Category Archives: Environmental Education

It’s too darn hot.

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If you have been keeping up with Northern California’s weather, you know we’ve been in a heatwave lately, and it is expected to last for several more days. This heat is cause for concern, not only from an environmental perspective, but also from a food security and health perspective.

The massive winter storms which coated towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range after years of drought  is now melting too fast. That means waterways could flood and damage the vital crops in the Central Valley.  Find out more about this through our project, Maven’s Notebook.

The heat can be dangerous in other ways too. Young children, elderly people, pregnant women, people with disabilities and animals are especially vulnerable to the heat.

Here are some tips to beat the heat:

  • Get wet. Hang a wet sheet over a window, which is what the rangers do at Death Valley National Park. Incoming breezes are cooled by the evaporating water.
  • Block sun. Closing curtains and blinds (ideally with sun-deflecting white on the window side) can reduce the amount of heat that passes into your home by as much as 45 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Eat cold. Although barbecue is ubiquitous with  warmer temperatures, it works against you on hotter days.  When it’s too hot to cook, consider cold soups or rely on electrical appliances instead of those cooking methods that generate more heat.
  • Swig it. Staying hydrated is important. You can think beyond water to other foods that will keep you in the cool, including watermelon, peaches, celery, and cucumbers.

The outdoors awaits

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Over the course of more than 150 years, a once-radical idea has evolved into a cohesive United States national parks system, with a sometimes conflicting two part-mission: to make the parks accessible to all and to preserve them for future generations.

North and south, east and west, they stretch from the edges of our maps to the hearts of our cities, covering nearly one-third of the country. This June, celebrate the natural wonder and outdoor spirit of America by getting outside during Great Outdoors Month.

June is a special time to celebrate America’s great outdoors and all the benefits it brings, including annual economic impact of $650 billion nationwide. That’s why June has been named Great Outdoors Month.

Whether camping, fishing, rock climbing, or playing in a neighborhood park, nature offers each of us the opportunity to get active, explore, and strengthen our bonds with family and friends.  It’s also a time great to uphold our nation’s legacy of conserving our lands for future generations.

So as you enjoy the great outdoors, think also about how you can better support it.

I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike.

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The Queen song aside, now is a great time to start riding your bike to work or school, especially since this week is Bike to Work Week.

Biking to work is an efficient and fun way to get the exercise you need, without having to find extra time to work out. And this year, with gasoline prices as high as they are, biking to work makes more sense than ever.

Then there is the issue of the carbon footprint.  The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy concluded bicycling could help cut carbon emissions from urban transportation 11 percent.

That’s where our project Menlo Spark comes in. They have been working with the community in Menlo Park to develop a special bike path for commuters. Check out what else they are doing at http://menlospark.org/

Are you all wet? Take our wetlands quiz.

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Like our own kidneys that help purify our blood, wetlands are the ‘kidneys’ of our landscape. They remove excess nutrients, toxic substances and sediment from water that flows through them, helping to improve downstream water quality and the overall health of the waters throughout the world. They also protect against flooding, provide recreational opportunities and serve as important habitat for many wildlife species.

During American Wetlands Month, we wanted to see how well you know this vital environmental resource. Take our quiz to find out.

Wetlands Quiz

How much do you know about our wetlands?

Happy Audubon Day

April 26th is the anniversary of the birth of John James Audubon (1785), an American ornithologist (one that studies birds), naturalist, and painter.  He conducted his first scientific studies from his father’s Pennsylvania estate. After trying and failing in several different types of business ventures, he concentrated on drawing and studying birds, and began traveling around the country to pursue this work.

His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed.

He is remembered as one of the most important naturalists of his era, and his respect and concern for the natural world clearly marks him as one of the forefathers of the modern conservationism and environmentalism movements. In 1886, the first bird-preservation society, the National Audubon Society, was named in his honor. Countless wildlife sanctuaries, parks, streets and towns also bear his name and honor his legacy.

And here at T4CI, we think this quote from Audubon has the deepest meaning:

 

Education is part of what we do!

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This week is National Environmental Education Week. Held each spring around the time of Earth Day, National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) promotes the understanding and protection of the natural world by actively engaging K-12 students and educators, and people of all ages in an inspired week of environmental learning and service.

At T4CI, our projects take education very seriously as part of their mission.   Here’s a sample of what some have been up to:

Building Codes Assistance Project:  We are educating/inspiring architects and engineers in 22 cities on how to incorporate solar photovoltaics into their building plan projects, to increase use of solar energy and reduce demand for fossil fuels.

Sane Energy Project:  One of our campaigns is WinWindNY. We have secured a commitment from our Governor to purchase offshore wind off the coast of NYC. Our work right now is to let the public know offshore wind is going to happen and how they can participate in the process in its development.

SOUL:  We’re hosting a 10-hour educational series about the urban forest and its potential to mitigate decrease flooding, subsidence, air, water and soil pollution, the urban heat island effect, and improve community health.

Would you like to help our projects education the world? Please consider a donation to one of our projects at: http://t4ci.org/sponsored/

 

How to teach kids to care for the planet, Earth Day and everyday!

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At T4CI, we celebrate Earth Day everyday, and we hope you do too.  Often, however, the question arises, “How do we teach our children about how to take care of the earth? After all, it is their responsibility too.”

We put together a few tips to help.  Check ’em out. (And remember to share, too!)

What’s your favorite wildlife film?

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Grab some popcorn, because it’s time for T4CI’s top film picks during International Wildlife Film Week.

We all have our favorites and it’s interesting to see how diverse the selection is.

Take a look, and let us know what your favorite wildlife move is by sharing it in the comments.

Carolyn:  March of the Penguins

Kristin: Planet Earth

Kvetka: The Edge

Laura: The Bear

Jessica: The Fight for Survival

Shannon: Out of Africa

Tenzin:  Gorillas in the Mist

New positions available at two of T4CI’s projects

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Two of our projects are looking to hire!  Are you a fit for one of these new careers?

CHANGE director – Californians for a Healthy & Green Economy (CHANGE) is looking for a new director, who will advance the production of safe, affordable, and accessible alternatives to toxic chemicals, spurring economic growth in vulnerable communities and creating a healthy, green, sustainable economy for all.  The job announcement and details is here.

WaterNow Alliance director of team operations –  WaterNow Alliance (WNA) is a network of water utility leaders dedicated to expanding sustainable water solutions in their communities. The Alliance focuses on innovative strategies to accelerate adoption of reuse and efficiency technologies, green infrastructure, watershed health, stormwater recapture and groundwater management. Reporting to Executive Director (ED), the Director of Team Operations will serve as a key leadership team member and an active participant in strategic planning, mission execution and fundraising The job announcement and details is here.