To calculate your school ecological footprint: http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/sustainabledevelopment/findresources/globalfootpr
An easy and fast quizz to calculate your ecological footprint at: http://www.myfootprint.org/
http://edugreen.teri.res.in/ International kids’ site created by The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, India.
http://unfccc.int/cop3/fccc/kids/kids.html This website provides a beginner guide to climate change.
http://education.arm.gov/ This website explains global warming in simple, straightforward language.
animations of how Global Warming occurs and how it is linked to the Carbon and Water Cycles: http://epa.gov/climatechange/kids/index.html
References and suggestions on what one can do: http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/specials/articles/0,6709,1113542,00.html
Earth from above for Young Readers by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
FInd out how green you are at www.scholastic.com/downtoearth/quiz/howgreenareyou
Let the Green Squad take you on a tour through their environmentally friendly school:www.nrdc.org/greensquad
Climate change for kids shows kid friendly graphics and explanations of global warming: www.epa.gov/climatechange/kids
Dear Children Of The Earth by Schim Schimmel
The Garbage Monster by Joni Sensel, Christopher L. Bibins (Illustrator), Christopher Bivins (Illustrator), Chris Bivins
Recycle! : A Handbook for Kids by Gail Gibbons
Earth Book for Kids: Activities to Help Heal the Environment by Linda Schwartz
Where Does the Garbage Go? By Paul Showers
The Lorax by Dr. Suess
50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Saver the Earth by the Earth Works Group
Oil Spill! By Melvin Berger
Why this blog?
This blog is a space I’m opening to kids to start discussing global warming, because this world is their world, they will be the ones living on earth tomorrow and they have the right to see glaciers, to know what winter means. They have the right to say what they think, to share their thoughts and hopefully find ways to influence adults and governments. So it’s their blog, and not my blog.
Of course, like most of you, I have been hearing about global warming for several years, but like many people I shrugged and smiled. “Yes maybe”, was what I was thinking. But today things are changing, faster and faster.
Saturday here in Brooklyn, NY, it was 22 degrees Celsius (71 Fahrenheit), and it was January 6th. For New Year’s Eve, in the South of France, kids were in bathing suits playing in the sand! And everyday in the Newspapers there is a new article: polar ice caps are melting faster than ever, mid-December, icebergs were spotted floating near the coasts of New Zealand, but unfortunately it was described mostly as a cause of wonder -how cool!, and tourists paid several hundreds of dollar to fly over the flotilla of icebergs to admire this wonder of nature! Arctic ice could melt clean away during summer by 2040, say some scientists. Don’t misunderstand me, it is not that I love winter and cold. I personally love tropical weather. Still, it does not mean that the whole planet should become hot and humid. I am also thinking of all the fauna, which is dying, or at risk. In Alaska, salmon populations are in danger because of the mud poured into rivers by the melting. Small animals such as bushy-tailed wood rats or alpine chipmunks are being chased upslope by rising temperatures And with sea ice vanishing, polar bears are starting to turn up drowned. This clearly sounds like a tipping point and we should start seriously worrying.
This all started because of my son, who lived his early childhood in Singapore, and feels it is home. A few weeks ago when he heard that if things continue as they are, Singapore might be under water in 10 years or so from now because of global warming, he was desperate. He started making posters: save Singapore, stop polluting to prevent global warming… if not Singapore will be under water! He made me think. He reminded me the time I believed I could change the world. But I once thought that it was useless to try to change things, because whatever I would do would only be a drop in the ocean. I felt it was useless and so I stopped. I kept thinking, but did not do more than discussing the issues that bothered me with my friends in cafes or during dinners.
Listening to my son, I felt ashamed. I decided we needed to do something – even a little something. We could not just say that it was useless and leave our destiny in the hands of politics, industrials, businessmen, lobbies, who (often) did not care. I thought of all the efforts for saving children from death and AIDs, but as one of my friends told me: it’s important to do that, but if that continues, the world will fall apart before they even die of AIDs. I decided that we need to do something, and I realized that children were maybe the only ones who could make adults aware of the issue.
At one point, a little voice in the back of my mind, told me: what’s the point? It’s useless. But this time I did not listen. I thought of my son, I thought of the questions that kids in PS58 in Brooklyn (my children’s school) started asking because they realized something is wrong, that it’s not normal to not have snow and cold weather in winter as it used to be in your parents’ or grandparents’ childhood, and I decided that they had the right to at least ask questions, raise issues. Some might say this is only science fiction, and we should not worry. Maybe, but at least, it’s worth looking into it.
That’s what this blog is about. It’s a space to think, discuss what is going on, try to understand why and explore how we could change things. Children might want to start a campaign, design posters, make drawings, write pamphlets, poems, songs, make videos, even write petitions to send them to governmental agencies, in order to tell the words that things are serious. All this would be great, but most of all, what matters it is to start questioning things, exchanging ideas, thinking – in their class, in their school, in their neighborhood, but also with children from other parts of the country, from other parts of the world. Writing about the world is already acting on it. It’s providing your own perspective on the world, and when you “publish” your writing, you start modifying the world. That’s what children can do by talking with their friends and teachers, and posting their thoughts, questions, suggestions, on this blog.
This is a truly multidisciplinary project: it involves science of course, but also social studies (discussing the impact of global warming on our communities, and other communities; exploring what it means to be a citizen, what is the free right of expression), writing (pamphlets, poems, and songs), and arts (making posters, illustrations, videos, writing the music for their songs, etc.).
It will start with the kids of PS 58. Children from Kindercorner in Singapore will also be involved. If they are not worried about winter disappearing (they don’t know winter!), they are worried about the carbon-rich haze caused by illegal fires in Indonesia’s vast tropical lands, that not only make them live for several months in a smoggy haze, but which also may fuel global warming according to experts. They also know that if some of the predictions are true, the rise in sea level, which risks flooding in costal areas, might mean the flooding of their country!
These two schools, one in New York, one in Singapore, are the starting point, but this blog is open to children from all schools, from all countries, and I hope that many other schools will join in the discussion. (I know that some schools in Australia, Scotland and France might participate.) In the future, there will also be a website with more resources and where works done by the children in different schools can be posted.