Resources – May 2020

Plastic Pollution Webinar for Kids
Do you want your elementary-aged child to learn the basics of plastic pollution and how it relates to climate change? (You’re welcome to participate, too!) Thursday, May 14th at 2:00 PM 40-minute interactive presentation. 

Learning in Places. Learning tools for families, para familias, 对于家庭 
A project with the goal of creating more culturally and community relevant, field-based learning opportunities for students.

TEDed – Earth School.  Daily adventures that will help you understand and celebrate our natural world, while learning about how dependent we are on our planet. Within each lesson, you’ll find fascinating resources compiled by Earth experts and ideas for getting involved in ways that count. Between Earth Day (April 22nd) and World Environment Day (June 5th). 

The CLEAN Network is a professionally diverse community committed to improving climate and energy literacy locally, regionally, nationally, and globally, to enable responsible decisions and actions.

Virtual Learning Resources for Sustainability-Minded Educators. Green Schools National Network remains steadfast in its commitment to provide K-12 schools and districts with the resources and support they need to educate for sustainability during this time of virtual learning. We vetted these lessons against a set of criteria we developed that looks at aspects such as deeper learning, 21st century skill building, authenticity, and sustained inquiry using a real-world context.

Cabot Woods, Spring 2020

Student Voice: Nature, Our Hope for Rehabilitation

After schools closed, cases continued to increase, and we remained confined to our homes. An end to the spreading madness that is COVID-19 seems to be nowhere in sight. However, looking out the window of my home, past an empty street and the quiet rain, a possible silver lining is visible on the horizon. Or in the atmosphere, to be exact.

According to The New York Times, “Air pollution (in the form of CO2 emissions) has dropped significantly over major metropolitan areas.” Newton is undergoing these changes as many of its residents work from home. The endless wait for a break in rush-hour traffic is now a solitary drive. Faced with the restrictions of self-quarantine and social distancing, we find ourselves devoid of casual excursions to the mall or a restaurant. In a way, the environment thanks us for those sacrifices.

Amidst the budding spring, nature and wildlife find solace, unencumbered by the heavy presence of machines and smog. In this short period of recovery, we have more time to appreciate the world around us by walking outdoors or gardening. These times prove that rehabilitation is more feasible if we can commit to cutting down emissions and saving the air we breathe.

Stillness is consequential, an indicator. We can tell a lot about a community based on how people move, and in these cautious times, the world seems to stand still. So in the future, when everything starts again, we should aim to balance industry and the environment. The good that preservation creates is immeasurable, especially when changes are irreversible. Therefore, we must remember the lesson nature teaches us now about the undeniable beauty of growth and recovery.

Newton students are invited to submit essays on the environment in honor of Green Newton’s 30th Anniversary. Like Joyce’s essay, selected works will be published on the Green Newton and GN School Connections websites and in the Green Newton e-news. Click HERE for more information on how to submit and essay.

The Green Team: Reducing Energy Consumption

Original post from The Green Team newsletter – 

This week’s featured topic is Reducing Energy Consumption. Teaching students to conserve energy introduces them to the value of energy efficiency. Students can see how reducing their energy consumption can have a daily impact on their school and home energy use.

Here are some activities and lesson plans that THE GREEN TEAM has created or collected around Reducing Energy Consumption:

  • THE GREEN TEAM Light Bulb Energy Efficiency Lesson: Aligned with Massachusetts curriculum standards, this lesson plan, answer key, and pledge card encourages students to calculate the impact of switching to more energy efficient light bulbs as an action to prevent climate change.
  • Cambridge Energy Alliance Energy Efficiency Lesson Plans: This document compiles a number of activities and lesson plans on energy efficiency, organized by activity length and topic. Easily adaptable for home use, these lesson plans engage students with hands-on projects on subjects such as wind energy, energy conservation, and insulation. Though there is mention of CFLs being energy efficient, students should know that LEDs can be more efficient.
  • Energy Vampire Hunt from the Earth System Science Education Alliance: Students will learn how devices use energy at different stages of activity and identify what electronics are considered energy vampires.

Student Voice: Small Actions, Big Changes

How does climate change impact lower economic communities?Climate change: the crisis that is not only hurting our Earth but also hurting people around us. It separates families and friends, forces and keeps people in poverty, and threatens our comfort and safety. The growing concern for climate change is greatly affecting people from all around the world. However, the consequences of climate change are creating an especially heavier burden for lower economic communities.As climate change continues to rapidly sweep the world, the chances of destructive natural disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and floods, also continue to increase. People of lower economic communities are at a great disadvantage, as they are less likely to have access to resources that can support them in times of dire need.Evacuating from homes after suffering from natural disasters is very costly, as the cost includes reliable transportation, safe shelter, food, water, and other necessities. As a result, many people of lower economic communities are forced to stay and risk their own safety during disasters, as they are unable to afford these things. In addition, the recovery process from natural disasters is not cheap. Rebuilding destroyed homes, cleaning up debris, and eliminating safety hazards in the house is not affordable to most; many people of low economic status are unable to access money for recovery, as many natural disaster recovery funds are targeted toward homeowners and higher-income communities.

This raises the question: what can we do to help people in these communities? We can all make conscious efforts to reduce waste, conserve energy, and consume less. Instead of throwing away your empty soda can in the trash, wash it out and recycle it. Opt for a five-minute shower instead of a ten-minute one: your small, thoughtful actions add up. If we all make a mindful effort to do our part for our environment, we can all make a big change to our environment and to lower economic communities.

Newton students are invited to submit essays on the environment in honor of Green Newton’s 30th Anniversary. Like Esther’s essay, selected works will be published on the Green Newton and GN School Connections websites and in the Green Newton e-news. Click HERE for more information on how to submit and essay.

What we are reading in April

Project Green Schools, 04/10/20  – Staying Environmental During Quarantine

Grist, 04/2020Climate in the Time of Coronavirus

Wired, 03/24/20 – The Analogy Between Covid-19 and Climate Change Is Eerily Precise

CNN, 04/2020 – What Coronavirus Could Teach Us About Climate Change

World Economic Forum, 04/02/20How our responses to climate change and the coronavirus are linked

The Economist, 04/18/20The Climate Issue: Why covid is, and is not, like climate

Earth Day 2020 Boston, by Newton South Students 03

Earth Day 2020 Boston, by Newton South Students

A promotion for Earth Day 2020 Boston by students from Newton South High School. Let’s  join them as we celebrate the start Earth Week tomorrow.

Earth Day 2020 Boston is being organized by a Newton South teacher, Michael Kozuch. The live event, Earth Day 2020 Boston Facebook Live Rally, is Saturday, April 18, and includes Marty Walsh, Jean-Luc Pierite, Reverend Rob Mark, Senator Ed Markey, City Councilors Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell, Mass Sierra Club, Mass Audubon, musical performers and more.

Earth Day 2020 Boston Program

Sidewalk Chalk Climate Joke

Sidewalk Chalk Climate Jokes: Let’s Have Fun and Take Action!

While the climate crisis is a no joking matter, we can all use a little humor to keep our spirits up. As a lighthearted activity to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, Green Newton is proposing that we all beautify our streets with “Sidewalk Chalk Climate Jokes”. This is a great way to introduce Green Newton’s new Take Action!  tool and encourage our community to take action on climate change.

Take Action! draws attention to the actions that each Newton resident can take to lower their impact on climate. With almost 60% of greenhouse gases coming from household energy and cars, our personal actions really matter! Sign in and check off the actions you’ve already taken. Make a list of “To dos” and get to it. Challenge others to take action with Green Newton!

Help us get the word out! Here’s what to do:

  1. Pick a silly wordplay joke that can be used for your chalk messages (ideas here).
  2. Write the joke on the sidewalk with the words “Take Action! at
  3. Post pictures of your sidewalk jokes on social media and tag #NewtonTakesClimateAction

Have fun and Take Action!

The Green Team Earth Day Celebration

Original post from The Green Team newsletter – 

This week’s featured topic is Earth Day. Though celebrations for Earth Day can’t happen in person within school communities, there are still many activities to participate in virtually. Here are some activities and lesson plans that THE GREEN TEAM has created or collected around Earth Day:

  • The 50th anniversary of Earth Day will be celebrated with the first Digital Earth Day. The Earth Day Network has planned 24 hours of actions you can take at home and on social media to promote environmental sustainability.
  • Green Olympics Virtual Home Edition: Project Green Schools encourages students to compete in environmental games and challenges held throughout the spring to make an impact with their environmental knowledge and creativity.
  • THE GREEN TEAM Climate Change Activities: This lesson plan and scorecard, which are aligned with Massachusetts curriculum standards, are teaching tools to empower students to combat climate change by helping students discover, track, and measure actions they can take to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.


We are happy and proud to participate in #NewtonTogether Monday, Apr. 20th! 

Let’s stay connected as a community on Patriots’ Day/Marathon Monday. We join Newtonians in making #NewtonTogether signs. You can get creative and share the incredible joy, strength, and resiliency of Newton. Just because we can’t gather for the Marathon this year, doesn’t mean we can’t connect! Post your creations and tag #NewtonTogether!  Share your signs on social media and look for them as you go on your daily walks or bike rides.



Newton Safe Routes to School Walking Challenges

Follow Newton Safe Routes on Facebook for a fun challenge every week!

Week #1

Basic: Over the course of the week, find doors that are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Remember their locations. Challenge: Now plan, and go on, a longer walk where you find them all in rainbow order. Extra Challenge: Now go on a walk where you find them all in REVERSE rainbow order.

Week #2

Find the same route to walk each day this week. It can be the length of your street or a loop from your house. How does it change from day to day? Watch the flowers grow, look for buds on trees. Which birds do you see?

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