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Powerful Ideas, Practical Actions January/February 2010
As you rang in the new year, perhaps you had a resolution or two. Eat more vegetables? Audition for a play? Switch to refillable ink cartridges?
In this newsletter you’ll find the story of a family with a remarkable resolution. For one year, “No Impact Man” Colin Beavan and his family tried to unplug, produce no trash, and buy nothing. We are excited to share the newly released No Impact Project Curriculum to get your students thinking about the effects of ordinary actions on the environment. You’ll also find valuable teaching resources on green building, energy alternatives, and climate heroes.
Our newsletter bonus is two YES! Exemplary Essays. Check out these student-written essays—one on a Parker Palmer article and the other on the gifts each of us have and what that might mean for our school systems. Let me know if you'd like to join the Exemplary Essay project—teachers tell us their students love the prospect of getting an essay onto the YES! Website.
Organic gardens, eco-friendly dorms, and vegetarian eateries are not all that make up Warren Wilson College—an environmentally conscious work college in the rolling hills of Asheville, North Carolina. Rather, as Margo Flood, director of the Environmental Leadership Center puts it, this campus is all about the liberal arts. Learn how Warren Wilson students and teachers strive for a complete education through work, study, and community. This is Margo’s story.
MORE YOUR STORIES: Beauty of Teenagers. 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.
The No Impact Curriculum’s five stand-alone lesson plans help middle and high school students explore the effects their everyday behavior has on the environment, their health, and their well-being, and guide them to make relevant behavior changes. We’ve also included No Impact’s “how to” manual for a one-week carbon cleansing. No Impact makes a point that you don’t have to be a hippie, activist, or granola eater to participate. This is for anyone wanting to make realistic changes in how they live.
Lesson plans, hands-on activities, and award-winning projects on green building and green economies will demonstrate to your students that a better, sustainable future is possible and that they can help build it.
The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights offers a compelling collection of activities (written for high school but easily adaptable for middle school, college, and adults) that explore the rapidly growing green economy and how it can solve two crises—climate change and social inequality. Your students will be researching and asking the hard questions about sustainable communities and justice.
The U.S. Green Building Council uses the built environment to bring sustainability education to your classroom. Award-winning curricula and projects on green building (how about a green dream house?) from other teachers—secondary through university—are spotlighted. Also offered are teaching tools on green schools and the LEED rating system.
Read featured essays from our latest classroom participants who responded to YES! articles “Blessings Revealed,” by Puanani Burgess and “Know Yourself, Change Your World,” by Parker Palmer.
Want an opportunity for your students to step up their writing and write for a real audience? Learn about how to join the YES! Exemplary Essay Project here.
Questions about the Exemplary Essay Project? Email us.
from The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss
“I meant no harm. I most truly did not.
For the complete quote and a companion
INDEX: in this issue
How to Get More YES!
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Artist Robert Shetterly's beautiful book. EVERYBODY EATS:
How a Community Food System Works poster.
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YES! Web Picks
Silk Purse from Sow’s Ear
Your students will be inspired by two men who make high-end furniture from scrap wood. Now that’s sustainable!
Stairway to Fun
The fun theory boasts, “If you want something done, make it fun.” Watch this delightful video on how to get people to take the stairs instead of the escalator.
YES! in Spanish
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