Powerful and practical ways to bring outside learning inside your classroom, featuring resources from the Story of Stuff Project.
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YES! Education Connection Newsletter YES! Education Connection Newsletter
Powerful Ideas, Practical Actions    December 2009
The more intentional you are in your choices, the more every change makes room for more changes … I just love that there’s this endless potential.” —Dee Williams

The Story of Stuff
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Dear Educators,

Conversations about climate change have ramped up with the recent gathering of political leaders in Copenhagen. Even after your students understand basic climate change facts and proposed solutions, the question beckons, “So what can I do about it?”

The current issue of YES! Magazine, Be a Climate Hero, shares stories on people who are stepping up to the challenge. With the help of Annie Leonard’s compelling Story of Stuff Project and other inspiring YES! resources, I’d like to take you and your students to the next level by looking at small steps to living differently.

To the often-quoted proverb, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” former vice president Al Gore added, “We have to go far quickly.” It’s going to take the engagement of all of us to avert the climate crisis. Starting today.

May your winter break and New Year be bright!

Jing Fong, Education Outreach Manager, YES! MagazineBest,
Jing's signature
Jing Fong
Education Outreach Manager, YES! Magazine

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Your Stories

Inuit youth throat-singing. Photo by John Hasyn
Discovering the Beauty of Teenagers
People often fear interacting with those of different generations because of misjudgments and stereotypes. Canadian-based photographer John Hasyn faced these challenges when he chose to serve the Inuit youth of Nunavut in the Arctic zone of northern Canada. See how one moment with a young person changed his perspective forever. This is John’s story.

MORE OF YOUR STORIES: Free to Be Me. Starting with Place. Anthropology 101. Hands-on Sustainability. Chicken Soup for the Soul in the Classroom. Local food in schools.

SEND US your own story to share with our growing network of YES! educators.

YES! Recommends

image from The Story of Stuff
When Annie Leonard, director of The Story of Stuff, picks up a disposable cup, she doesn’t just see a plastic or paper container, she sees its entire life cycle. This fast-paced, fact-filled video shows how everything is interconnected, and how the production and disposal of stuff impacts the environment and cultures.

The Story of Stuff will have your students bubbling over with questions and aha’s, and provoke ideas on how they might live differently. Resources to further understand what’s driving these problems and support action include a discussion guide, group activities, and a list of 10 Little and Big Things You Can Do.


image from The Story of Cap and Trade

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The Story of Cap and Trade
Your students may have heard cap and trade as one of the main climate change “solutions” under discussion at the U.N. Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen and our nation’s capital.

In this new ten-minute film, Annie Leonard offers a warning about what she considers the dangers of cap and trade. Due to its technical and controversial nature, The Story of Cap and Trade is recommended for high school and university students.

YES! Classroom Tools

10 Ways to Change Your Life. YES! Magazine Poster
10 Ways to Change Your Life
Using less energy is key to lowering atmospheric CO2 to 350 parts per million (we’re currently at 392). But how willing are we to change how we live? No Impact Man gives his 10 best ways for us to make the needed cultural shifts.
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Soda Can
The Page That Counts
Your students will be astonished by the number of chemicals they’re exposed to in personal care products, and the number of Boeing 747s that could be built with the aluminum cans thrown away by airlines in a year.

Graph from 2 Degrees from Disaster. YES! Magazine graphic
Two Degrees from Disaster
These colorful charts and graphs will help your students learn about the human and planetary effects of a 2-degree rise in temperature, and what we can do to decrease CO2 emissions.

Cover of Gary Braasch's Earth Under Fire
Climate Change Photo Essay
Photographer Gary Braasch examines the worldwide effects of climate change, illustrating the impact on human life, cities, and cultures.

Curriculum and Resources

Climate Change Curricula
These curricula are bursting with impressive lessons, experiments, and visual tools to guide your students in their exploration and understanding of climate change and the influence of everyday plants on humankind.

logo for the Will Steger Foundation
The Will Steger Foundation
Explorer Will Steger’s foundation offers comprehensive curricula for K-university that lay out climate change science basics and provide language arts tools for deeper understanding. Supplemental action resources and lesson plans will help your students grasp the critical and complex climate solutions being discussed on the national and international stages.

image from PBS's The Botany of Desire lesson plans
PBS: “Botany of Desire” Lesson Plans
Your students will be scientifically and philosophically enlightened by PBS-produced video clips and lesson plans (grades 5-12) on Michael Pollan’s best-selling book “Botany of Desire.” Explore sweetness, genetic-based engineering, and nature’s patterns of beauty. Plus, a historic timeline of four plants across the globe.


Book cover for Americans Who Tell the Truth by Robert Shetterly
Americans Who Tell The Truth
Robert Shetterly’s series of painted portraits are eye-catching reminders of the dignity, courage, and importance of some of America’s truth tellers—whether or not one agrees with them. Explore this collection and curriculum with your students to find a new hero or someone who inspires inner change.

Words that Inspire

Cover of Mark Kurlansky's The Food of a Younger Land, along with Library of Congress photo from WPA America Eats files
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Hush puppies, Waldorf salad, squirrel mulligan? Through short stories, poems, letters, and lists from the unfinished Federal Writers’ project book America Eats, The Food of a Younger Land looks at what Americans cooked and ate in the 1940s.

Encourage your students to interview their grandparents about what they ate in the 40s, and compare these mouth-watering (?) meals with what epitomizes present-day eating and dining in your region.

Cover of Mark Kurlansky's The Food of a Younger Land, along with Library of Congress photo from WPA America Eats files.

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YES! Posters
Inspiring Youth…
Brower Youth Award winners 2009 2009 Brower Award Winners
Earth Institute’s Brower Awards annually recognize young people who create a project or campaign with positive environmental and social impact. Meet this year’s outstanding recipients.

YES! Web Picks
Image from Jarbas Agnelli's music video Birds on Wires More than a tweet tune
Listen to Jarbas Agnelli’s beautiful melody inspired by a photo of birds sitting on electrical wires, using the exact location of the birds as notes.

No Impact Man Colin Beavan and family in New York. Photo by Paul Dunn for YES! Magazine“No Impact Man” Trailer
No car, no washing machine, no toilet paper? Preview how Colin Beavan and family fared in their one-year commitment to have no impact on the environment.

YES! in Spanish
Visual Learning
A 3-year-old Inuit girl fishes for Arctic char using the traditional method of fishing line wrapped around a length of wood.  Victoria Island, Nunavut, Canadian Arctic, 2005. Photo by Chris Bray Photo by Chris Bray

Gone Fishing
Use this photo to ask your students what they notice and are wondering. Then share the facts behind the image to connect to greater understanding and discovery.

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Visual Learning Lesson Plan
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