Films Champion Inspiring Youth Solutions to Climate Change

“If the adults don’t do enough, we have to do it because we will live on earth for another 80 or 90 years and our children will live even longer.” These are the words of 11-year-old Felix Finkbeiner, who initiated a campaign to plant more than one billion trees around the world to fight global warming. Felix is one of the many young people featured in the Young Voices for the Planet film series, which shows how youth are combating climate change by developing their own successful CO2 reduction projects.

The positive environmental stories in the Young Voices for the Planet films present a stark contrast to the recent grim reports on the worldwide effects of global warming issued by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC states that climate change will adversely affect the environment, increase poverty levels, slow down economic growth, exacerbate health problems, reduce access to food and lead to more violent conflicts. The latest report notes that as greenhouse gas emission levels continue to rise at ever-increasing rates, international cooperation is required in order to mitigate global warming.

The young environmental activists in the Young Voices for the Planet films are not waiting for political leaders to move collectively to reduce global warming. They are busy working on their own solutions to fight climate change. Among the young people featured in the nine films are:

  • Four Miami middle school students who conduct an energy audit and save their school $53,000 in energy bills, while reducing carbon emissions

  • Eleven-year-old Olivia Bouler, who raises $200,000 for bird rescue efforts after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and lobbies her congressmen to support renewable energy

  • Massachusetts high school students who, despite numerous obstacles, shrink the carbon footprint of their cafeteria fare by changing from processed to locally-grown food

The short documentary films are produced by Lynne Cherry, director of the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization Young Voices on Climate Change. Over the past 30 years, during her visits to schools as a children’s book author and illustrator, Cherry realized that messages of gloom and doom elicited reactions of fear, hopelessness and denial. However, true stories about children taking action to protect the environment motivated kids to try to make a difference. Cherry decided to use the power of positive storytelling as an antidote to fear and a catalyst for change.

Worldwide screenings of the Young Voices for the Planet films have sparked action. After watching the films, for example, nine-year-old Alice Van Evera started a club called “Save Tomorrow,” which overturned a ban prohibiting solar panels on town buildings in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Other young people have encouraged their parents to reduce their CO2 emissions, thereby reducing their electric bills at home and work. One girl’s father traded out air conditioners in office buildings he owned for Energy Star units and saved thousands of dollars.

Cherry says, “The logic in taking a positive approach is gaining currency among educators, scientists, organizations, government agencies and institutions that had focused on tactics that alarmed, discouraged and fundamentally turned people off.”


Young Voices on Climate Change has forged partnerships with numerous groups that share the films’ messages through their Web sites and social media sites. The documentaries have been screened throughout the world at film festivals, educational and scientific conferences, schools, climate change workshops and many other venues. Cherry recently co-authored a companion teacher guide, Empowering Young Voices for the Planet, which helps educators teach students the science of climate change by featuring the films’ youth success stories and offering practical tips on how students can develop carbon-reduction emissions projects relevant to their own communities.

Cherry’s current Young Voices for the Planet film is near completion. We Sing Out! features the Rivertown Kids chorus (based in Beacon, New York), singing with folk icon Pete Seeger about their vision of a sustainable world.

As political leaders and policymakers around the world grapple with the severe impacts of global warming, Lynne Cherry hopes that by championing youth solutions to climate change, young people and adults will be inspired to fight global warming in their own towns and cities, thus helping change the course of this looming crisis.

from Green – The Huffington Post

Taking the Long View of the National Mall on Earth Day

Earth Day 2014’s theme, Green Cities, is particularly appropriate as we consider the challenges and opportunities of the iconic landscape that is the centerpiece of our Capital City — the National Mall.

The National Mall is a unique national park — a living memorial to American ideals in the heart of an urban setting, where more than 29 million people from around the world visit each year. That’s more visitors than Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone National Park combined.

When Pierre L’Enfant conceived the Mall in 1791, and when it began to take its current form in the early 1900s with the McMillan Plan, no one could have imagined the volume of visitors or the thousands of rallies, concerts, and events that would take place each year.

The result? The National Mall has been loved to death, and the evidence is all around — the grassy vista stretching from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building has been turned into a dustbowl of dirt and rock solid turf. Sidewalks are cracked and broken. The walkways around the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson and Roosevelt Memorials are slowly sinking. Fish die each August in the Constitution Gardens pond.

So when the National Park Service decided eight years ago to embark on a comprehensive plan for the future of National Mall, it set out to tackle $400 million in much-needed repairs, and took the opportunity to make this urban park more “green” and functional for generations to come. This National Mall Plan, signed into effect in 2010, provides a critical blueprint for a more sustainable and visitor-friendly urban park.

To date, the National Park Service, with the support of the Trust for the National Mall, has repaired the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, preserving approximately 50 million gallons of city drinking water that leaked every year, and replaced the source with water from the nearby Tidal Basin.

Energy-efficient LED lights were installed along pathways from 3rd to 14th Streets, reducing the Mall’s lighting energy use by an estimated 65 percent. And a recycling program supported by The Coca-Cola Company placed over 300 permanent blue recycling bins in high-traffic areas throughout the park, enabling the Park Service to process about 17 tons of recyclable material each month.

The Trust for the National Mall, through a national design competition, has major plans for habitat and soil restoration, low-maintenance landscaping, energy-efficient infrastructure, and water conservation in poorly-functioning areas of the park near Constitution Gardens and the Sylvan Theater. Complete with amenities like a skating rink and an outdoor amphitheater, these areas will highlight how the park can be sustainable, while being enjoyed and stewarded by the visitors it serves.

The project that has done more to “green” the Mall than any other thus far is the ongoing restoration of the park’s rock-hard, compacted grass. It is also the project that is most dependent on a public commitment to sustainability.

The National Park Service sought out turf experts – many from major league sports stadiums — who helped choose durable strains of seed and compaction-resistant soil. The park built a drainage and irrigation system that uses cisterns to capture and hold rain and gray water for watering the grass — making the new lawn green in every sense of the word.

These efforts are just one half of an equation to make the National Mall more sustainable. The other half falls on the millions of visitors, event planners, and protesters to not only enjoy — but to also protect — this national treasure. Leave no trace is an ethos that pervades society’s thinking about the great outdoors, and we need to extend that thinking to urban landscapes like the National Mall.

Taking care of our natural resources, and one as important as the National Mall, requires all of us to come together to preserve it for each other, and future generations to enjoy.

The great news is many visitors are showing the park to be a laboratory of how people and nature can peacefully coexist. At President Obama’s second inauguration, the National Park Service and the inaugural committee put down a layer of permeable plastic widely used in sporting arenas to protect the newly refurbished areas of the National Mall lawn. The intervention protected the grass while inauguration visitors enjoyed the event.

On a smaller scale, the congressional softball teams — several hundred members strong — continue to play their games on the National Mall, yet now they are rotating home plate to minimize wear and tear on the new grass. They are among the newest stewards of a refurbished National Mall.

The National Mall is free and open for all visitors, and it requires a new mindset to make it a sustainable national park that can be affordably preserved for our children and grandchildren. It isn’t just about marble, granite and grass. Ultimately, how we treat the National Mall says a lot about our belief in the most iconic common ground in America, and the values it represents.

from Green – The Huffington Post

Things you didn’t know

When released in 1969 the cover of The Beatles Abbey Road album supposedly contained clues adding to the Paul Is Dead phenomenon: Paul is barefoot and the car number plate LMW 281F supposedly referred to the fact that McCartney would be 28 years old if he was still alive. LMW was said to stand for Linda McCartney Weeps. And the four Beatles, represent; the priest (John, dressed in white), the Undertaker (Ringo in a black suit), the Corpse (Paul, in a suit but barefoot), and the Gravedigger (George, in jeans and a denim work shirt).

from This day in music

A man once rescued a newborn baby from a dumpster only to find out the baby was his!

A man once rescued a newborn baby from a dumpster only to find out the baby was his!

A man who jumped into a dumpster to rescue a newborn that had been discovered by another passerby says he later found out the baby boy was his son!

The man who claims to be the father of the baby said he was unaware his girlfriend was even pregnant.

One hour after the baby was found, a woman was taken to hospital in stable condition by emergency medical services. Police confirmed she’s the mother.

Investigators believe she was not aware of her pregnancy until the birth, and that the father was not aware he had a son until after the incident.

Depending on it’s outcome, she could be charged with attempted murder, failing to provide the necessities of life or child abandonment.


from OMG Facts

Quentin Tarantino Gets Back in the Saddle With ‘Hateful Eight’ Western

In January Quentin Tarantino unleashed a tirade on the movie industry over someone from his inner circle leaking the script for his planned Western The Hateful Eight Now he has decided to resume work on the script though its fate still remains undetermined On Saturday he hosted a stage reading…

from All News
via RollingStone

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