Label: Earth Day 2011

April 20, 2011

I received a letter yesterday from Ashley C, who is ten years old. She wrote:

"For my project for Earth Day, I’m going to go around my

park and pick up trash. Also, I’m going to go around the house in the

morning, afternoon, and at night and look at the faucets and turn off all of the dripping water.

 

Do you think that would be good?" 

  Checking for dripping faucets (and fixing them) is a very good idea. You can actually calculate (not exactly, but roughly) how much water a dripping faucet wastes with this simple calculator created by the US Geological Survey.

I used their calculator to estimate what would happen if your home had 3 faucets dripping every 3 seconds. That would be 86,400 drips every day, which comes to about 5 gallons of water wasted every day. And if you waste 5 gallons a day, that is almost 2,000 gallons a year!

 

Click here to read other stories that I have written about the importance of conserving water. While it’s true that our planet Earth looks like a big blue ball because 75% of it is covered by water, a lot of that water is not usable in that form, either because it is salt water (in the oceans) or because it is frozen (in glaciers and the polar icecaps).  Water, which all life needs to survive, is a limited resource that we must conserve and protect.

 


What are you doing this Earth Week 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 publish all your comments in one big article at the end of Earth Week, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

April 19, 2011

        My wife, Liz, and I have been making our own list of Earth Day pledges this week. No matter how much you love our planet Earth - and we certainly do - you can always do a little bit better. Here is what we have decided to do this year:

 

1.    We are going to plant a few trees when it gets a little warmer this spring. Did you know that a single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime? Planting trees is an effective, important way to help the environment by reducing the greenhouse effect and combating global warming.

2.    We have also decided to observe Meatless Mondays in our house. This will reduce our carbon footprint because the raising of livestock generates a significant amount of greenhouse gases. Liz posted some great "meatless Monday" recipes on the website this week, for families who would like to try this, too. I can testify to how delicious they are!

3.    We will keep trying to use less water, running the dishwasher only when it’s full, doing laundry in cold water only when we have a full load, and (this is the hardest part) taking shorter showers (but not with cold water, some things are just too difficult). 

4.    And (Liz is particularly excited about this), we are building a butterfly garden, to provide a habitat for these beautiful creatures! 

I am too, because my new book BUTTERFLIES is coming out soon. I’m constantly trying to photograph butterflies and I hope our new garden will attract many different kinds of these beautiful flyers.

On the left is a photograph of the spot, currently overgrown, that we are going to clean out and plant. We will post more photos over the spring and summer, as our butterfly habitat comes to life. 

I would like to hear from all you readers of my Seymour Science blog about what you are doing to reduce their impact on Earth’s resources. A big group of you contributed to Friday’s story, telling us what you are doing to reduce your carbon footprints. Your commitment to our planet Earth and your promises are inspiring!

Now, how about Humble, Texas students? We spent time together in January, and I KNOW that you all care about the environment! Click on "Comments," at the bottom of this story, and tell me what you are going to do, not only in honor of Earth Day, but ongoing.  We will publish all your comments in one big article at the end of Earth Week, to recognize your efforts and inspire other readers to do the same.

 

Do you need some help to get you started? Some ideas about what you can do to help our environment? Some of my earlier articles, like this story on Global Warming, or another one called "Earth by the Numbers" both have lots of simple ideas for things you can do to make our planet home a greener place.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(16) Comments  •   Labels: Teachers and Librarians, Kids comments, Earth Day 2011, Gardening   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 19, 2011

        Today’s "Cool photo of the Week" is from the very first Earth Day, April 22, 1970. Forty years ago we didn’t have the kind of environmental protection laws that we have today. One of my favorite writers, Rachel Carson, had just published a book called SILENT SPRINGIn it she warned that an artificial pesticide called DDT, which was in wide use at the time, could cause human sickness and major ecological damage. Imagine a time when major bodies of water were too polluted to support aquatic life, and Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River was so polluted with oil and toxic chemicals that it burst into flames by spontaneous combustion! That was the scene when Earth Day was first established 41 years ago by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson.

 

College students, in particular, rose to the call, and turned out in the millions to demonstrate in support of new environmental protections on that first Earth Day. In New York City, a Pace University student named Peter Hallerman grabbed an old gas mask (his mother had been a nurse in World War II), and took it with him to the demonstration. A photographer snapped this picture, and it has become a world famous symbol of Earth Day through the years.

 When I began writing books, Rachel Carson was the writer who most influenced me. I remember reading her wonderful book THE SEA AROUND US and thinking that I would love to write books about nature and science with the same sense of awe and admiration that she showed in her writings. Rachel Carson inspired me to write when I began and still inspires me to this day. What better time to celebrate her books than now on Earth Day! 

 Photo: ucsb.edu


           

What are you doing this Earth Week 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 publish all your comments in one big article at the end of Earth Week, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

April 18, 2011

This story is part of our ongoing Earth Week coverage.

  Today is Monday, and making a habit of "Meatless Mondays" is one thing that you can do to reduce your carbon footprint (which means to use fewer resources, create less waste, and generate fewer greenhouse gases). Do you remember our recent, very popular blog entry about Burping Cows? (how could you forget that picture?!).

 

Raising livestock to produce meat and dairy products creates 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions - more than planes, trains and automobiles combined. So some families have started practicing "Meatless Mondays." They commit to one day each week when they will not eat meat…..which helps to reduce their carbon footprint.

One of the hardest things about getting started on Meatless Mondays is that many people don’t have interesting, satisfying vegetarian recipes on hand….and you can only serve fish sticks so many Mondays in a row before your family gives up!

So, I am going to share a delicious, easy, meatless recipe. And, there are seven more equally tasty recipes available for you right here on SeymourSimon.com, in the Educators & Families section. Click on Teacher Guides, Extra Resources to find a whole page of Meatless Monday recipes that you can download and make for your family. Saving the Earth and tasting good, too - that’s hard to beat!

  ONE POT CANNELLINI FLORENTINE

(Serves: 6)

 

 

Ingredients:

1 can (15 oz) Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) Light Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) Dark Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 package baby spinach (fresh or frozen)

24 oz. vegetable broth

½ c. sun dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips

1 tsp. dried basil

crushed red pepper flakes

shredded Parmesan cheese

Can of Crispy French-fried onions

Directions:

1.    In large stockpot over high heat, cook garlic and onion in olive oil, sauté until brown.

2.    Mix in spinach, sauté 2 minutes.

3.     Add beans, broth and spices, simmer 30 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste.

4.    While pot is simmering, make enough rice for your family.

5.    Serve over rice, top with cheese and fried onions.  

 

That’s it. Quick, easy, and delicious, too. Happy eating, Earthlings! 


           

What are you doing this Earth Week to contribute to the global effort to pledge a Billion Acts of Green? Click on “Comments,” at the bottom of this story, and tell us what you are doing. We will publish all your comments in one big article at the end of Earth Week, to honor each writer’s promise to protect our planet, and inspire other readers to do the same.

 

 

 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Earth Day 2011, Carbon Footprint, Greenhouse Gases, Recipes   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 17, 2011

The theme for Earth Day 2011 is "A Billion Acts of Green." People from all over our planet are making promises to change their habits or try new activities that will help to "green" our planet by limiting the amount of energy they use, decreasing the amount of waste they produce, and protecting and creating habitats for other living creatures.

I would like the readers of my Seymour Science blog to tell me what they are doing to reduce their impact on Earth’s resources. A big group of you contributed to Friday’s story, telling us what you are doing to reduce your carbon footprints. Your commitment to our planet Earth and your promises are inspiring!

Now, I’d like to hear from the rest of you. Click on "Comments," at the bottom of this story, and tell me what you are going to do, not only in honor of Earth Day, but ongoing.  We will publish all your comments in one big article at the end of Earth Week, to recognize your efforts and inspire other readers to do the same.

Do you need some help to get you started? Some ideas about what you can do to help our environment? Some of my earlier articles, like this story on Global Warming, or another one called "Earth by the Numbers" both have lots of simple ideas for things you can do to make your environment a greener place. 

As I write this on Sunday morning, more than 96 MILLION PEOPLE have clicked on the Earth Day website to enter their promises as part of the "Billion Acts of Green." One of the great things about being green is that kids can really make a difference, just as much as adults can. Let’s talk about what we are going to do, and share our own green actions with each other. After all, we only have one planet home.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(5) Comments  •   Labels: Teachers and Librarians, Earth Science Books, Conservation, Earth Day 2011   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 16, 2011

Today’s story is part of our ongoing EARTH WEEK coverage.

  One of the things people wonder about after the very harsh winter we had this year is how we can have global warming when it seems to be snowier and colder than ever.

 That’s because there is a difference between the daily weather vs. the climate where you live. You get your daily weather forecast on TV or on the Internet. It tells you the expected high and low temperatures of the day and whether it’s going to rain or snow. Weather is a combination of all these things and more.

So how is weather different from climate? Climate is what the weather is most often like over long periods of times. The Northeastern United States and the upper Midwest will be cold and probably snowy in the winter because that’s been the climate pattern for many years. Weather can tell you if you need to wear boots that day because of the snow prediction. Climate tells you when and where it’s best to take a swimming vacation on a beach. Climate tells you what clothes to keep in your closet because you might need them during the year, but weather tells you what clothes to wear that day.

Most scientists are convinced that there is global warming and that they have the facts to back that up. The year 2010 ranked as the warmest year on record, together with 2005 and 1998, according to the World Meteorological Organization. The WMO started keeping instrumental climate records in 1850, and eight of the hottest 10 years since then occurred in the year 2000 and beyond. Scientists expect a 3.5° F increase in average global temperatures by the year 2100, resulting in the warmest temperatures in the past million years. 

 

 

 

The last two decades of the twentieth century were the hottest decades in more than 400 years and may have been the hottest decades for several thousand years.

Records show that over the last century, Earth’s average climate had warmed in all seasons and in most regions. A single season or even a year in one region of the world is not a trend in global climate. Global warming refers to a long-term average over our entire planet.

 

 

 

 

The fact is that after 1961, many glaciers over the world have lost hundreds of cubic miles of ice. Most scientists believe that rising temperatures are the most important factor behind the retreat of glaciers. In Greenland, a NASA satellite shows that the ice sheet is shrinking and disappearing. Glaciers are moving into the ocean faster each year and more and more glaciers are being affected. In 1910, Glacier National Park in Montana was covered by 150 glaciers-today there are fewer than 30.

 

There’s no doubt about it, the earth is warming up.

 

 

Winter Wetlands Photo: Seymour Simon

Map Image courtesy geni.org

Upsala glacier photo: Gary Braasch

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

April 15, 2011

        Earth Day is one week from today, Friday, April 22. The theme this year is "A Billion Acts of Green" - designed to prove that if we all take action in our daily lives, real change can occur.

 

Starting this Sunday, we are going to have an entire week of coverage of Earth Week. We will tell you about what we are doing here at Seymour Science to contribute our own "acts of green".....and we are going to ask you to tell us what you are doing in your own homes, schools and communities.

Churchville Sixth Graders - maybe you could write and tell us about how you used the carbon footprint calculator, and what some of your "Earth Pledges" were? 

Earth, Our Planet in Space, is our home. Please join us this year in showing how much we care about it.

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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

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