrielle
2/5/07Dear Senator Clinton,I am wreed about the animuls in the north and sowth pole becus of globule worming. Thair homes are melting! we evine made postrs about it. Please help pass a law that names polar bears as a threatened species. Please help.Sincerely,LincolnP.S. I hope you becum the first woman president
2/5/07Dear Senator Clinton,I am worried about the polar bears.Please pass the law that names polar bears as a threatened species save the polar bears. Please help.Sincerly, Ewan
2/6/07Dear Senator,I want to call the polar bear threatened species. If not the polar bears will daye! We are going to stop global warming NOW!From Melchior
2/1/07Dear Senator Clinton,I am sooo worried about global warming. I am also worried about the animals in the north and the sea animals that eat the overfished animals. Please help us. We even made posters to hang in our schools to help stop it.Sincerely,Sarah
2/1/07Dear Senator Clinton,The factories are making too much smoke. It is hurting the animals can you help?Sincerely,Your friend
Posted by ALF on March 23, 2007 at 10:05 PM
From De Vinci International School: What's going on in Paris
Hi all,
The children from the De Vinci International School in France read the posts on all the events going on in New York for the Earth day celebration. They sent me an email saying that there were also some events going on in France.
Next Sunday in Paris there is a conference and a march organized on the "ecological pact". People will meet at the Trocadero (it's a big plaza not far from the Eiffel tower). Next month there will be the presidential elections in France. Therefore the organizers of this event are trying to let the candidates know that French people care about the environment and global warming and that they will need to address this issue seriously. More (in French) at http://www.pacte-ecologique-2007.org/avril-Trocadero-Zenith/index.htmlSo if you live in Paris, or not far from Paris like the children of De Vinci School, you might want to go next Sunday!
Posted by ALF on March 23, 2007 at 11:26 AM
March 22, 2007
World water day
Today is the World Water Day and the theme (chosen by UN Wate) this year is "Coping with Water Scarcity". The idea is to highlight the increasing water scarcity around the world and the need for cooperation to ensure resources are managed fairly and efficiently.
See also the post on March 9, 2007 on water.
Several pictures illustrating water scarcity on http://www.guardian.co.uk/gallery/2007/mar/20/1?picture=329754632.Here are few of them:
Posted by ALF on March 22, 2007 at 11:28 AM
If you want to know more about the No Impact experiment
For Olive and Melchior who wrote to him, and the other persons who are interested in reading about the No Impact Experiment, there was an article today in the New York Times:
and of course, you can just to and read his blog:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/garden/22impact.html?pagewanted=1
Posted by ALF on March 22, 2007 at 10:14 AM
March 21, 2007
Sea of People's Call to Action
You remember last week i've posted about Set it up and the different actions organized on April 14 (one very nearby PS58 in Brooklyn). Here is another one that might be interesting to be involved in. A friend of mine read about it on Treehugger (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/03/sea_of_people.php)
Sea of People's Call to ActionMark April 14th on your calendar, clear your schedule for the day, and head down to Battery Park in New York City for what could very well be the largest environmental-activist event since Earth Day 1970. Thousands of participants, all dressed in blue, are expected to show up for Sea of People, a mass rally and "interactive artistic installation" that will stretch north from the Battery, in two columns, along the projected eastern and western 10-foot waterlines of a future lower Manhattan—one that might find much of itself underwater.
Participating organizations include the Natural Resources Defense Council, Solar One, and the Battery Conservancy. [via Ben Jervey] :Sea of People
The organizers' goal is 5,000 people, plus another 200 volunteers to help coordinate the ebb and flow, so to speak.
Sea Of People is a part of Step It Up 2007, a nationwide campaign that wants to send a "clear and powerful" message to Congress to cut global-warming pollution by 80 percent by 2050.
For other actions, go and check Step it Up website http://events.stepitup2007.org/
Posted by ALF on March 21, 2007 at 07:19 AM
March 19, 2007
Starting a dialogue with the "No Impact Man"
Cathy, Olive's mother, mentioned the No Impact Man blog a few days ago. Tonight I went and checked it. Some PS58's first graders started a dialogue with him:http://noimpactman.typepad.com
March 11, 2007 A six-year-old I'd like to nominate for PresidentThis email from a first-grader at Brooklyn's PS 58 came in this weekend:Dear Colin,
We have to work harder the ice is melting and some people believe that in fifty years a few places are gonna be flooded alot. I want to meet you. I like what you are doing. I want to ask you a question: Can you help us by making posters and hanging them places so people will know more about pollution and global warming? We don't eat McDonalds food because it is unhealthy and the food is not homemade. It is made from a factory and I don't like it. I don't eat Dunkin Donuts unless I didn't do it on the rest of the week. It just opened in my neighborhood and it is really hard to not eat there because even though the donuts come from a factory they taste good. And I usually don't eat it because my mom forgets her wallet or I don't want to. I like to make bird feeders with toilet paper rolls and peanut butter and birdseeds and I like to make bird puppets out of toilet paper rolls too. And we only use recycled toilet paper and paper towels and kleenex. Almost my whole school is trying to stop global warming. It seems like the only things that open are Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins and McDonalds. Love, Olive
A reply from Melchior on March 19, 2007:Dear Colin,
I know Olive. She's in my class. In fact, she sits nearby me. I agree with her. We need to pollute less. In our school, we talk a lot about pollution and global warming. We do experiments and fun stuff about global warming to help understand what global warming and how to prevent it. We did posters and we wrote letters to President Bush and to Senator Clinton. We also have a blog called Little Grassroots (http://littlegrassroots.typepad.com) . All over the world people can read it and post things. You should go and read it sometimes. We would like to know your thoughts.I heard that you might come to our earth day celebration. I'm very excited to meet you.Your dear friend, Melchior, PS 58
Posted by ALF on March 19, 2007 at 11:26 PM
March 16, 2007
Similar or different ? What does it mean that global warming is "universal"?
Today in the philosophy lunch club we talked about how similar or different we were. Last week we had talked about ourselves and drew our pictures, so we thought of our pictures and we realized that they were very different. We looked at each other, and we realized that we were all different, some had blue eyes, some black eyes, some hazel eyes and even hazel eyes with dashes of green! Not to talk about the shape of our eyes, the color and length of our hair... and if you think of other people in other countries, there is even more diversity.
Some people like anthropologists are interested in learning about all these differences, but philosophers are more interested in the similarities, they call this "universality".
1+1 = 2 is true not only in English (one plus one equals two) but also in Mandarin, in Spanish, in French, in German. We tried in all the languages we knew - un plus un egal deux, unos y unos "equals" dos, yi he yi "equals" er, eins und eins "equals" zwei (we need to learn how to say "equals" in all these languages! :-)...) and we realized it was always true whatever the language. That seems to be the case about math in general, and science too.So mathematics and science seem to be universal.
But what about "beautiful"? We talked about long neck women in Asia, piercing and tattoos in some African tribes and we realized that what they might find beautiful, we might find weird, or maybe ugly. And they might feel the same.
We also talk about behaviors and what was polite in some countries, and not in others.
So similar or different? Well beyond the differences, we realized that we all had one head, two legs, two arms, two eyes, one nose, one mouth... and we breathe and need to eat and drink, and that if we stop breathing we will die, and if we can't eat and drink we will die. That led us to think that even if we don't like the same things, if we don't look the same, human beings are similar in many ways. People all over the world are sometimes happy, sometimes sad, although it might be for different reasons, and they might show it in different ways.
Then we talked about the Declaration of the Right of the Man and the Citizen that was written long time ago (in 1789 during the French Revolution) and about the American Declaration of Independence (1776). In both texts, it is written that people are equal. But what about the slaves who lived at that time? (Nick told us a lot of stories about slaves and how they worked so hard and did not get paid for their hard work). What about the women? They talked about the rights of men, but not of women! We wondered why... We could not really figure out why.
Based on that discussion, we started thinking about global warming and we asked ourselves is global warming "universal". We guessed so, that's why it is called "global" isn't it? Indeed, it is happening everywhere on the earth. Yet, it does not have the same effects on all countries. In some countries, it means ice melting like for the Inuit who can't even build igloos anymore, and in Africa, it means drought and deserts.
We learnt that African countries where the less polluting countries, yet, they were one of those which suffered the most. We talked about this lake in Africa, the lake Chad which has shrunken so much, and that might even disappeared. We thought of these children in Africa who don't have enough to eat and who don't have water to drink. We thought it was unfair. We in the US and in Europe are the ones polluting the most, and it's not bothering us that much (in fact, today it was snowing in New York).
So yes, global warming is universal, but it does not mean the same thing for everybody, and some are hit harder than others.
What do you think? Please let us know what you read about the different ways global warming impacts people's life.
The Philosophy Lunch Club, PS 58
PS: And at the end of the club, before going back to class, we did something really fun "a human pile"... Next week, we're planning to do a pyramid.
Posted by PS58PhiloLunchClub on March 16, 2007 at 03:48 PM
March 14, 2007
Step it up -Take Action on April 14
Today in the New York Times there was an article on a program of climate-change rallies called Step It UP. You can read the article at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/14/science/14mckibben.html
Bill McKibben, the initiator of Step It Up claims that "changing light bulb isn't enough" and that "we need to do something that looks like the civil rights movement". He is calling to run local demonstrations on April 14. His call has as for now inspired 870 demonstrations (in 49 states). The idea is to ask for cutting national emissions of heat-trapping gases 80 percent by 2050.

I went to check their blog at and I looked for the New York rallies. There are several in the different boroughs, there is one in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and one not far away from PS58. I just cut and past the descriptions of these two events. It might be a nice way to get ready for the earth day celebration on April 20. There are also several events in Manhattan. I posted two but go and check all the different options at http://events.stepitup2007.org/
April 14, 2007 02:00PM to 04:00PM
Event Description:Step It Up! WATER RISING FLOTILLA- SAT APRIL 14th. 2pm to 4pm. Calling on all Paddlers, Canoers Kayakers and Others too. 50 to 100 human powered vessels for an on water Flotilla/On Water Rally to raise awareness to the impact of climate change on our urban community and its impact on the historic, notorious and neglected Gowanus Canal. The Urban Divers will also host a guided journey aboard its unique 32ft human powered vessel that is historically and culturally significant for enthiusiasts. Vessel will acommodate 21 paddlers at a time. ALL are welcomed. Paddle, Row along the historic, Canal, traversing through 3 communities and 5 bridges. Others can gather, cheer, clean-up trash along every point along the canal ( side ends streets, bridges). Rendez vous at 2nd Street and Bond at Gowanus Canal. Free tabling ( bring your own)- share info, resources, energy and ideas for solutions. Everyone is encouraged to bring a party noise maker, posters, etc. Directions by subway: F train to Carroll Street exit at second st. Make left on smith , right on 2nd and walk down to canal. Bus B77, B75, G train to Smith and 9th street, stops near by and will take you to place offering observation points along the Canal. bare witness, get inspired to take action. for more info and to RSVP call The Urban Divers at 718-802-9874.Location:2nd Street and Bond, 1st Street and Bond, Carroll Street Bridge, 3rd Street Bridge, Union Street Bridge, Hamilton Street Bridge. www.urbandivers.org
Spring Into Greene
Brooklyn, NYApril 14, 2007 11:00AM to 03:00PM
Event Description:This April 14th, Fort Greene's Urban Spring cafe is sponsoring Spring into Greene, a festival in conjunction with the Step It Up 2007 campaign for National Day of Climate Action. It will be one of over 800 powerful actions taking place all across the country to put pressure on Congress to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. The event will include live music by local artists, inspirational speakers, an array of vendors and organizations offering information, products, and practical green business and lifestyle solutions, delicious food from neighborhood restaurants, an artwork display from local students concerned about climate change, and the weekly Saturday morning farmer's market. The festival will illuminate the very real and accessible possibilities for change, and connect the dots by demonstrating how our informed choices in eating, transportation, and energy use will lead to the necessary reductions in carbon emissions by 2050. Spring Into Greene will make it possible for all participants and passers-by to begin this profound change on the day of the event. A wide array of vendors and demonstrations will show that switching to no-emissions electricity, installing compact fluorescent lightbulbs, and making necessary energy-efficient consumer and transportation choices is well within our reach. This event will be an exciting and important opportunity to bring our unique community together around what is likely the most important challenge of our time. For more information please visit: http://events.stepitup2007.org/events/show/726 e-mail: spring-into-greene@googlegroups.com tel: (718) 237-0797Location:185 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205Directions:Near Q, R, M, B, A, C, 2, 3, 4, 5, and G trains. One block from Fort Greene Park.
Band Concert Benefit
New York City, NYApril 14, 2007 02:00PM to 06:00PM
Event Description:In support of the Global Warming Effort and the Step It Up Campaign, 3 local NYC Bands (www.theintersession.com) is tentatively scheduled to perform in Central Park on Saturday, April 14, 2007 starting at 2:00 PM. DETAILS TBD, permit is being approved, but if this doesn't get approved, we will provide an alternate location.Location:Central Park - The Band Shell (Amptitheater)
Future Sea Level Ride
New York, NY
April 14, 2007 01:00PM to 02:30PM
Event Description:FUTURE SEA LEVEL BIKE RIDE In conjunction with Step It Up, the National Day of Action on Climate Change, Times Up environmental group is organizing a bike ride which will address climate change and global warming in our local communities and highlight meaningful responses. Non-polluting trasportation is one part of the solution. Dress like you are underwater. Bike ride ends at Battery Park to link up with Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir.Location:New York City Union Square Park South Saturday April 14th, 1PMDirections:Take bike or subway to Union Square Park. We will meet on the Soouthside located on 14th Street between Broadway and University Place.
Posted by ALF on March 14, 2007 at 11:30 AM
No impact man
have you heard of this blog No impact man? He is a guy who is living a completely sustainable life his wife and daughter in NYC and he is writing about it. I love his blog and I wrote to him. I asked him if he would come to school and meet the first grade who are all obsessed with Global Warming...
Go and check his blog: http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/
Cathy (Olive's mother, PS58)
Posted by ALF on March 14, 2007 at 10:22 AM
March 12, 2007
PS 58 Invites YOU to Take Action!
PS 58 is taking action! We are holding our first annual Eco Week from April 16th-20th. The children are each doing a project on ecology and conservation. From endangered animals to recycling, the children will be exploring what we can do to help our Earth. On Friday, April 20th PS 58 will be having an Earth Day celebration! The children will participate in many different Earth Day activities, such as planting, recycling projects, art activities- they will even sing songs celebrating the Earth that they have been working on in music class. Most importantly, the Earth day projects will be on display to help educate and inform the community.
PS 58 would like to invite the other schools out there to join us in our Earth Day activities! Hold a celebration at your school! Inform your community! We can join together to make a difference! Please let us know your thoughts! We will keep you posted on our progress!
Posted by PS 58 on March 12, 2007 at 09:27 AM
March 11, 2007
If the city of the future were in China...
Two weeks ago I went to a talk at Parsons, the New School for Design in New York. There was a talk by Jean Rogers, a woman working for a big design consulting firm, Arup. Her talk was about "sustainable design". Her team and other teams at Arup are trying to design and build cities that will not pollute as much as our cities. Maybe you remember the ecological footprint, well in these projects aim to build cities which will use only one planet... or at least get as close as possible to that.
Cities are important to think about. By 2030, 60 per cent of the world's population will be live in cities, and environmentalists say that we need to find ways of making our cities greener places to live if we want to keep living in cities.
Jean Rogers told us about a big project that Arup has in China. Maybe you've heard people saying that China is one of the main polluters nowadays and it is true. It is a big country and they are in a big phase of development like the United States or Europe one century ago. They build many factories, many power plants with coal (which are extremely polluting) and many cities where more and more people use cars! Yet, the Chinese government starts realizing that they might need to do things differently as they are destroying all nature and that at one point they won't have anything to build buildings with - a little bit like the Onceler in The Lorax (by Dr. Seuss). Therefore they asked this company Arup to come and help them to imagine a city where there will be as little pollution as possible.
This is particularly important as the number of cities built in China is increasing in an astonishing manner. There are already 90 cities with more than a million residents, and 400 million people are expected to move from the countryside to cities in the next 30 years. That is why it is important to find ways to build green cities in China.
Arup is helping the Chinese government and architects to build a green city. It is a city named Dongtan, on Chongming island near Shanghai. This city will be nearly as big as Manhattan (Three-quarters of the size of Manhattan). The idea will be to have half a million people living in a car-free, zero-emission, recycling city with an ecological footprint one-third that of people in Shanghai.
Power in Dongtan will be a combination of wind power, solar power and other renewable sources. All the apartments and houses will be within seven minutes' walk of public transport (so they won't need a car). The idea is to have parts of the islands with fields and farms so that inhabitants of Dongtan can eat local food, and the farmers will be encouraged to use organic methods. The cars in the city will be electric cars... Less gases and less noise! It is particularly important, as nearby Dongtan there will be nature reserve park with a bird sanctuary.
Here is how Dongtan might look like:

The initial phase will be finished by 2010 (when the World Expo comes to Shanghai), and it is forecasted that by 2030 there will be more than 500,000 people living here.
That will be a great project and it will show that it is possible to build ecocities. However, it won't solve all the problems because this is a huge project, that costs a lot of money, and we need many more Dongtan. However, it seems that Arup's designers are now trying to think of a way to come up with a blueprint (a map) for designing "eco- blocks" (blocks of buildings that will be ecological) and will not be too expensive to build. Let's cross our fingers.
The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone is reportedly interested in Dongtan as a possible blueprint for development in London.
If you want to read more:
(Pictures can be found in these websites)
Posted by ALF on March 11, 2007 at 06:38 PM
March 09, 2007
Taking care of the environment, and particularly of water
Recent studies show the role of human activities in climate change.
In 2000, nearly 200 leaders from around the world adopted the Declaration and committed themselves to achieving a set of eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This agreement aims to make a better place for all by the year 2015. They have 8 major goals. One of them is "Ensure environmental sustainability" which means "how can we improve the way we take care of the environment, so the natural resources people need to survive will be available to future generations" (http://www.unicef.org/voy/explore/mdg/explore_2221.html)

© UNICEF/HQ00-0180/PirozziTwo girls collect water for washing at the edge of the Limpopo River in Mozambique.
They particularly focus on water: Clean water is the most fundamental necessity for life, but"More than a billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. • More than two and a half billion people do not have a sanitary way of getting rid of excreta (urine and faeces).• Up to a third of disease globally is thought to be caused by environmental factors such as polluted water and air.
Children are particularly vulnerable to disease."see http://www.unicef.org/voy/explore/wes/explore_wes.php
While significant improvements in access to safe drinking water have been made in rural areas, but only a few countries are making enough progress to meet Goal 7 by 2015. Therefore there is still plenty to be done.
UNICEF (an international organization focusing on issues related to children) believes that young people like you must be involved as it affects your life today and tomorrow. They believe you can make people in your communities, but also in your governments more aware. It is important for you to get the message out, as you've been doing during the last 3 months.
Go and check their webpages to find more information. They also have some online games to make you think about these issues.
Posted by ALF on March 09, 2007 at 04:27 PM
March 07, 2007
The inconvenient truth video contest by treehugger.com
There are many ways of taking actions... Here is one way: there is a video contest organized by an association treehugger.com (you might want to check their website from time to time).
Two videos that you might want to check out and there are many others that you might want to check. They might inspire you.
Greenspotting" Choose a green life!?! Why would you want to do a thing like that? There are plenty of reasons! But who needs reasons when we live in such a beautiful world that we can change and heal one choice at a time." Levi Felix and Andrew Buresh present GREENSPOTTING - A Convenient Truth Green Video for the Treehugger.com contest. A humurous yet inspiring look at many choices we can make each day to lessen the impact we have on this awe-inspiring earth(...)"

Convenient Truths: Climate And ActionThis short film is a music video to an original rap song about climate change and what Yale students are doing to address greenhouse gas emissions on campus. It is an entry in the "Inconvenient Truth" video competition of treehugger.com
you can even come up with your own video as this 5 year old boy as he shows us ways to reduce your carbon output:
Follow me

Posted by ALF on March 07, 2007 at 12:56 PM
March 05, 2007
Ecole Primaire Internationale
Hi everyone! Our school is a bilingual international school in Fontainebleau, France. This term my grade 4 students will be working on environmental issues and will use the blog as one of their resources, as well as post relevant articles.Good work everyone!
John Tyson
Posted by Anglophone Section Ecole Primaire Internationale on March 05, 2007 at 10:35 AM
March 03, 2007
U.S. Predicting Steady Increase for Emissions
A report on the emissions of gases by the United States has just been published and it is not really positive:"The Bush administration estimates that emissions by the United States of gases that contribute to global warming will grow nearly as fast through the next decade as they did the previous decade, according to a long-delayed report being completed for the United Nations."
While the Bush administration insists that these results are not bad and that there has been an improvement, experts on climate said that the projected emissions as unacceptable given the rising evidence of risks from global warming. For example in the US there are risks of drought and of shortage of water supplies in the Northwest and Southwest.
This report is published while politicians who want more control are becoming more powerful in statehouses and Congress.
Children at PS58 have been writing to the senators and the president. It is important to keep telling politicians that you care and worry. You can also talk to your family and your friends in other schools so that they also write letters or sign petitions.
And children at Fulham Prep and Kindercorner might want to also write letters to their politicians.
You could also write a letter all together and send it to the United Nations or to some other international agencies.
Article to be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/03/science/03climate.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin
Posted by ALF on March 03, 2007 at 04:29 PM
March 02, 2007
What is your ecological footprint?
We have only one planet to sustain us all. The population on earth is growing and the resources are shrinking. Some people made a calculation to see "how much of the earth's resources" we should use so that our planet is not endangered. The ecological footprint tells us how much nature we have and how much we can use.According to their calculations, there are only 1.9 global hectares (4.7 acres) of biologically productive space available per person on earth. In 1999, the world average global footprint was 2.3 global hectares (5.6 acres) per person which means that we were already using too much of the earth's resources. The American average footprint is 22-23 acres, which means that if everybody was living like an American we will need 6 planets! And Western Europeans are not far...www.ltscotland.org.uk/sustainabledevelopment/findresources/globalfootprint/index.asp
If you want to calculate your ecological footprint with your parents (or have them calculate their own footprint), there is an easy and fast quizz that you can find at:http://www.myfootprint.org/
You could also do it for your school. You can find one quizz for your school at: http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/sustainabledevelopment/findresources/globalfootprint/learners/index.aspOnce you have calculated, you could start thinking with your teachers how you could change things to reduce the ecological footprint of your school.
It's important to be aware, as it's the first step to changing behaviors. So go and calculate your ecological footprint.
Posted by ALF on March 02, 2007 at 11:00 AM
March 01, 2007
International Polar Year starts today

Image in context at http://www.canadanorth.usvpp.gov/images/polar_year.jpg
Today in Paris at the Palais de la Decouverte, scientists formally kicked off the International Polar Year, the biggest such project in 50 years. It bring together researchers from 63 nations in 228 studies to monitor the health of the polar regions, using icebreakers, satellites and submarines.
One of the main reason is to monitor what is happening in the poles and collect data about a "world" that could disappear if we are not careful.
A scientist in the panel this morning in Paris said:"'The projections are that ice in the Arctic will disappear in the summer months. There will no longer be perennial ice ... sometime within the next century (...)This will have enormous consequences'' on the 4 million people living in polar regions -- and well beyond, he said, as the melting ice disrupts ecosystems all the way to the equator."
The first polar year was in 1882-1883. Then there was a year focusing on the Arctic in 1932-1933 and on the Antarctic in 1957-1958. This Polar year (which will end in fact in March 2009) will study both poles.
In classrooms around the world Thursday, teachers conducted ice-related activities and experiments to call attention to the project, organizers said. Did you do some with your teachers? Are you going to? If you haven't, maybe you can ask your teachers...
And as mentioned in previous posts, there are many activities organized around this event: see the International Polar Month in Paris, the International Polar Week-End in New York... I'm sure there are other events in other cities in the world. If you find out about some of these, please let us know.
Checkhttp://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/resources/kids/ . It's a website offering some activities on the polar ice caps that you can do with your parents or your teachers.
Posted by ALF on March 01, 2007 at 10:05 AM
Paris International Polar Month
While there is an International Polar Week-End in New York next week, there will be an International Polar Month in Paris at the Cite des Sciences.

Go and check the schedules of the activities. Plenty of things for children and for their parents.This week-end is a free week-end at La Villette!

February 28, 2007
New York City International Polar Weekend
For those of you who live in New York and who love polar bears and penguins like the PS 58 children
"The American Museum of Natural History will host an International Polar Weekend from noon to 5:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, March 10 and 11, 2007. Sponsored by AMNH, Columbia University, Barnard College, the Explorers Club, and Wings WorldQuest, the family-style event is the New York kickoff to the International Polar Year (IPY), one of the largest collaborative science programs the world has seen in 50 years. New York has played, and continues to play, a critical role in understanding and depicting the poles. From scientists, journalists and explorers, to anthropologists and artists, New York has been at the forefront of polar advances for decades. The weekend event will host events and activities for all ages, including performances, short lectures, film clips with commentary, and an interactive "Polar Fair.""
More information at http://amnh.org/programs/specials/polar/
Posted by ALF on February 28, 2007 at 03:29 PM
February 27, 2007
Miss Young's Class, Brooklyn to Fulham Prep
I hope the world gets colder. I hope global warming stops so the polar bears won't die. I hope we will all join together to help save the Earth. I hope the penguins do not die. Don't you realize that its not only countries with humans that are going to die, but also countries with a lot of ice where animals live. We love the polar bears and the Earth is getting too warm for them. Is your Prime Minister helping stop global warming? Stop pollution. I hope all the icebergs in the polr region don't melt. Can you help us stop global warming? Make sure nobody puts polluton in te air. Do you have any books that talk about pollution. We love the book The Lorax by Dr. Suess, you should read it. Are you making posters baout global warming? We did at our school. Hope to talk to you soon!From, Miss Young's Class, Brooklyn, NY USA
Posted by PS 58 on February 27, 2007 at 11:34 AM
February 26, 2007
To Fulham Prep's children in London from Miss Ardito's class Brooklyn, NY, USA
Several children from Fulham Prep (London, UK) posted comments on the post "The world in 2050" (February, 19) and here is the reply of the children in Miss Ardito's class in PS58 (Brooklyn, NY, USA). Let's keep sharing our concerns and our ideas for fighting global warming.
"I think you are right. We will try our best in the USA. I will help the city- when I see something on the ground I will pick it up. I heard that the whole hawiian islands are starting to overflow. That is sad because hawaii is where the shine and rian comes, but they will be ruined. I heard that Australia is flooding, is that true? I saw a kid littering once, he threw a candy box on the ground. It made me sorry. Once I saw a sign that said do not litter.
We made posters at home and at our school. We are making recycling bins for our classrooms. Does your school recycle? We can save ourselves by helping the world. We wrote letters to a senator. You should write letters to your Prime Minister. I am worried too because I saw someone throwing garbage and didn't pick up their garbage. I am so sorry for the places that will flood. We will do the best we can."
Miss Ardito's Class, PS 58 (Brooklyn, NY, USA)
Posted by ALF on February 26, 2007 at 04:45 PM
Hybrid cabs in New York
As car pollutions has been a big topic, I thought you might be interested to know that there are hybrid taxis now in New York and as the person who posted the info wrote: "If they Make it there, They'll make it Anywhere." Not bad for New York as we've seen in a previous post (Feb 15) that there was also an experiment with hybrid buses.

What's going on in other big cities? London? Paris? Singapore? Berlin? Tokyo? Shanghai? etc. Have you heard about similar experiments to reduce pollutions? Do you have other ideas?
Here is the post that goes with the picture and that you can find at http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/04/hybrid_taxis_in.php:
"This TreeHugger never thought much of hybrid SUVs, given that they don't belong in the City and that is where hybrids are most efficient, in stop-and-go situations. However we do admit that as taxis they probably make some sense, being tougher and putting in lots of miles. (Mike liked them earlier here) We were pleased to learn that in New York and San Francisco where hybrid fleets have hit the 100,000 mile mark, that the cars and batteries have held up, and that drivers have saved between 20 and 30 dollars in fuel per shift, which is a nice raise for the driver and a lot of exhaust not emitted. “It’s nice to have an SUV that does so well environmentally and saves me about $5,000 a year,” said one driver."
Posted by ALF on February 26, 2007 at 04:27 PM
February 22, 2007
The impact of global warming in Africa: "Africa Hits Harder"
Although Africa is the less polluting continent (it has the lowest per capita fossil energy), it may be the most vulnerable continent to climate change because widespread poverty limits countries capabilities to adapt. Therefore, African political leaders say that climate change is a global issue and that there is an obligation on developed countries to reduce the production of CO2 and sign the Kyoto protocole.
Rain when you're not expecting it, sunny weather when you're waiting for rain, "that's what your experts call climate change" says a villager living in the East of Ethiopia to a French journalist. He adds: "At our level, we can't do much, we can just note the changes". Many scientists, politicians and industrialists are debating about global warming in Europe and in the United States. This blog shows that even children start discussing the issue. And that's great! Debating is essential, but we have to remember that it is a luxury that not everybody has. Global warming is more than a topic for debate in Africa, it is a fact.
Indeed scientist studying the impacts of global warming forecast rising levels of disease, famine and poverty are forecast for Africa. A report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says that:
- Heavy, monsoon-like, rains and higher temperatures will favour the breeding of disease-carrying mosquitoes, allowing them to thrive at higher altitudes.
- While heavy rains will become more frequent, there will also be rising levels of drought and the spread of deserts such as the Sahara, the scientists warn. For example, in the basins of Niger, Lake Chad and Senegal, total available water has decreased by 40 to 60 per cent.

The scientists note that signs of a changing climate in Africa have already emerged: spreading disease and melting glaciers in the mountains, warming temperatures in drought-prone areas, and sea-level rise and coral bleaching along the coastlines.
Some few facts (more at http://www.solcomhouse.com/africa.htm):- Cairo, Egypt -- Warmest August on record, 1998. Temperatures reached 105.8 degrees F (41 degrees C) on August 6, 1998.
- Southern Africa -- Warmest and driest decade on record, 1985-1995. Average temperature increased almost 1 degree F (0.56 degree C) over the past century.
- Senegal -- Sea-level rise; Sea-level rise is causing the loss of coastal land at Rufisque, on the South Coast of Senegal.
- Kenya -- Mt. Kenya's largest glacier disappearing. 92 percent of the Lewis Glacier has melted in the past 100 years.
- Mount Kilmanjaro, Tanzania - Ice projected to disappear by 2020. 82% of Kilimanjaro's ice has disappeared since 1912, with about one-third melting in just the last dozen years.
This does not mean that nothing can be done. Local communities are taking action and succeed in implementing changes. For example, in Niger farmers have been able to grow trees and therefore stops desertification (See post of February 12). Yet, it is important for developed and rich countries to be involved and help developing countries, which like African countries are not polluting as much as us, but are paying a "higher price".
Posted by ALF on February 22, 2007 at 07:50 PM
February 21, 2007
Donkeys instead of garbage trucks
Last week, I was mentioning some cities which are taking actions: New York and its Clean Air Hybrid Electric Buses and Paris with its new circulation plan to reduce traffic (See the post of February 15). Here is another way of taking action; I thought you might find it interesting or funny, at least creative:
In Sicily, the city of CASTELBUONO has exchanged their garbage trucks for donkeys...

Posted by ALF on February 21, 2007 at 10:25 AM
February 20, 2007
"Climate change is a global issue and there is an obligation on us all to take action"
"Climate change is a global issue and there is an obligation on us all to take action, in line with our capabilities and historic responsibilities," Globe (a British-led environmental group Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment) said in a statement last week after a meeting of world politicians and industrialists in the United States.
Globe was set up to encourage discussion of environmental issues between politicians and business leaders of the world's leading industrialized nations.
The two-day meeting brought together politicians from countries including the Group of Eight rich nations plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. World politicians and industrialists have reached a new, non-binding agreement at a meeting in Washington on tackling climate change. Delegates agreed that a limit should be decided for maximum acceptable carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and that this limit should be a target for both developing countries and rich countries.
Although the talks were informal and did not represent official government policy, it seems like a good signs that politicians are taking global warming seriously.
Mr. Morley, the president of the Globe meeting told BBC Radio last week:
"I think it is a great step forward in terms of building confidence and it is a very clear message from legislators ... that we want to see progress."
This meeting is also important, as it seems that the US government seems ready to make laws about global warming. The US senator Joe Lieberman told the forum yesterday that he believed the American government would introduce greenhouse gas-cutting laws in the near future "after many years of denial and inaction" on global warming.
It is particularly important as the US are producing a huge quantity of Co2:
http://environment.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,2014683,00.html(at http://www.guardian.co.uk/globalwarming/graphic/0,,397009,00.html)
It is also important because other big polluting countries like China and India would probably not participate in any global emissions-cutting programme if the United States were not doing any thing.
Article (Feb 16, 2007) to be found at http://environment.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,2014683,00.html
Posted by ALF on February 20, 2007 at 03:46 PM
Thoughts from the children at Fulham Prep, UK
Welcome to the children from Fulham Prep who posted many comments! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.Children in New York and France are on holiday for the winter break, and children in Singapore have a break for Chinese New Year, but they will all be delighted to read all these posts when they are back. They most probably will have many questions for you.
Looking forward to reading you again soon.
Below are today's comments by Fulham Prep's pupils (that you can find also find in the recent comments):Comments on "The World in 2050"i have seen your map of the estamated world of 2050 and i must say im angry that we didnt take enough action and if all of italy is going to sink then in 3000 im afriad there wont be a britian
Posted by: philip cluff February 20, 2007 at 07:36 AM
I think global warming messes up the world. When will it stop?
Posted by: emilia February 20, 2007 at 07:37 AM
I think it is awefull that the world will slowly disappear because we are polluting so much.
i really hope that we can do something to help save the world from what we are doing to ourselves.
i will definatly do all i can to stop this.
Posted by: Florence Meek February 20, 2007 at 07:38 AM
hi i am jack eaton morris this is the first time i have entered this blog and it is very interesting and has alot of interesting information to me and i will be entering this web page again
Posted by: jack eaton morris February 20, 2007 at 07:39 AM
The map says Italy will sink I am sorry for those Italians
Posted by: Aashrey Bansal February 20, 2007 at 07:40 AM
Comments on "Warming worse than we thought: More on the scientists' report"
I think it is so sad and aweful that this is happening to the world. I will do all that I can to help prevent this from happening to the world. If I see anyone being mean to the world I will try to stop it.
I will do all I can.
From Jordan
Posted by ALF on February 20, 2007 at 09:57 AM
February 19, 2007
The world in 2050
Graphics sometimes help make things more concrete or clearer...
in context at http://www.guardian.co.uk/globalwarming/graphic/0,,397048,00.html
Posted by ALF on February 19, 2007 at 07:46 PM
Cities are taking actions
As there had been a lot of discussions about car pollution and the need to reduce cars'pollution, I thought you might find these two examples, one in New York, one in Paris, interesting:
Seen in New York: Clean Air Hybrid Electric Bus
The New York City Bus system uses over 1,280 buses and is considered the ninth largest transit bus fleet in North America. Its impact is significant. Although the City of New York owns most of the buses, seven private bus operators provide the service. The bus system carries over 114 million people annually. In the year 2000 the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or the MTA as it is more commonly known - started the Clean Fuel Bus Program, which is envisaged to give New York the world's cleanest bus fleet.
Designed to give cost-effective emissions reductions as quickly as possible, the Clean Fuel Bus Program is an initiative of the local government in an explicit attempt to set an example of environmental standards. It takes a mostly technological approach, aiming to replace or retrofit the existing diesel bus fleet with cleaner technologies. The initiative goes voluntarily beyond mandatory emission control standards. To achieve these goals Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses are used as well as hybrid buses, and clean diesel technologies.
New circulation plan for Paris: Today a new programme aiming to reduce car circulation by 40% by 2020 was voted The question is how? The mayor and his team are planning to create alternative and collective options (subways, trolleys and buses) to improve commute in Paris and its suburbs (while reducing the number of cars) and diminish pollution.
Posted by ALF on February 15, 2007 at 10:03 AM
February 14, 2007
Kids are talking to adults
A video made by Greenpeace... It made me think of the message the children involved on Little Grassroots are trying to convey
It's not too lateUploaded by ITS-NOT-TOO-LATE
Posted by ALF on February 14, 2007 at 09:39 AM
February 13, 2007
Lights OUt Day!
I wanted to share with all of you that on Feb. 1 the entire staff of PS 58 shut off the lights to help raise awareness of global warning. After lunch all classrooms were to shut off the lights for 5 minutes. Well, what actually happened was that the custodians saw that I was shutting off the lights in the main office, and they asked me if I would like them to join in by shutting off the lights in the halls. This is really a big deal! How fortunate we are to have such socially conscience custodians! And it gets even better...most all classrooms kept the lights off for the rest of the afternoon. The children were so excited to be a part of this great cause. To add even more to this good story, since Feb. 1, many classes have been keeping the lights off for a period each day. As for myself, I know that I have been more aware when I am at home to shut the lights off, and in my conversations with children I am hearing the same. "I told my mom to shut the lights off when we're not in the room, " I told my brother to shut the TV when he's done", and "I told my dad to shut the computer off when he's done", are just a few of the comments children are sharing. Little things do mean alot!Giselle Gault, Principal PS58
Posted by PS 58 on February 13, 2007 at 01:27 PM
Taking Action at PS 58!
First graders at PS 58 are very concerned about global warming. We have been encouraging others to take action! Last week we wrote letters to Senator Hilary Clinton. We told her about all of the things we worry about, especially the polar bears. Some things that we included in our letters were:-that we are worried about global warming!-to help the penguins-to pass a law that names polar bears as a threatened species-to stop factories from polluting -to make cars pollute less-to tell the president that the animals in the arctic need help-PLEASE HELP!
Why don't you take action also? Write a letter to your government letting them know what you are concerend about. The law makers need to work to help stop this problem!
Posted by PS 58 on February 13, 2007 at 09:37 AM
February 12, 2007
"Small changes in human behavior can transform the regional ecology"
In The New York Times yesterday there was an article about how farmers in Niger have been able to grow trees and therefore stops desertification, "the process by which soil loses its fertility".Niger is home to some of the poorest people on earth and with an increase of population and several droughts, the desert seemed to be ready to swallow everything.
The farmers realized that either they had to change the way they farm or they will perish. Therefore, they change the way they farm. These were not huge changes, nor expensive ones. Before when planting seeds, farmers would clear the saplings. They stopped clearing them and started protecting and nurturing them, plowing around them. As a result, trees started growing, and now there are millions of new trees.
Trees have many positive effects: their roots fix the soil in place; they also help hold water in the ground.
"Today, the success in growing new trees suggests that the harm to much of the Sahel may not have been permanent, but a temporary loss of fertility. The evidence, scientists say, demonstrates how relatively small changes in human behavior can transform the regional ecology, restoring its biodiversity and productivity."
What is the link with global warming? First climate change is another threat for Niger. Like other parts of Africa, it has experienced big swings in rainfall in recent years, and several severe droughts. It seems that "more trees mean that Niger’s people are in a better position to withstand whatever changes the climate might bring."
Moreover, I thought this shows how small changes that do not require a lot of efforts or money can have important, somewhat unexpected consequences.
“This is something the farmers control, and something they do for themselves,” said Dr. Larwanou, a forestry expert at the University of Niamey in Niger’s capital. “It demonstrates that with a little effort and foresight, you can reduce poverty in the Sahel. It is not impossible or hopeless, and does not have to cost a lot of money. It can be done.”
The article can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/11/world/africa/11niger.html?th&emc=th
Posted by ALF on February 12, 2007 at 02:57 PM
February 11, 2007
Cars that pollute less
On Friday during the philosophy lunch club, we talked about whether, or not, it was important to have laws and rules to make sure that people pollute less. I thought it was important and I said we needed to have laws to have cars that pollute less, or even maybe no cars at all.
I was therefore happy when we read an article in the newspaper with my mom saying that some people in the European Commission (It's like a government for all the countries in Europe) in Brussels are talking about voting a law that will force car producers to make cars that pollute less. For the moment, there are no laws, the carmakers are asked to try to make cars that pollute less, but they are not obliged. But the carmakers are not very happy and they are trying to stop this law.
Moreover, we also read that some people working at the European Commission decided to change cars, and to use Japanese cars, which seem to pollute less.
It seems that all this is part of an effort to fight climate change and global warming as it was agreed by the countries that sign the Kyoto Protocol (it's a contract between different countries to try to pollute less).
Melchior, PS 58
These two articles can be found at
Posted by ALF on February 11, 2007 at 08:47 PM
"The polar ice cap is getting smaller and smaller"
Here is a link to the article in the Guardian that we read with my momhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianweekly/story/0,,2007802,00.html. It summarizes the report of the scientists that was published last week. They said that 'a failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions will bring devastating climate change within a few decades'. And on the photo below you can see how the polar ice cap is getting smaller and smaller.There were pictures of it. They think in 2056 it will be tiny. Scary isn't it?

I agree with the philosophy lunch club's guys, we need to have some laws to prevent some of this! Please pass the law that polar bears as a threatened species. Polar Bears are on very thin ice. You just have to look at the picture of the polar bears on the post of February 3rd to feel really sad for them.
Ewan, PS 58
Posted by ALF on February 11, 2007 at 06:57 PM
February 09, 2007
Do we need laws?
Today with the philosophy lunch club we talked about why we have rules, laws and governments.We asked ourselves why policemen could put some people in jail? Because they are very strong? Or because there are laws? Lincoln and Melchior both said "because it's written", and we agreed.We thought it was important. We imagined what it would be if only the strongers could decide what to do. For example at school, it would mean that the 5th graders could take our things away because they are older and stronger! That did not sound right!
We talked about a philosopher from the eighteenth century, Jean-Jacques Rousseau... He has a wig - white and curly - and we thought it would be fun to all put a wig like this and become "little Rousseau". If we do that, we'll post a picture.
Rousseau wrote a story about how men because they were always fighting decided to sign a contract and follow rules, and have a government. Because everybody decides to sign the contract, it's a democracy.
We then talked about global warming and we asked ourselves "do we need rules to prevent countries from polluting too much?" Ethan was not so sure. He thought maybe we should do whatever we want. Feiron was not sure either. Melchior and Lincoln thought it was very important to have rules. Eventually, we all agreed that it was important. We learnt that there was a contract like this and that some countries have signed it, and some have not. We said all countries should sign the contract. What do you think?
Nick said that the first graders were planning to write to Senator Clinton to ask her to convince the president to make a law about the polar bears - to make them become an endangered species. We really love polar bears at PS58!
Melchior thought that there should be a law forbidding all cars, buses, etc. He also suggested to have a law saying that we should use only solar panels to make electricity.
We realized that we use electricity a lot, and we need it. So we asked ourselves if we should sometimes do things to prevent pollution even if it was taking away something from us. For example, we talked about people who let the engine of their car on even when they are not driving, and sometimes for a while. We thought it was polluting a lot. Yet, Lincoln said that sometimes she was doing it because it was cold, but only for 5 minutes. But then we thought that if all the people who had a car did it only for 5 minutes, it would still be a lot of pollution. We thought that maybe we could try to do it a bit less - for 2 minutes instead of 5. What do you think?
Melchior reminded us that in science with Ms Marsh we talked about recycling. Samantha said that recycling was important, and we all agreed. Melchior then raised another issue: if you don't recycle properly, and put something in the wrong bin, you might get in trouble. In fact, you can get a ticket. Melchior thought that you should do that to make sure that people follow the rules. Lincoln thought it was too much: people can make mistakes! We all agreed: we are not always sure in which bin to put what kind of garbage! So rules are good, but we need to have the right to make mistakes.
If you have any other thoughts, please let us know. We'll be happy to talk about it next Friday.
Moreover today we all had a lot of energy and so we started by running and stretching at the beginning of the club, and then at the end too. We thought that maybe we could use this energy to make electricity. We had so much!

The Philosophy Lunch Club at PS 58
Posted by PS58PhiloLunchClub on February 09, 2007 at 02:18 PM
February 03, 2007
Warming worse than we thought: More on the scientists' report
Polar bears on chunks of glacial ice in the Bering Sea in 2004. Much higher temperatures are forecast for the Arctic, climate scientists say.This picture can be found in context at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/03/science/earth/03climate.html?pagewanted=1&th&emc=th
An iceberg melting in Kulusuk, Greenland. Photograph: John McConnico/APThis picture can be found in context at http://environment.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,2005116,00.html
This picture can be found in context athttp://www.liberation.fr/actualite/evenement/evenement1/232873.FR.php?utk=00779aa6
Today there were many articles in the press on the report on global warming released yesterday.The report presents worrying results. The summary says: “It is very likely that hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent.”. It warns of 4 degrees (Celcius) rise by 2100, which means:
- Droughts (and therefore loss of food production)
- Increased flooding as the sea levels rise by up to 59cm:Bangladesh and Vietnam worst hit, along with coastal cities such as London, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Calcutta and Karachi. 1.8m people at risk from coastal flooding in Britain alone
- Melting ice:Half the Arctic tundra at risk. Europe loses 80% of alpine glaciers. West Antarctic ice sheet and the Greenland ice sheet start to melt
- More disease: Mosquitoes thrive, exposing 80 m more people to malaria in Africa; 2.5bn more exposed to dengue fever
- 20-50% of land species threatened with extinction
- Water shortages
- More powerful hurricanes
And life in the ocean is also at risks with the destruction of some corals and planktons.
As noted by the children of the PS58 philosophy lunch club, global warming can have many different meanings - depending on who you are, but also on where you live. Indeed the scientists say that the warming and other climate changes will be highly variable around the world. For example, the rise of temperatures will be higher in the Arctic.
Susan Solomon, an atmospheric scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said that “If you’re living in parts of the tropics and they’re getting drier and you’re a farmer, there are some very acute issues associated with even small changes in rainfall — changes we’re already seeing are significant. If you are an Inuit and you’re seeing your sea ice retreating already, that’s affecting your life style and culture.” While we might not experience as strong effects as other people in the world (and indeed winter seems to be back in New York and snow has fallen in the Alps to the delight of skiers), it does not mean we should not care.
Another point that came out strongly of the report is the responsibility of humans as well as the need to act NOW. Susan Solomon said: "If we keep emitting greenhouse gases at current rates we will see bigger changes this century than we did in the previous century. The amount of warming will depend on choices that human beings make."
However, although the picture the experts draw is quite dark, they stressed that such an outcome was not inevitable. For example, a significant switch to "clean and resource efficient technologies" would cut expected temperature rises by half. Still, we need to be aware that whatever we do, we can slow down the process, but not stop it completely, at least not in the short term.
A first step to action is awareness and this report led to awareness with the representatives from 113 countries approving the findings of these reports. Among these countries, was the United States, which never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and "until recently avoided directly accepting that humans were warming the planet in potentially harmful ways".
However, being aware is not enough and one must accept one's responsibility as well as the consequences and changes that it implies. For example, the Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman rejected the idea of unilateral limits on emissions arguing: “We are a small contributor to the overall, when you look at the rest of the world, so it’s really got to be a global solution".
Interesting comment when one knows that the United States is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. The United States, with about 5 percent of the world’s population, contributes about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, more than any other country.
While there is indeed a global responsability and a need for global action, that should not be used as an excuse to avoid drastic changes locally.
Once again, the plurality of meanings stressed by the PS58 philosophy lunch club resonates:
Different meanings for different countries, but also (and that's why this blog was started), different meanings whether you're 5 or 6, 12, 15, in your twenties, thirties, ... sixties, etc.
Different meanings because you understand the consequences differently, but it won't affect your future life in the same ways. How old will you be in 2050 when the effects of global warming will become increasingly present?
Sources:Guardian: http://environment.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,2005116,00.htmlNew York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/03/science/earth/03climate.html?th&emc=thLiberation:http://www.liberation.fr/actualite/evenement/evenement1/232873.FR.php?utk=00779aa6
Posted by ALF on February 03, 2007 at 04:15 PM
February 02, 2007
What does global warming mean?
We are seven first graders at PS58 and on Fridays at lunch time we meet to learn about philosophy. We learnt that philosophers are people who ask themselves questions, and who care more about questioning things that finding the answers. Today, we talked about why words mean what they mean. We asked ourselves why the word "table" means table? How can we be sure that we all think of the same thing when we use the word "table"? We thought it was not necessarily easy as there are so many diffferent types of tables. We were sitting at a big rectangular greyish table while talking, but at home our tables are different: some of us have round tables, others have rectancular or square tables. One of us has a glass table. Another a coffee table. We also talked about the different ways we use tables: to eat, to write... but in some cases, to hide, or to sit. When you sit on a table is it still a table? Most of us thought that it was still a table, and not a chair... We also talked about the different meanings of candies, for us, for the dentists, for our parents... We realized that we love some types of candies, but not all of them... We even learnt that in some places in the world (in Africa, in Amazonia and in Mexico) some kids eat ants while we eat candies!
Becoming aware that we don't always agree on what words mean and that things can mean different things for different people, we tried to apply this way of thinking.
First, we thought of The Lorax a book we are reading in class and we wondered what do the trees mean to the Lorax? do they mean the same thing as to the Onceler? No, they don't. The Lorax loves the trees and he wants to fight for them, while the Onceler (at least at the beginning of the book) wants to cut the trees to use them in his factories, and make more money. The trees also mean something different to the bears in the book: the trees mean food to the bears as they eat their nuts.
Then, we thought of global warming. What does it mean to different people? To the polar bears and the penguins? It means death, extinction.To the people who live nearby the sea? Flood, losing their houses.To us? We worry, we are talking about it in class. We made posters.To other people? Some recycle, some don't care, and for others it means thousands of dollars (because like the Onceler they pollute with their factories because they want to make money).
And what does it mean to you?
We said we will try to ask to people we know what global warming means to them.
We also thought of other questions to ask about global warming: why is it happening? How? because of pollution... but then, why is there pollution? Who is responsible?
As you can see we have a lot of questions! ... Please share your questions and your definitions with us.
The Philosophy Lunch Club at PS 58 (Lincoln, Samantha, Feiran, Nick, Matthew, Ethan and Melchior)
Posted by PS58PhiloLunchClub on February 02, 2007 at 01:51 PM
The World's top climate scientists said ...
The report of the World's top climate scientists has been released today in Paris and it is not very positive. First of all, they said that the main cause of global warming was "very likely" to be human activities. They also predicted more droughts, heatwaves, rains and a slow increase of the sea levels...This is worrying. Yet, the good news is that political leaders seem to start realizing that something has to be done.In fact, the Kyoto Protocol (it was an agreement between many countries in the world to try to limit pollution) was a first attempt to reduce pollution and it is still the main plan to reduce the emission of gases. Unfortunately, the United States pulled out in 2001, and countries like India and China are not part of it either. Maybe this report will lead governments to rethink their decision and participation.

Waste gases burn as smoke and steam belch from the steel mills in Hamilton, south of Toronto, February 1, 2007. (J.P. Moczulski/Reuters) To be found in context at http://news.yahoo.com/photo/070202/photos_ts/2007_02_02t032537_450x329_us_globalwarming&g=events/sc/120203climateissues;_ylt=Ah1uzlHz_Y3.1pi9mb7zATsiANEA;_ylu=X3oDMTA3bGk2OHYzBHNlYwN0bXA-
Excerpt from a Reuters's article: "PARIS (Reuters) - The world's top climate scientists said on Friday global warming was man-made, spurring calls for urgent government action to prevent severe and irreversible damage from rising temperatures.
The United Nations panel, which groups 2,500 scientists from more than 130 nations, predicted more droughts, heatwaves, rains and a slow gain in sea levels that could last for more than 1,000 years.
The scientists said it was "very likely" -- or more than 90 percent probable -- that human activities led by burning fossil fuels explained most of the warming in the past 50 years(...)
Possible signs range from drought in Australia to record high winter temperatures in Europe.
"February 2, 2007 may be remembered as the day the question mark was removed from whether (people) are to blame for climate change," said Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Program.
"Faced with this emergency, now is not the time for half measures. It is the time for a revolution, in the true sense of the term," French President Jacques Chirac said. "We are in truth on the historical doorstep of the irreversible."
The Kyoto Protocol is the main plan for capping emissions of greenhouse gases until 2012 but it has been severely weakened since the United States, the top source of greenhouse gases, pulled out in 2001. Emissions by many backers of Kyoto are far over target.
This article can be read at http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070202/sc_nm/globalwarming_dc
Posted by ALF on February 02, 2007 at 10:40 AM
February 01, 2007

KinderCorner, a childcare centre in Singapore, is delighted to contribute to Little grassroots.
The teachers of the four to six years olds have been reading books with the children and together they have been talking and thinking about our beautiful Earth and what they can do to help look after our Earth. A favourite story, 'Dear Children of the Earth - A letter from Home' by Schim Schimmel, revisited today, prompted the children to think about global warming. They want to participate in 'Let's switch off the light for 5 minutes' today at 7:55 pm. Let's see if they can convince their parents to do this. Will keep you posted.
Posted by Kindercorner @ Singapore on February 01, 2007 at 02:12 AM

to do our science expo projects on how to help the environment. We are going to have a celebration on April 20th to celebrate Earth day and display our projects. We also thought it would be fun to have some music at our Earth Day celebration, so Mr. Nick, our music teacher, is going to help us write some songs about the Earth. It should be very exciting! -The First Grade Classes at PS 58, Brooklyn
Posted by PS 58 on January 26, 2007 at 01:07 PM Comments (2) TrackBack (0)
January 25, 2007
So many parts in the picture
Below are the comments posted during the week (In case, you have not noticed, but now you can see the recent comments to the posts on the right side of the blog). It's great to see that people are reading this blog and sharing their thoughts with us.
Children in our community are reading the blog with their parents and sharing their thoughts, but also one boy in Paris (and soon more in Paris and in other countries). Last, some grown-ups are also reading what you are posting because they believe your ideas matter and that what you're doing here is important.
Next week, the report written by scientists on global warming is going to be published, but there are always different excerpts that were made public and it looks quite alarming. Therefore, it makes even more sense for you to keep thinking about it, and to try to have an impact on our political leaders. Maybe you can ask your parents to summarize what they read in the newspapers. Also, if you think about it, switch off the light on February 1st between 7:55 and 8 PM. That will be your way to say that you are concerned.
I like Nemo's post because it stresses the relationships between different parts of the natural world, or illustrates the idea of an ecosystem. An ecosystem refers to different elements of a place in nature. It includes the plants, trees, animals, fish, birds, water, soil, microorganisms, and people that live in this place, and the way they interact. When things start "going wrong" in an ecosystem, it has an impact on all the different elements of it. For example, because of global warming, salmons, which are cold-water fish are disappearing (without talking about logging, development, pollution, dams, etc. that have degraded, sometimes destroyed their habitat). Because salmons are disappearing, orcas are at risks because they feed on orcas...
There are many other effects, and many other animals, which are affected... As you can see, it's complex and there are many parts in the picture. One thing to do might be to start thinking about all the different living organisms which are affected - animals, plants, ... and also people. From there, we can start thinking about the relationships between these different elements. That will help us understand better what's happening and might give us ideas on what we could do.
I could not find a nice picture of salmons, but here are two of orcas (at the bottom)...
--comments to the polar bears' post:I like the penguins and I want them to live a long time on the antarctic surface. My mom has a calendar from the Nature Conservancy and this month they show pictures of penguins and tell how they are losing their ice homes due to global warming. Stop gobal warming!!! Tell everyone about this!!!
Posted by: Daniel Daponte January 22, 2007 at 06:59 PM
My favorite animal is the whale killer (orca). Although they are not considered as part of endangered species, I worry about them. I read with my mum that some orcas living in the Pacific North are at risk because their main meal is salmon and because of the ocean warming and pollution, there are less and less salmon and it is often contaminated. So if we want to save the orcas we have to save the salmon first. Because if orcas cannot feed themselves properly they will die. It makes me sad because I don’t’ want them to disappear like dinosaurs did – I love dinosaurs as well by the way. Nemo 6 yrs - Paris.
Posted by: Nemo January 23, 2007 at 02:05 PM
I am so proud of you students for thinking so seriously about these problems facing our planet and all of its creatures. You are not only becoming aware of global warming, but you are wanting to make a statement to our political leaders and do something about it, too. Way to go! I will be back to visit your blog often.
Mrs. Kenlon (Miss Young's mother!!!)
Posted by: Anne K. January 25, 2007 at 03:30 PM

these pictures can be found in context at news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/ science/nature/4520104.stmwww.duiops.net/seresvivos/ galeria_ballenas.html
Posted by ALF on January 25, 2007 at 07:24 PM
January 22, 2007
Polar bears...
As we are all thinking of polar bears, here are some pictures.There are not only polar bears suffering of the melting of the polar ice caps, penguins too!... and in other regions of the world, coral reefs and other species are disappearing:

These images can be found in their original context at:michaeldhadden.squarespace.com/ mikes-blog2/20...www.biologicaldiversity.org/.../ index.htmlnews.bbc.co.uk/1/ low/sci/tech/521451.stmtiki.oneworld.net/global_ warming/climate4.htmlhttp://eolit.hrw.com/hlla/rw/index2.jsp?Chapter=7&Page=1eolit.hrw.com/hlla/ rw/index2.jsp?Chapter=7&Page=1www.willthomas.net/.../ Weekly/Penguins.htm
Posted by ALF on January 22, 2007 at 10:35 AM
Thougts of the week-end
As you might not have the time to check all the comments, here are some comments posted during the week-end in reply to the post of Miss Young's and Miss Dello Stritto's classes , and to the post of Miss Arditto's and Miss Dunford's classes. Let's keep sharing ideas.
- We talked with my parents about what other things we could do to show that we are concerned about global warming. My mother received an email from a friend who said that there is a group of people who are asking that we all switch off the light on February 1st between 7:55 pm and 8:00 pm. They say that like that, maybe the people from the government, the TV and the newspapers will realize that we all worry and that it's important to us. They want to do that on that day, because that's the day a book written by scientists about global warming will be published.
We sent an email to my cousins in France, and also to friends in Paris, in Singapore, and in London, telling them about this. My cousins in Paris said they will switch off the light. I hope many people will do that. Let's tell it to as many people as possible, and if they also tell it to some other people (in their own language, Spanish, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese, German, Italian, Nepalese...) there might be many people switching off the light on February 1st. My parents, my sister and I we will switch off the light.
Melchior (Ms Young's class, PS 58)
Posted by: Melchior January 20, 2007 at 07:31 PM--Help save the polar bears
I agree. Polar bears are cute and I don't want them to die. In my class (Ms Zundos' class) we are talking about bears, not only the polar bears, but also the brown and the black ones. I think all the bears are in danger, because it's not cold enough, so they can't sleep during winter. We really have to do something. We have to stop making pollution, because if not all the animals will die.I like your idea of making a poster. This week-end I'll make one to hang in my class. jyoti (Pre-K 129, PS 58)
Posted by: Jyoti January 19, 2007 at 07:09 PM
Yes, Jyoti. That's a great idea. Here are some other ideas by artists. What do you think of them?The Turner prize winning artist,Jeremy Deller got involved in an ecological project to design a bathouse at the Wetlands Center in London as bat’s habitats are threatened in urban areas.Visit his site at www.bathouseproject.orgAnd another interesting one that artists are involved in is called Cape Farewell. Visit the site at www.capefarewell.com I liked the piece of work by Heather Ackroyd & Dan Harvey,Stranded, 2005–2006, (detail)as it reminded me of the Polar Bears.
Posted by: Aileen Wilson January 21, 2007 at 09:41 PM
Melchior and I loved the idea of the bat's house that Aileen posted. It also made us think of the Polar Bears. We started thinking of how we could build new houses for the polar bears.
We watched a movie during the week-end (The Inconvenient Truth) and as in the article you read in class, they said the polar bears were in danger. Although they are good swimmers, polar bears need to rest and as the ice is melting, they find less and less ice to rest, and some were found drowned. So you are right we really need to do something.
Maybe like some of these artists Aileen mentioned, we could start thinking of ways of building new houses for them. With Melchior, we thought that maybe we could build islands that will float so that the polar bears can climb on them and rest. Yet, they can't be in ice as you don't want them to melt. Also, they need to be "strong enough" so that the polar bears (which are heavy) can rest. You also need a material that can float... We thought that might be an interesting project to explore... We did not have time to check out all the other projects, but we will.
Maybe you could talk in art with Ms. Dold. I'm sure she'll have plenty of ideas.
Posted by: Anne-Laure Fayard at Jan 21, 2007 11:02:02 PM
Posted by ALF on January 21, 2007 at 11:07 PM
January 19, 2007
Melting Polar Ice Caps by Miss Young and Miss Dello Stritto's Classes
Today we did an experiment to see what happens when polar ice melts. We had a tub filled with warm water and placed big chunks of ice in it to pretend they were ice caps. When the ice melted and turned to water, the water started overflowing over the sides of the bucket! When the temperature rises, the ocean gets warmer and causes the real ice caps to melt! If the REAL ice caps melt, where would the water overflow to? Scientists think that if enough ice melts, it could start flooding coastal towns all over the world! People would have to move and find new places to live. We really want to do something to help! We came up with some ideas to help:-Walk or ride a bike to school instead of driving, so we put less yucky stuff in the air (carbon dioxide)-Tell your family, friends and neighbors about global warming- maybe they don't know what it is-Make posters for your school and neighborhood-Write a letter to the president to let him know you are worried
How else can we help? How do you feel about global warming?
Posted by PS 58 on January 19, 2007 at 03:29 PM Comments (2) TrackBack (0)
Help Save the Polar Bears! By Miss Ardito and Miss Dunford's Classes
This week we read an article about polar bears in Time for Kids. The article said that global warming is shrinking the polar ice that polar bears live and hunt on. Many of the bears are having troube hunting and are becoming very ill. This makes us feel really sad and angry. Polar bears are so cute! Two weeks ago, the U.S. government said it was taking steps to list the polar bear as a threatened species! That means that they are close to becoming endangered! If te polar bears become a threatened species, the government will make strict rules to protect them. We would really miss the bears if they were gone, so lets try and help!
Things that can help:-Send letters to your senator telling them you are worried about the polar bears and want to help-Tell your families and neighbors about what is happening-Write to a scientist to see if they have any ideas on how to help the polar bears-Make signs to hang in your school to save the polar bears-Can we have scientists put land in the arctic that won't melt to help the polar bears?
Please let us know if you have any other ideas!
Posted by PS 58 on January 19, 2007 at 03:06 PM
Description of PS 58
PS 58 is an elementary school in Carroll Gardens , Brooklyn. We have 486 children from grades Pre-K through 5. It is an amazing school, where every child and teacher are encouraged to follow their passions. Children are enocuraged to follow thier interests and teachers, staff and parents work to guide and facilitate activities and discussions. This environmental inquiry came out of a 1st grader's visit to Singapore. When he returned to his class, he started a discussion about climate and soon after many of our 1st graders started thinking and sharing their ideas and wonderings. We look forward to talking with friends from other countries and making a difference in our world.
Giselle Gault
Principal PS58
Posted by PS 58 on January 19, 2007 at 01:36 PM
January 18, 2007
Let's switch off the light for 5 minutes on February 1st
Yesterday, after i posted the previous message on planting trees and the importance of getting politicians and governments involved, i received an email from a friend. It's about an action taken by a group of people in France who want to try to influence their political leaders and convince them that they have to do something about global warming. They suggest that on February 1st, we all switch off the light between 7:55 pm and 8:00 pm.
Why switching off the light? Of course, it's not going to reduce pollution! The aim is to raise awareness, to make people in the world - you and I, our family, friends, neighbors, the media, and the politicians - aware that we need to stop wasting energy and that climate change is something serious. It won't take long, it won't be difficult to do and it hopefully will show political leaders that people really care. Some people demonstrate, some do sit-ins, others stay silent for a minute,...why not trying to switch off the light for five minutes?
If you think about it, if many people do that all around the world, there will be a trail of darkness envelopping the earth!
Why February 1st?Because on that day, a new report of the United Nations on climate change, written by a group of experts, will be published.
Maybe you can tell your parents, your friends and we can all turn off the light for five minutes on February 1st.
Posted by ALF on January 18, 2007 at 11:31 AM
Can planting a tree help?
If you have read The Lorax by Dr Seuss, you might remember that at the end the Onceler gives a seed to the little boy and asks him to plant it and start a new forest so that "the Lorax and all of his friends may come back." We all learnt that trees can remove the carbon dioxyde (the Co2 that Lincoln (PS58) was mentioning in her post of January 14) that we produce when we burnt coal, gas, oil to make energy. So it seems obvious as the Onceler suggests: we all need to plant trees and that will prevent the carbon dioxyde from warming up the earth, and thus the ice caps will stop melting, the sea levels will stop rising, and there will be less floods, huricanes, etc. There are now many projects where people start planting trees. Even companies are doing it. For example, when you buy a laptop to Dell, the computer company, they now give $2 to plant trees. It seems we are on the good path, aren't we?Well, yes and no. Ken Caldeira, a scientist at the California Institution's department of global ecology, argues that planting trees does not help that much. In fact, he argues that some trees help more than others, and that what we really needs are tropical forests:"The roots of the tropical trees reach down deep drawing up water that they evaporate, through their leaves. In the atmosphere, this water may form clouds that reflect sunlight back to space, helping to cool the earth" What this scientist is telling us is that planting trees is not going to solve the problem. What we really need to do is reduce drastically the amount of carbon dyoxide we are producing. To do this, we can change many little things in our ways of leaving. In fact, we should, but that won't be enough. What needs to be changed requires our political leaders to do some "serious thinking" and make some "big" decisions. Indeed, we need to transform our energy system (using "clean and safe" sources of energy like or wind or solar, and even maybe nuclear sources) and that implies politicians, governments, international institutions, to be involved in the change and to make decisions.Does that means we can't do anything? I don't think so. We can still do something about it: we can try to make them aware, to tell them that this is a serious problem... and to do that, maybe we can plant a tree! :-)read the whole article at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/16/opinion/16caldeira.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
If you want to play with Lorax and plant seeds, here is a little game:http://www.seussville.com/games/lorax/
Posted by ALF on January 17, 2007 at 10:21 AM
January 16, 2007
New islands in Greenland: we need to keep changing the maps
Today in the Science Section of the New York Times, there was an article on the warming of Greenland. Because the glaciers are melting, parts of Greenland are now becoming islands and so explorers keep finding new islands. On the one hand, this is very exciting for these explorers, but as one of them said this is also very scary, because it means that the melting of artic has real effects. You can see their impact, as they change the geography of the region. Moreover, while scientists thought until recently that ice sheets didn't react very quickly to climate, they are proven wrong by what is happening in Greenland. Scientists cannot predict how fast it will go, but they say it might go fast. A geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University claims that if the melting of the Greenland's ice continues as it is, it might lead to a sea-level rise of one foot or two (30 to 60 centimeters) in the coming decades. What does this means? Even with only one foot rise, it will mean that many island nations, or coastal regions will be in danger. The rise of the sea-level will send water thousands of feet of water inland. Think of the hundreds of millions of people that make their homes in the deltas of rivers (for example in Bangladesh), they will be under flooded! And Miami will have an ocean on both sides. Our maps will have to be changed and there will be a whole new series of islands. And what about the people who were living "in between" the islands?
You will find the whole article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/16/science/earth/16gree.html?_r=1&n=Top%2fNews%2fScience%2fTopics%2fGlobal%20Warming&oref=slogin
There is a picture in the NY Times, but here is another: An iceberg floats in the bay in Kulusuk, Greenland near the arctic circle in this Aug. 16, 2005 file photo. (AP Photo/John McConnico/File) (original context: http://www.planetsave.com/ps_mambo/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6901&Itemid=33)
Posted by ALF on January 16, 2007 at 01:05 PM
January 14, 2007
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Yesterday I watched a movie Nausicaa (by Miyazaki) which talks about pollution. It's the story of a girl, Nausicaa who loves animals (even ugly giant insects) and takes care of them. The toxic jungle is growing because of all the pollution done by the men, and now it's growing and growing and destroying the villages and the cities. Because of men, nature became toxic. Men destroyed nature and now it's nature destroying men.Men are always fighting about what they should do to stop the toxic jungle and also to be more powerful. Nausicaa says: "don't shoot"; "stop, don't pollute"and at the end they listen to her, and the big insects go back to the jungle and are friendly.
Melchior (PS58)
Posted by ALF on January 14, 2007 at 09:37 PM
It's all because of us
It's all because of us. Since we are using so much gasoline, all the yucky stuff from our cars is going up into the atmosphere, a thin layer of air. We take CO2 in and put it back out. Since all that gasoline has gone into our atmosphere, it's clogged it up. And CO2 makes things warmer, so it's warmer down here on earth. —Lincoln Alkind (PS 58) - Posted as a comment to Ewan's story on the sleeping bears
Posted by ALF on January 14, 2007 at 05:45 PM
January 12, 2007
The non-sleeping bears
Here is an article posted by Ewan (PS 58) and his mother in a comment. It tells how the bear's hibernation is affected:
Global warming blamed as Russian winter fails to materialise
Luke Harding in Moscow, Ed Pilkington in New York and Giles Tremlett in MadridWednesday January 10, 2007Guardian Unlimited
The brick grotto where Moscow zoo's bears live was today finally devoid of snuffling. After weeks of insomnia caused by the record mild winter in Russia, the six bears that live in the craggy enclosure have at last nodded off. Russia's famous winters may have scuttled the invasion plans of both Napoleon Bonaparte and Hitler but this year the winter has spectacularly failed to materialise in Moscow.Meteorologists said that today was the warmest January day in Moscow since 1957, at 5.3C."Usually it's -18C by now," Tania Simyonova said, pushing her 18-month-old son Daniel past the empty bear enclosure. Nearby a polar bear dozed; in the next enclosure a dromedary jogged up and down."I think winter has been cancelled," Mrs Simyonova said, gazing at the drizzling sky and the zoo's stubbornly unfrozen duck pond. "If you want to see winter this year you have to go to Siberia or the Urals."
The non-sleeping bears are a tiny jigsaw piece in an alarming global puzzle of unseasonable weather. In recent months there have been erratic monsoons in Nepal, glaciers melting earlier than expected in the Himalayas, and rains heavier and more intense than usual in Malawi. In November, Australia experienced its worst drought for about 1,000 years.
In Europe, the mild temperatures have wreaked havoc on the skiing season, with Alpine resorts forced to fire up their snow machines. In Austria, hazel and alder trees have burst into flower. In Britain, the Met Office has predicted that global temperatures in 2007 have a 60% chance of becoming the hottest ever.
And it is not just Moscow's brown and Himalayan bears - one of them an unwanted gift to Russia's former president Boris Yeltsin - that have been suffering confusion. Two bears at a zoo on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast have also failed to go to sleep, staff said today.
"They are acting more like it is spring than the dead of winter," said Todor Hristov, zoo director in the port city of Varna, adding that temperatures had recently hit 13C.
In the snowy mountain regions of southern Europe it is the same story. Swallows are turning up in Spain 10 days earlier than 30 years ago, while beech and juniper trees have been creeping up the country's once barren mountains.
Over on the east coast of America, where by rights people should be hunkered down in eiderdown coats and fake fur hats, there has been a distinct touch of spring in the air.
The unseasonal climate is made apparent in visible peculiarities, from the cherry blossom in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, to the ice rinks in Manhattan that have been closed because they have turned to slush, and early budding of daffodils in the Bronx.
Today a brief flurry of snow was at last recorded in New York City - the latest of any winter in 129 years. It lasted just a few minutes and left barely a trace on the ground.
Federal weather experts say that temperatures across the US over the past month and more have been running six degrees above normal. Even in Denver, Colorado, which has had severe blizzards and heavy snowfalls, a monthly temperature in December of 1.7C above the average for the 30 years up to 2000 was recorded.
Most scientists agree that the exceptional weather patterns across America are due to a combination of the El NiƱo effect - the natural warming of the surface water in the eastern Pacific which happens every three to 10 years - and climate change.
Today the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recognised the global warming impact of carbon dioxide for the first time in its annual review of US climate trends, which found 2006 to have been the warmest year since records began in 1895.
Back in Russia meteorologists said January was set to break all records in what is supposed to be the world's coldest country.
"We are experiencing some of the warmest temperatures in Moscow since our records began back in 1870," said Dimitry Kiktyov, deputy director of Moscow's meteorological office.
Mr Kiktyov said the only parts of Russia's territory that were now properly cold were the eastern parts of Siberia and the remote Far East. "We expect it to get colder in February," he added.
Posted by ALF on January 12, 2007 at 10:16 AM
January 11, 2007
Environmental Inquiry at PS 58
PS 58 is ecstatic to have a place for an open discussion about what is happening in our world. As the early childhood science teacher, I am amazed by the curiosity and excitement that the children have everyday. They are passionate about our Earth and want to learn how to take care of it. The first grade children in Ms. Ardito, Ms. Young, Ms. Dunford and Ms. Dellostritto's classes have just begun exploring global warming. They are amazed and quite happy that they were able to wear short sleeves in the middle of January, but as we started questioning why it was so warm during our winter, their moods changed. Many of them had heard of global warming (though some of them called it "global warning"), but were not really sure of what it meant. We explored some pictures of the snow melting on Mt. Kilimanjaro, and polar ice caps melting in Antarctica. When they heard how it affected polar bears, they were outraged. When asked what we should do, some of the children's suggestions were to: drive less often, build more sidewalks so we can walk safely instead of driving, make posters, and talk about it with family members.
At PS 58 we will continue to question what is happening to our climate. We are taking daily temperature measurements so we can compare them to past years. We also plan on doing projects in order to inform the PS 58 community about what is going on and what we can do to help. We are working on setting up gardening projects in order to make our school more green. Our goal is to showcase our findings during an Earth Day celebration in April. The only way to evoke change is through inquiry and information. I hope others will join us in our efforts to investigate this issue and to take action!
Posted by PS 58 on January 11, 2007 at 07:35 PM
In the news today
Today as everyday, there were stories about global warming. For example, in the journal USA Today, a NASA scientist reports that global warming could melt ice caps and eliminate half of Earth's species. He says that if international efforts are not launched with the next 10 years, living on the Earth will not be easy by the end of the century. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2007-01-11-hansen-warming_x.htm?POE=TECISVA
I've always thought of Polar Bears or Penguins when I think of Global Warming but I found out that butterflies are among species at risk. Scientists in Britain found that climate change has an impact on butterflies' habitat and many species are on decline.http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,972443,00.html
The only good thing is that all these articles and these studies show that the grown-ups start realizing there is a problem. Some people are talking of organizing a big conference with scientists and presidents of countries of all over the world to discuss the problem. Still I think you can help them become more aware and maybe give them ideas! :-)
Posted by ALF on January 11, 2007 at 03:48 PM
January 10, 2007
Here are some photos that i found on the web.[You can find the first three in context at www.thesahara.net/ global_warming.htm ,netmar.com/~maat/ announce/ann_dryice.htm http://www.ucsusa.org/
The last one is an image from a short animation from Miyazaki, "Hoshi wo Katta Hi" (The Day I Cropped a Star) based on an original story by Naohisa Inoue. It is the story of a boy who lives in the countryside with a mysterious woman. One day he met two strange characters who trade a gem with him. He takes the gem back home, plants it in a pot, and soon a tiny planet emerges. He tends to the planet and, after a few days' time, there are three moons orbiting it and life is springs forth (...) It is a beautiful short movie. Unfortunately, you can only see it at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo
Posted by ALF on January 10, 2007 at 11:12 AM
Welcome to Little Grassroots
Little Grassroots is a blog for children to discuss global warming and express them selves: Little Grassroots is for you.
Saturday it was really warm (21 degrees Celcius, 72 degrees Farenheit), and in Carroll Park here in Brooklyn, there were tons of children playing, running, screaming. It felt like spring (although it was January 6th) and it was nice. In the South of France, for New Year’s Eve, children were wearing their bathing suits and playing on the beach. That was lovely too, but unusual.
There are many other unusual things taking place because of “global warming.” (Global warming means that because of pollution, the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere is increasing.) The world’s glaciers are disappearing more and more quickly, and the ice bank too. For some of us (here in New York, or in France) this means very mild winters with not much snow for playing or skiing. For people in the Southern Hemisphere, like the Australians, it means an extremely hot summer. And for countries near the Equator, it means abnormal rains and floods.
Global warming also puts many animals at risk: polar bears don’t have enough ice to rest on, small animals like wood rats move higher and higher into the mountains looking for cooler temperatures. Lastly, some places, even whole countries might disappear because sea levels will rise! Low-lying areas near the sea will be flooded. They will no longer be land, but part of the ocean.As you can see, global warming is quite serious. If you read the newspapers, you would find stories about global warming and its negative effects nearly every day.Although some adults don’t think that global warming is that serious, others, including many scientists, are very concerned. They are writing papers and books that show that global warming is real, and that we can already see some of the changes it has caused. (For example, go and ask your grandparents, or your parents, how winter was when they were kids and you will hear that it used to be different. If you look at pictures of glaciers 40 years ago and now, you will see that they have shrunk.) That’s why I decided to start this blog, because I thought that children have a right to learn about and discuss this problem. The earth is yours as much as grown-ups’. In fact, it’s even more yours than ours. Your grandparents, your parents might not see all the impact of the changes taking place, but you will surely do. You have the right to say that you would like to keep glaciers around, and prevent some parts of the earth going under water, go under water, while some other parts become deserts. You have the right to say that you want to see polar bears living in the Arctic, rather than only in zoos. This blog is a notebook where you can write your thoughts about global warming and where those thoughts can be read by any one in the world. That will allow you to share your thoughts and your questions with children in other schools, in other countries, on other continents. This blog will also allow adults to know more about your concerns. It begins as a blog for students at PS 58, in Brooklyn, New York, because that’s where my children go to school, but I hope that many other schools will join – from New York City, from the United States, but also from all over the world. I know a school in Singapore that would like to share their thoughts and questions. Children in Singapore don’t really mind the fact that winters don’t feel like winter any more, because they don’t have winter there, it’s always hot and humid. But some scientists say that if continue like this, Singapore will be under water in 10 or 20 years from now. So global warming is an important problem for them too!
What can you do about global warming? There are many things you can do, in science, social studies, writing, or art class: start a campaign, make drawings, design posters, write poems, songs, or pamphlets, maybe write letters to be sent to politicians. That’s up to you and your teachers. But the most important thing is that you start asking questions to help you understand what is going on and why it is happening, and then that you explore ways of changing things. Remember that you have the right to question what is happening to your planet, and that you need to tell grownups that you care about what happens, and that they cannot just mess things up.
You might wonder why this blog is called Little Grassroots. You might think of the grass, of the earth, and that is one way of understanding it. The word grassroots also has a specific meaning: it means ideas and changes that start from the bottom up, not from the top down. Usually, people in charge start projects, make decisions, and tell people what to do. In grassroots movements, it’s ordinary people and kids, not leaders or politicians, or presidents, who start projects and work for change. So little grassroots means that you, even if you are little, even if you aren’t in charge, are important, because you can change what is happening in our world. This blog can be one of the first steps toward changing things, and that matters.
Do you want to know more about global warming? Here are some books and articles you can read:
Start with Earth from above for Young Readers by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. This book will remind you how beautiful the Earth is.
The Lorax by Dr Seuss. Long before we started talking about global warming and environmental issues, Dr Seuss warned us against the effects of industrialization, mindless progress and the danger it posed to our environment. The Lorax who speaks for the trees fights against the greedy Once-ler. "UNLESS someone like you...cares a whole awful lot...nothing is going toget better...It's not." Eventually says the Once-ler at the end when he realized what he did.
An Inconvient Truth, by Al Gore. This is both a book and a documentary about global warming.
Some articles on the internet:

Some websites to check:
A special report on global warming on the website: Time for Kids. It includes references to articles, some thoughts of children, some suggestions on what one can do: http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/specials/articles/0,6709,1113542,00.html
http://epa.gov/climatechange/kids/index.htmlIt offers animations of how Global Warming occurs and how it is linked to the Carbon and Water Cycles
http://education.arm.gov/ This website explains global warming in simple, straightforward language.
http://unfccc.int/cop3/fccc/kids/kids.html This website provides a beginner guide to climate change.
http://edugreen.teri.res.in/ International kids’ site created by The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, India.
Read about the initiative led by senior students at Saugus High, California to educate their peers and their community on climate changehttp://www.pnyv.org/index.php?id=34&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=864&tx_ttnews[backPid]=8&cHash=ad8f5af639
Learn about the ecological footprint as a model to measure the ecological impact of nations and individualshttp://www.pnyv.org/index.php?id=34&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=44&tx_ttnews[backPid]=8&cHash=ca132cb4d3
Read about a project that started in the UK with a similar aim: http://www.coolkidsforacoolclimate.com/home.htm.You will find useful definitions, interesting stories written by children and projects they did.
Posted by ALF on January 10, 2007 at 12:02 AM