Label: Earth Day 2011

April 30, 2011

I am so proud of all of you who wrote to me in response to Earth Day! Today, the last day of April, we posted almost 300 promises that you have made to Earth Day’s BILLION ACTS OF GREEN website. Seymour Science readers have really stepped up to make a difference! I feel sure that you will all work hard to continue caring for our planet Earth every day.

As promised, we are publishing everyone’s writing about why they care about Earth Day. This list is alphabetical, so find your name and show your writing to your families, your teachers, your librarians and your friends. You are part of an important cause, and each of you deserves to be very proud of what you’ve done. 


 

       

Alana:   

Dear Mr. Simon, My carbon footprint was very surprising to me. To know how large of a footprint I am leaving is mind blowing. My carbon foot is 19.9. I have a fairly large family. I have 5 people in my family. To reduce my carbon footprint I could turn off the T.V. when I am not watching it. Also, I could reduce the amount of time I use the T.V. Another thing I could do is buy a reusable water bottle. I could also eat less fast food.  Sincerely, Alana

 

 

 

Alana B.:           

  I am going to celebrate Earth month 2011 by doing many good things for the Earth. A few things that I will do is cleaning up the nearby creeks and roads. Also, I will make the people that surround me aware of the Earth and how much we need to help it.

 

 

Alex:           

I love trees and that’s why I don’t waste paper so I recycle and encourage others to care about are world like a mother would care for her newborn. We can all do this together so join me!

 

 

Alyssa:                       

  Hey Seymour Simon!  Our class is recycling all of our paper to help the environment!!!!!!!! Our class is going green!!!!!

 

 

 

 

Amanda:

  I am going to help my neighbors recycle (pick up) stray trash on the streets and our community!  Earth Day is everyday! ALWAYS RECYCLE!

 

 

 

Amber:                       

  Me and my mom grow our own food like fruits and vegetables. Maybe I could start a garden at my dad’s too and that is how I will help the earth.

 

 

Amelia P.:           

  Hey Seymour Simon! Our class (Ms.Wolf’s class.) is going green! We are recycling all of our old papers! Your butterfly garden is really cool!

 

 

Andrew H.:           

  Dear Seymour Simon, 
My name is Andrew and I am a student at Churchville Elementary. My carbon footprint was 16.25. I am not too proud about that so I’ve been trying to lessen that score by walking more to "baseball practice" or my friend’s house. I also am only washing my clothes when I need to. My new wash day is Friday instead of ever other day. I also bought an aluminum bottle for water. I thank you for this opportunity to write back to you. Sincerely, Andrew

Andy:

  My Earth Day Pledge is that I will never ever litter,

and not use too much electricity. 

 

 

Andy:

  Here’s my idea to save the earth: when you’re done with electric appliances, turn...read more

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Kids Write, Conservation, Earth Day 2011, Environment   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 28, 2011

As part of our month-long Earth Day celebration, we are introducing a new weekly treat on SeymourSimon.com. Regular users know that every Tuesday brings a new "Cool Photo of the Week." And, every Friday the website is updated with a new Silly Animal Joke or Riddle.

And now we have a new special feature. Welcome to Stupendous Video Thursday!  We start with this clip of two young polar bears play-fighting. I think you will agree that this is an absolutely stupendous piece of video.

Female polar bears give birth to two cubs, who stay with their mother for about a year-and-a-half, learning to hunt and live on their own. These young animals like to play-fight, baring their teeth and biting their brothers and sisters. That’s how the cub develops the physical skills it needs for moving, jumping and hunting. Even if this fight looks fierce, it’s just a game for them.

 

Speaking of Silly Animal Jokes and Riddles, I have a polar bear joke.

Question: What do you call an angry Polar Bear ?

Answer: You don’t call him anything, you just run.


 

What are you doing this Earth Month to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on "Comments," at the bottom of any Earth Day story, and tell me how you are making a difference. We will continue to accept your ideas through Thursday, April 28. Then, on Friday 4/29, we will publish all your comments in one big article, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Video, Earth Day 2011   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 27, 2011

Part of celebrating the Earth this month is recognizing its awesome power. I have written many books about natural events like tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, and many other natural occurrences that we humans classify as "disasters" for ourselves. 

A reader named Emily A. wrote last week to ask what the record is for the longest earthquake. I responded by asking her to do some research and tell us what she found out (once a teacher, always a teacher, I guess).

Emily came back with the correct answer.

Location:                    Sumatra
Date:                          December 26, 2004
Size:                          9.1-9.3
How long it lasted:      10 minutes

  This is the longest (and third strongest) earthquake that was ever recorded on a seismograph.

It was an undersea earthquake that is also known as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Like the one that happened recently in Japan, it set off a series of devastating tsunamis up to 100 feet (30 meters) high all along the coast of the Indian Ocean, killing more than 225,000 people in eleven countries. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand were hardest hit. The Sumatra Earthquake happened along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where 81% of the world’s earthquakes occur. This famous photograph is of the tsunami striking Ao Nang, Thailand.

It is difficult to measure exactly how long an earthquake lasts, because the tremors start gradually and when the big shaking stops, the actual tremor is still dying down. But, scientists think this lasted anywhere from 8½ to 10 minutes, which is very long. As a comparison, the big Northridge Earthquake that occurred in California in 1994 lasted just 15 seconds.

The Sumatra Earthquake was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history.
With a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3, it is the second largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. 

Here is an interesting photograph, to show just how much the earth shifted during this massive quake. Some islands (like the one pictured here) grew as they were lifted above the water line, while others tipped over and partially submerged as they dropped back into the water. This island doubled in size during the quake. The land surrounding the green area was all underwater before the earthquake happened.

If you are interested in learning more about this record-breaking earthquake, Cal Tech has a website with more information, animations and graphics to explain what happened when this massive earthquake tore the earth apart across a fault break that was longer than the entire state of California.

 

Tsunami Photograph: David Rydevik

Island Photograph: Kerry Sieh, TO


 

What are you doing this Earth Month to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on "Comments," at the bottom of any Earth Day story, and tell me how you are making a difference. We will continue to accept your ideas through Thursday, April 28. Then, on Friday 4/29, we will publish all your comments in one big article, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.



 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Earthquakes, Kids Write, Earth Day 2011, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 26, 2011

This photograph, taken in the wild at night, is of a Yellow Cricket Tree Frog (Dendropsophus microcephalus) in the middle of his mating call. 

These tiny frogs can be found throughout most of Central America, and some South American countries. It lives on the edges of the rainforest, mostly in marshy areas, ponds, and other pools of water.

This species of frog experiences metachrosis (meh-tah-CROW-sis, which means "color change"). During the night, its back is a light yellow color with various brown or tan markings. During the day, it darkens to a light brown with darker brown or red markings. We can tell that this is a photograph of a breeding male, because of his yellow vocal sac (the balloon-like bulge under his chin).

During the mating season, the male frogs gather in large groups of thousands of frogs around the breeding areas and call out from grasses at the edge of water. When they really get going, humans sometimes think the quick "creek-eek-eek-eek" call is being made by crickets. These frogs work hard when they are looking for a mate, producing between 200 to 380 notes per minute at their peak! Even though there are thousands of them making so many short noises, scientists have found that each male is careful to avoid having his calls overlap with others, because he wants to stand out from the other males in the group.

If you want to hear the sound of the calls of the yellow tree frog (and other frogs at well), click on this link. There are seven different frog calls captured in this video, which is a little dark because it was shot in the wild, at night. This frog is the last one on the clip (about 2½ minutes in).

Photo: Brian Gratwicke

Video: Nick Sly 


  What are you doing this Earth Month to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on "Comments," at the bottom of any Earth Day story, and tell me how you are making a difference. We will continue to accept your ideas through Thursday, April 28. Then, on Friday 4/29, we will publish all your comments in one big article, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Cool Photo, Video, Earth Day 2011   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 25, 2011

I am so pleased at the great ideas coming from our readers, about what you all can do to help care for our planet Earth. Here are two great comments which came in over the weekend: 

 I Have Made a song for you ...

Earth day oh Earth day ... I love so much earth day I wish earth day was every day….. I will always remember my fragile earth day oh oh oh oh oh                                        

 -   Saim

 

Happy Earth day! Speaking of Earth, I made a little replica of Earth along with other planets. I have been reading your Solar System books, and it is amazing how tiny Earth is [compared to] all of the other planets!          

-   Ashley

(pictured here: Jacob, Alex, Ashley C.) 

 

    

What are you doing this Earth Month to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on "Comments," at the bottom of this story, and tell me how you are making a difference. We will continue to accept your ideas through Thursday, April 28. Then, on Friday 4/29, we will publish all your comments in one big article, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same. Stand up and be counted!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(64) Comments  •   Labels: Earth Day 2011   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 22, 2011

 

 

Last year was the 40th anniversary of the founding of Earth Day. Many special events happened on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and Seymour Simon was invited to speak to the crowd about what was then his new book, GLOBAL WARMING. The speech is a classic statement of his beliefs about teaching, and our roles, both collectively and individually, as shipmates on planet Earth. We are reprinting it here today as part of our Earth Day commemoration. If it moves you, please click the yellow "Share/Send page" button at the top of this page.


There is a Native American proverb that powers and informs the reasons and ideals of our approach to the problems of climate change and global warming. The proverb is one you may have seen before:

 

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents;

it was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors;

we borrow it from our Children.

 

I was a teacher in the New York City School System for nearly 25 years. I’ve written over 250 books for children about animals and the wonders of Earth and Space. Each year, I speak to thousands and thousands of children in schools in all parts of the country, in the South to the North, from East to West. I tell them about butterflies and polar bears, I talk to them about lightning and tornadoes; I take them on a journey from Earth to the ends of the universe using the words and images in my books. I’ve written books about nearly every science and nature subject you can imagine.

The Earth is so big and the subject is so vast, that you might think that kids get overwhelmed. "What does all this mean to me?" you might think that they respond. Well, you might be surprised at what they really do say. Here’s what many of them ask me: "Where do I fit in? What’s my place in the universe? What is it all about? And what about me?"

That’s what inspired me to write my book GLOBAL WARMING. This is a book for kids and their families. It tells what’s happening in the world of climate change and it tells how those changes affect all of us. Then the book tells what kids and their families might do to make changes in their own and their family’s lives that affect everybody on Earth.

Knowledge empowers people with our most powerful tool: The ability to think and decide. There is no power for change greater than a child discovering what he or she cares about.

Seymour Simon

April 22, 2010 / Washington, DC 


What are you doing this Earth Month to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on "Comments," at the bottom of this story, and tell me what you are doing. We will continue to accept your ideas through Thursday, April 28. Then, on Friday 4/29, we will publish all your comments in one big article, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(13) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Teachers and Librarians, Seymour Simon, Earth Day 2011, Earth   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day to all my readers! Thank you to all who have written in to tell everyone what they are doing to help our environment. Your stories show that you know this is important, and that you are willing to do your part. 

Take a moment today to enjoy the beauty of our Earth. Listen to the birds chrirping to each other overhead, marvel at all the trees leafing in the warmth of spring, look at the stars and drink in the cool, evening air. As far as we know, we are the only planet with life. Our planet is the home of billions upon billions of living things. We are the Planet of Life. Let’s celebrate our Planet; Let’s celebrate Earth Day.  

Since many schools have been on spring vacation this week, we are going to continue to collect your writing for another week. Please click on the "comments" link at the bottom of any Earth Day story, and tell us how you are going to make a difference…..not just today, but every day. Then, next Friday, April 29, we are going to publish a special article here on the Seymour Science blog, with all of your Earth Day promises. So write in by clicking "comments" as soon as you can, and be included in our big list of Earth Day promises, for all the world to see!

Welcome aboard. I am proud to have you all as shipmates on our planet, Earth.

- Seymour Simon 

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(14) Comments  •   Labels: Kids Write, Earth Day 2011   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 22, 2011

 

Kidsmomo, the great book blog for middle schoolers, has done a terrific interview with Seymour Simon for Earth Day. Click here to check it out - you’ll find answers to questions that Seymour has not answered before, and it’s also very funny!

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Seymour Simon, Earth Day 2011   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 21, 2011

Earlier this week we wrote about the first Earth Day, 41 years ago. Today, we’re looking at what scientists and other planners imagine our world will be like forty-one years in the future.

By the year 2050, it is estimated that the world’s population will increase by about 3 billion people, and nearly 80% of us will live in cities. Think about all the greenhouse gases we would generate trucking in enough food to feed all these people. And, if we tried to grow enough food to feed everyone using the same farming techniques that we use today, we would need to find new farmland covering an area as large as the size of the United States! Since we are already using almost all of the land that is suitable for farming, we need to invent new ways to produce food.

 

 

Some people think that vertical farming - bringing the farm to the city, and finding the space to do it by expanding upward - is the answer. In fact, people already practice vertical farming in their own, small city gardens. Can you imagine what it would be like if you tried it on a very big scale, and built a skyscraper that was basically a farm?

Photo Credit: Blaine O’Neill 

I first heard about vertical farming when I saw Dr. Dickson Despommier being interviewed on The Colbert Report. Dr. Despommier, of Columbia University, believes that we can grow food-including fish and poultry-in urban buildings as tall as 30 stories and covering a city block.

This drawing, from his website, shows a farm which grows plants without soil, either hydroponically (in a liquid) or aeroponically (in the air). This would reduce water use, since all the water used to grow the food would be recycled and used again, and greatly reduce the cost of transporting food to all these people who live in cities. The benefits, as he sees them, are:

1. Year-round, indoor farming produces 4-6 times more food
2. Everything grown is organic (no chemical pesticides)
3. Big reduction in use of fossil fuel use (less trucking of food to distant locations)
4. Less water consumption - a vertical farm recycles the water it uses
5. Avoids weather-related crop failures, a cause of famine and starvation

Although no one has built one of these "skyscraper farms" yet, lots of architects are thinking about it, and they are drawing their ideas.

This design was created by a company called Work AC. "We are interested in urban farming and the notion of trying to make our cities more sustainable by cutting the miles that food travels," one of the designers told New York Magazine. In their design, the space underneath the farm is intended to be a farmer’s market, where urban residents could come to buy their food.

Who knows? Maybe by the time Earth Day 2051 comes around, people will be so used to the idea of vertical farms that they won’t even remember how we used to do it.

What else do you imagine we might be doing differently 40 years from now, as we learn to take better care of our planet home?

 

 


What are you doing this Earth Week to contribute to the Billion Acts of Green? Click on "Comments," at the bottom of this story, and tell us how you are celebrating Earth Day 2011. We will publish all your comments in one big article, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(7) Comments  •   Labels: Conservation, Earth Day 2011   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 20, 2011

1. WATER: USE IT, DON’T ABUSE IT.

a)   I don’t buy water in plastic bottles. Water from the tap is just fine, and I don’t want to put more non-biodegradable plastic into landfills.

b)   I turn off the water until after I’ve finished brushing my teeth, and wash all the dishes in one sinkful of soapy water, rather than running water the whole time I’m washing the dishes.

c)   I have cut my soda consumption down by more than half. I like water better, anyway.

 

2. ELECTRICITY: BEING SMART ABOUT THE POWER THAT I USE.

a) I have replaced all the incandescent bulbs in my house with compact fluorescent bulbs.

b) We are using less energy by keeping our house two degrees warmer in the summer and two degrees cooler in the winter.

c) I unplug appliances when they are not in use for long periods of time. If they’re plugged and even when they are not turned on, they still consume electricity.

 

3. TRANSPORTATION: CONSERVING ON THE ROAD.

a) I walk or bike rather than be driven whenever I can, and try to combine errands into one trip.

b) I am writing to my local government to ask them to design car-free zones and parks that would let people get places by walking, cycling, or driving those cute, tiny electric vehicles.

c) Next time my family buys a car, we want to pick a model that gets good gas mileage, and therefore uses less fuel.

 

4. FOOD: THINKING ABOUT THE COST OF WHAT I EAT

a) I don’t like vegetables, so I just don’t eat any. You’re not responsible for greenhouse gases generated by growing food that you don’t eat!

b) I only buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season so they are not flown in from tropical climates. And I try to buy produce that is grown locally, which further reduces the carbon footprint.

c) Our family has "meatless Monday" every week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWERS

1.   While all these things help, "c" is the best answer. The main ingredient of soft drinks is water - so the big soda companies use massive amounts of water on a global basis. And, cutting down on soda consumption is good for your body, too!

 

2.   "b" is the best answer. Electric power generation is a big source of greenhouse gases - the average home contributes more to global warming than the average car. The worst appliances are air conditioners, which use up to 1/6th of the electricity in the U.S.

 

3.   All good answers, but "c" is the most important thing all Americans can do. By using existing technology to produce vehicles that go farther on a gallon of gas and emit less carbon dioxide pollution, Americans can save billions of dollars, reduce global warming pollution, and slash our dependence on oil.

 

4.   You may be surprised to learn that the most effective choice is "c". Raising animals for food generates more emissions than all of the world’s transportation combined. And for all of you who answered "a"....eat your vegetables, they’re good for you!

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Global Warming, Conservation, Carbon Footprint, Earth Day 2011   •  Permalink (link to this article)

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