Monday, November 2, 2009

Turn it Off!

With the countdown to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, some teachers might be looking for materials to use in class, so I thought I would make today’s Blog about conserving energy and water.
I spend half of my time working in Florida, where I develop educational programs for elementary school children. Last year, I developed a program called Turn it Off!
As usual, I wrote a song to go with the program, since I find that a fun concert always kicks things off on a high note! (Excuse the pun!) So I have up-loaded the song and lyrics to my Myspace page in case you want to use it with your class – it is a free download, so please do make use of it! I have also put up the Recycling Boogie song.
In Canada, I co-create, with my partner JC Little, a couple of fun animation projects for kids under the collective banner Earth to Rosie! One of the games is called the Footprint Game – and while it is still in its infancy, it is a good resource to introduce kids to the concept of their ecological footprint. We are going to be further developing this as funding allows. The Little Earth Charter is also a very useful resource:
One of the main objectives in the Turn it Off! Program is simply helping children (and adults) to understand how our lifestyle choices impact the environment and ultimately ourselves, since there is no separation between us, and the environment! I would use the examples mentioned in both the song and the Footprint game: turning off lights, computers not in use, taps, water sprinklers, unplugging cell-phones once charged – simple things that we often just don’t think about.
There are so many consequences to climatic changes; here are some examples:
· Coral reefs: warming oceans contribute to what is called bleaching in coral polyps. It is widely believed that coral bleaching is caused by stress factors, and since corals live in relatively shallow waters, sudden temperature drops or increases will usually induce bleaching. (See my previous Blog Oh the ocean is wide.)
· Mosquitoes: a warming climate means that some insects and bacteria will survive in areas where previously they were not able to do so, resulting in an increase in diseases associated with these species. (I have up-loaded the Mosquito song too.)
· Displacement of people and species: rising sea levels mean that millions of people and species living in low lying areas will have to move. This is already happening in some areas, particularly islands in the Indian ocean such as the Maldives. I have up-loaded my song, Moose with Nowhere to Go! can be used to illustrate this – the moose in the song is simply confused because his habitat has been completely intersected by roads.
I always emphasize that while we cannot stop climate change, since it has already begun, we can do our best to impact the duration. How? By reducing the amount of carbon that we put into the atmosphere; by using public transportation if available, by conserving energy; reduce garbage (landfills contribute to the methane in the atmosphere) and recycle; buy local food when possible thereby reducing the energy expended to transport food from far away; changing our light bulbs to more energy efficient ones; taking shorter showers and becoming more educated about what climate change really means to all of us.

Here is a video made by a school using my Recycling Boogie Song to get the kids engaged! 

The David Suzuki Foundation has useful information about many environmental topics including climate change.
People around the world are coming together to seek solutions to the challenges that we all face due to climate changes. To me, this is amazing and wonderful! Cooperation between nations will help us all and is a fabulous example for kids!
Yes we Can!
For the Earth!
In gratitude,

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