For the very first Meet Me on Planet 3 podcast episode, Deanna Hoffman, a parent of two young boys, an experienced science educator, and an environmental advocate, interviews Eve Downing. Eve is a nineteen-year-old college student and environmental advocate from Alaska. She has been working nonstop since high school to take care of her home in the Arctic tundra.
If you also believe that Climate Change and its solutions should be more widely discussed and taught at Newton Public Schools, join us on asking the Schools Committee to include Climate Education as a District-Wide Goal in 2021.
We will meet this Thursday, April 15, at 4pm to discuss this and other sustainability and climate related topics. More information here.
The School Committee, with NPS’s superintendent and the City’s Mayor, is responsible for deciding each year what goals will guide the work of administrators, faculty, and staff as they “provide high quality academic opportunities for students and create welcoming and supportive school communities.”
In 2019, Green Newton School Connections petitioned for NPS to include Sustainability in schools and the School Committee included the topic in the FY20 Systemwide Goals, initiating the School Sustainability Working Group and a managerial goal focused on sustainability for facilities and transportation. Following our advocacy, NPS hired a Director of Planning, Project Management and Sustainability in February 2020.
Now is time to move on to the next step and include Climate Educations as a systemwide goal.
The city of Newton has committed to dramatically reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and even hired an Energy Coach to guide residents in adopting cleaner and more sustainable energy upgrades for their home and transportation. Our students can help!!! They are part of the solution to solve our existential climate crisis – if we give them, and our educators, the necessary tools, support and resources.
The School Committee will be discussing the 2021-2022 Systemwide Goals in the next months. It’s time for us to ask them to include Climate Education as a goal.
Green Newton’s All in for Climate Action! campaign is happening on Earth Week from April 19–22. Come meet the middle, high and college students who are part of the Environmental Youth Leadership Program. Residents will hear how they can take climate action or join the groups who are leading the climate fight in Newton.
Tables will be staffed by students and adult volunteers at Newtonville Star Market on Saturday and Sunday (17 and 18) and also during the week (19-22) at the Newton Free Library.
There will be posters for kids to color with Take Action! messages. There will be postcard handouts, plus 200 Earth Day packets for residents to plant milkweed seeds for growing butterfly gardens.
● GN Youth leaders will host a virtual poster-making program for kids on 4/19 from 4-5pm.
● Sidewalk chalk art by students will decorate the Comm Ave carriage lane with Take Action messages
● On April 22 at 7pm – Eating a Plant-based Diet – virtual Green Newton program with library.
More information at
K12 Climate Action is asking just that in a letter to the Biden-Harris Transition Team.
In the letter urging the Department of Education participation in a cross-agency approach to address climate change, they note, “By including representation of education in a cross-agency plan, the Biden-Harris Administration can help to acknowledge the critical role education can play in climate solutions and help our country build long-lasting change to advance a more sustainable society.”
“The U.S. K-12 public school ecosystem is a large public sector with a considerable environmental impact. With over 98,000 schools across the country, schools are among the largest energy consumers for public sector buildings, and energy costs for schools have been estimated at $8 billion annually, the second highest cost for schools behind only salaries. Schools operate the largest mass transit fleet in the country with 480,000 primarily diesel school buses and drive an estimated 3.45 billion miles annually. Schools also serve over 7 billion meals each year, and decisions on food sourcing, options, and waste contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.”
“In addition to the considerable need to address climate change in America’s public schools,
education also provides a critical opportunity to work toward climate solutions. Our education
sector can work to mitigate its environmental impact and work to build resilience in preparation
for climate change. With over 50 million children enrolled in public schools, education can help
prepare children and youth to advance a more sustainable world.”
The Climate Collective also created an online petition asking for Climate Justice for Newton.
“To ensure the progression of our just, equitable, and sustainable vision for Newton, we ask that local leaders (Mayor Fuller, the city council, the school committee, etc.) meet with Climate Justice, antiracism, and social justice representatives on a recurring basis to review progress towards these goals. ”
From the Bigelow PTO, June 13, 2020 –
The Bigelow PTO invites you to think about school supplies in a sustainable way.
The end of the year is a great opportunity to embrace our sustainable values with our children and show them how they can personally take climate action. Going together with the kids through their books, notes and school materials can be a valuable experience – in economic and environmental terms – and help reducing waste at the end of the school year by practicing the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
There’s a reason reduce & reuse come before recycle – not just because it sounds good, but it’s the order in which we should approach sustainability. Here are some tips to use with your child when cleaning out their school supplies:
- Empty backpacks, pencil cases, binders, folders.
- Clean everything (a swipe of rubbing alcohol can remove marker and make everything looks like new).
- Repair or patch what you can.
- Organize pens, pencils, markers, scissors, calculators, etc.
- Take out the used pages of notebooks and evaluate what can be reused in school or at home.
You will note that you can really reduce the purchase of new supplies because a lot can be reused next year. And we can all celebrate how much energy, water, resources and money we will have saved in our community!
Check out more resources:
Small habit changes can make a big difference. And students, as well as parents and educators, can take action and have a positive impact to reduce our carbon footprint.
Download and print flyer: Take Daily Action Against the Climate Crisis
What students can do
- Reuse binders, backpack and other school supplies next year.
- Walk, bike, or take the bus to school, to activities and to see friends. If you drive, try to carpool, and do not leave your engine on while parked!
- Reduce your meat and dairy consumption and choose plant options at least once a week.
- Buy less stuff and reuse what you have. Try not ordering online for 3 months or no new clothes for 6 months.
- Always bring your reusable water bottle and travel mug.
- Are you almost 18? Register to vote, be an environmental voter. Be vocal!
- Invite your family and friends to Take Action!
What can be done at home
Home heating and electricity account for a large portion of fossil fuel use. Talk to others at home about:
1. Signing up for 100% Renewable Electricity at Newton Power Choice, a really easy way to make a huge difference! Find your homers Eversource account# & call 866-968-8065 or visit www.masspowerchoice.com/newton
2. Signing up for no-cost home energy assessment and insulate/air seal your home. Call 781-305-3319 (select #2 & mention Green Newton) or go to hwe.click/green-newton
Download and print flyer: Take Daily Action Against the Climate Crisis
The Newton North High School Climate Advocacy Club is creating a student and teacher organization in order to advise the Principal on climate issues. The Climate Advisory Panel will be formed by a nomination process in Fall 2020 where students and teachers can be both self-nominated and nominated by others.
“Our school is lacking in both the educational side of the issue and physical side of the climate issue, most egregiously on the very important topic of climate justice. Given our position as a school that has traditionally led in academic and social emotional learning, it is our duty to be a leader and an example for ourselves and others in the values and practice of climate justice. ”
The panel’s goals, according to the document developed by the students, are to:
- Educate peers on climate justice through developing, advising, and observing the revised sustainability curriculum with teachers; organizing Sustainability Day; and more.
- Oversee and facilitate a strike absence policy.
- Ensure that Newton North’s infrastructure is as sustainable as possible, specifically by working with the city of Newton and the sustainability director.
- Incorporate climate justice into all facets of the school.
The panel will be a leader in connecting all the different groups in Newton that work on climate issues: teachers, activists, administrators, and more. If you are interested in being involved with the panel next year in any capacity, please fill out the interest form so we can keep in touch: https://bit.ly/2Byh9gC.
We have a creative idea that can help to make talking about climate change easier to discuss. Simply make yourself a homemade braided bracelet to wear on your wrist and then take a pledge to have a conversation about climate change every time someone comments on your bracelet.
There are a variety of easy bracelets that you can make at home. Our favorite uses fabric from old t-shirts or other material. Just cut three 1″ bands and make a simple braid. Then you can sign the pledge like others have done, send us a picture, and start the conversation!
Braided Old T-shirt Bracelet
In February, Green Newton invited Newton high school students to write essays on the theme “Students Taking Climate Action” and they were asked to submit them to Green Newton by the end of Earth Week. We saw this as an opportunity for students to voice their concerns and inspire others to make a difference by suggesting solutions that can benefit our environment.
Three essays were chosen to be published:
- Joyce Lee: Nature, Our Hope for Rehabilitation
- Esther Zhang: Small Actions, Big Changes
- Elie Berman: Lessons to Take on Climate Justice from the Coronavirus
In a raffle drawing, two students were chosen to each receive a $50 gift certificate from Green Newton to use at a local shop or restaurant of their choice: Aidan Lieberman and Esther Zhang.
Thank you to each of the students who participated in this Green Newton activity to honor our organization’s 30th Anniversary!