GGI Newsletter: November  2016

For Starters:

1.  Energy Conservation - Addressing Air Quality in School Energy Efficiency Upgrades
2.  Recycling Infographic 9 Common Mistakes of Recycling
3. .Toward Healthy Schools: Reducing Risks to Children
4.   Education Facilities Clearinghouse: Free Technical Assistance for Public Schools
5.    SAVE THE FOOD CAMPAIGN: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Strawberry
6.     Leggings That are Ethical and Eco-friendly, and Are Made from Recycled Bottles




This Month's Video:  Leo DiCaprio's new film 'Before the Flood' is a sweeping look at climate change (And you can watch it free online.)


Atmospheric CO2 level: Target 360 ppm

Daily CO2

November 5, 2016:  402.89 ppm 

November 5, 2015:  399.41 ppm

September CO2

September 2016:  401.01 ppm

September 2015:  397.50 ppm

August Temperature

Warmest August  since 1880:  2016

Coldest August since 1880:  1913 (& earlier)

Sea Level rise: 3.24 mm/annum (National Geographic)

November 2, 2016

15 2503 gistemp sep2016 1 600px
A map of the September 2016 LOTI (land-ocean temperature index) anomaly, showing that much of the warmer temperatures occurred in the northern hemisphere. (Credit: NASA/GISS) CLICK  TO GO TO SITE

September was warmest on record by narrow margin 

September 2016 was the warmest September in 136 years of modern record-keeping, according to NASA scientists.

Taking Building Performance to the Next Level

Key Points
  • An energy audit identifies cost-saving measures and forms the basis of an energy management plan.
  • ASHRAE defines three levels of audits, ranging from a simple walk-through to a detailed analysis.
  • Audits are performed by consultants, engineering firms and energy service companies (ESCOs). Read More

Every year Project Polar Bear challenges student groups across the globe to take action on climate change.

With the guidance of an advisor, middle and high school groups compete for
a grant by creating a plan for a project that will help reduce reliance on fossil fuels and engage their communities. This can be a plan for a new project or a proposal to continue an existing project. The '16-'17 project categories are Transportation, Energy Savings, Sustainable Food Systems, and Community Engagement Through Art and Advocacy. Students and advisors track their progress throughout the competition through photos, research, and on social media. The culmination of the project is a formal proposal to the PPB judging team. The top three high-scoring teams receive a grant of $1,000, $750, and $300, respectively, to continue their projects.
Registration is open October 1- November 25.
For additional information visit the PPB Website.


Meet the tiny towns taking on climate change

By  on Oct 26, 2016

By  on Jul 20, 2016


SNACK ATTACK: Junk food is a human rights issue, a U.N. expert warns

Ugh! Everything is miserable, you might be thinking, plopping down on the couch. Climate change is too big and I’m too tired to deal with it. I’m just going to sit here watch Netflix for eternity.

Take some inspiration from the tiny communities around the world that are taking the fight against climate change seriously, sluggish politicians and pessimistic couch potatoes be
darned. When the rest of us just can’t even,these little towns could — and did.  
Greenberg, Kansas
Kalisari, Java MORE


Big corporations are swamping the global market with cheap, nutrient-poor grub, forcing people to choose between food that’s affordable and food that’s nutritious — essentially violating the right to healthy food, according to the official.

The international community is failing to meet global targets for combating malnutrition, said Hilal Elver, the U.N. special representative on the right to food, at a press conference on Tuesday. She points out that nearly half of the world’s population appears to lack access to adequate nourishment: 800 million go hungry, 2 billion suffer from nutrient deficiency, and 600 million are obese.

Elver points to free trade paired with the industrialization of the food system as the root of the problem.



15 ways to conserve outdoor water use—without sacrificing the beauty of your home garden

In the 1950s, a middle-aged gardener named Ruth Bancroft planted a single succulent on her family’s pear-and-walnut orchard in the Bay Area suburb of Walnut Creek. Before long, Bancroft developed a passion for drought-tolerant plants, and by 1988 had amassed such a varied collection of succulents, aloes, yuccas, and agaves that visiting horticulturists Frank and Anne Cabot were inspired to form the Garden Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving significant American gardens. Today, the four-acre Ruth Bancroft Garden (which opened to the public in 1992) is a stunning showcase of succulents with an educational mission to help visitors learn to better preserve and cultivate desert and dry-climate plants—many of which are disappearing from their native habitats

Last month, Bancroft celebrated her 108th birthday as well as the release of Timber Press’s The Bold Dry Garden: Lessons From the Ruth Bancroft Garden. Authored by Sunset magazine’s garden editor, Johanna Silver, the book is a lush, pictorial guide to Bancroft’s breathtaking dry garden and, as its subtitle suggests, also reveals many of her time-tested dry gardening techniques and tips.



FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2016  By Samara Geller, and Bill Walker,

Industry Database Reveals 16,000 Foods With Toxic Chemical in Packaging

EWG's Healthy Home Tips

Bees are dying at alarming rates worldwide – and because bees are responsible for roughly one in every three bites of food we eat, we’re all in trouble. That’s why we’re calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to act NOW to protect them.

A decade of research has made it clear that neonicotinoid pesticides are highly toxic to bees and are at least partially responsible for the pollinators dying in record numbers. Earlier this year, the EPA finally confirmed this troubling fact. The agency even concluded the benefits of one of the most common uses of neonic treatments, as a coating on soy and corn seed, are questionable for farmers.

Tell the EPA to require farmers to use these pesticides only when they can prove they need them. We cannot stand by and watch pollinators die as the EPA completes its final assessment. MORE


EWG has created the first easily searchable database of approximately 16,000 processed food and drink items packaged in materials that may contain the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A, or BPA––using information from the very companies that manufacture and sell these products.

BPA acts like estrogen in the body and should be kept away from pregnant women and children in critical windows of development, according to researchers who have linked it to cancer, infertility, brain, nervous system and cardiovascular abnormalities, diabetes, obesity and other serious disorders. BPA contamination is widespread in processed foods and drinks because the chemical is a key component of the epoxy used as an anti-corrosive coating inside most of the 126 billion food cans manufactured in the U.S. each year.   MORE


1. Choose Better Body Care Products MORE
2.  Eat Organic Fresh Local Foods MORE
3.  Avoid Fire Retardants at home MORE
4.  Another Reason to Wash your Hands MORE
5.  (Still) Skipping The Non-Stick MORE


A new educational training program is taking over Fayetteville-area environmental nonprofit Sustainable Sandhills. The Youth Board will see three new Board members ages 13-30 installed as part of the governing team.

What is Sustainable Sandhills' Youth Board?

Youth Board is an educational training program that installs three (3) competitively selected Board members to learn how to govern an environmental nonprofit. Board member candidates must be ages 13-30 years old at the start of their term. Youth Board members attend Board meetings from November thru May. They sit at the table, learn the ropes, and receive guidance and mentorship from their fellow Board members and the Executive Director.

Jon Parsons, Sustainable Sandhills Board Chair, brought the idea to the Board at the July 2015 meeting: "This is an opportunity for us to engage with the next generation of environmental leaders, benefit from their fresh perspective and passion, and pass on the lessons we’ve learned over the years at Sustainable Sandhills."

"Youth Board gives younger people in our community a way into the conversation. We're giving them the tools to be our new leadership," Dr. Regina Smardon, Vice-Chair of the Board at Sustainable Sandhills. "This takes environmental education to the next level."

  • Each Youth Board position is ex-officio Board member which means they have non-voting status.
  • These Board members may not vote to incorporate the new budget but they'll be part of the discussion and inform the decisions.
  • Eligible Ages: 13 years old thru age 30 at a start of term.
  • Required attendance at 2 of 4 total Board meetings during the November thru May term.
  • Youth Board member Terms: November 2016 to May 2017
  • The Sustainable Sandhills Board meets the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 12pm-1:30pm. Candidates must be available at those times to attend. Lunch is provided.
  • Board meeting dates are:
    • November 15, 2016.

    • January 17, 2017

    • March 21, 2017

    • May 16, 2017

To APPLY: Application may be emailed or printed and either hand delivered or mailed.

Applications are due by November 10th.

a) 1 paragraph essay on the topic of "Who is the real Captain Planet?" describing your favorite environmentalist and why they deserve the title of the real-life Captain Planet.

2) A joke. The joke must be funny.

Email to:

Deliver by hand to the front desk at the Partnership for Children Building, 351 Wagoner Drive, Fayetteville, NC 28303.

Mail to: Sustainable Sandhills, PO Box 144, Fayetteville, NC 28302

"How do you learn how to save the planet? Or how to run the world? You need a seat at the table and someone to show you the way." Hanah Ehrenreich, Executive Director.

The Executive Director and Board volunteers will select candidates. Candidate slate will be advanced at the November Board meeting for election. Youth Board members will begin their term at the meeting in which they are elected as a slate of candidates. Maximum of 3 Youth Board representatives serving at one time on the Sustainable Sandhills Board. Only one student from any given academic institution may serve as a Youth Board member at any given time.

Need more info? Call Hanah Ehrenreich, Executive Director, at 910-484-9098 or email

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers this award to honor, support and encourage educators who incorporate environmental education in their classrooms & teaching methods.

About the Award
*         Teacher awardees will receive a Presidential award plaque and an award of up to $2,500 to be used to further the recipient's professional development in environmental education. Teacher awardees will also receive a congratulatory letter from a senior official from EPA and/or the White House.
*         The teacher's local education agency will also receive an award of up to $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs (and not for construction costs, general expenses, salaries, bonuses, or other administrative expenses).
*         Honorable Mention recipients will receive certificates of recognition.

Eligibility Requirements
*         To be eligible for the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators, teachers must meet the following eligibility requirements.
*         Teach K-12 on a full-time basis in a public school that is operated by a local education agency,1<>  including schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Education;
*         Hold a current teaching license from the state (or valid reciprocity from the state for a license from another state);
*         Have a minimum of 5 years of K-12 teaching experience, including at least 3 years of teaching environmental education and/or an environment-based curriculum;
*         Anticipate a classroom teaching assignment involving environmental education for the upcoming school year;
*         Be a citizen of the United States, its territories or possessions, or lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residency;2<

Do YOU Know an Outstanding Environmental Educator?

The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students. Up to two teachers from each of EPA's 10 regions (North Carolina is in region 4), from different states, will be selected to receive this award.

Complete details:

Applications due March 1, 2017

There has not been a recipient of this award in the past 5 years.

With lots of help from a lot of folks, we have developed the beginnings of a web page that will support educators in teaching about NC wildlife: NCwildlife

More high school teachers are being given the option to add a NC Wildlife course as an elective, and lots of educators want their curriculum to be more place-based so children begin to make a connection with the world around them.  We hope this website will begin the process of bringing interested folks together to share resources related to this topic, and help one another develop whatever resources aren't yet available.

 SONDERS: Moving from Low-Cost E-Bikes to Sub-10K Electric Cars

Wind-powered device can produce 11 gallons per day of clean drinking water from the air

Building on its success in the affordable ebike market, SONDORS is now looking to enter the low-cost electric vehicle sector as well.

Although Tesla has been priming the electric car market with its models for the last few years, and Detroit has been scrambling to catch up with its EV offerings, the percentage of electric vehicles hitting the road in the US right now is still incredibly small (about 1% of all new car sales). It's not just because the current EVs aren't seen as having enough range to be practical (a recent study showed that 87% of Americans' car travel could be handled by EVs), although that 'range anxiety' fear may hold back some buyers. It may have something to do with inadequate charging infrastructure and options in some areas, and it may also have to do with the lack of a truly affordable option.  MORE

A new device developed by VICI-Labs, in collaboration with UC Berkeley and the National Peace Corps Association, aims to provide a sustainable source of clean safe water for the millions without a reliable water supply. In the developed world, where most homes and businesses have ready access to clean water at the turn of a tap, we don't really have to worry about most waterborne diseases, or dehydration, or the ability to wash ourselves, our clothes, or our eating utensils, but those worries are still very real for the millions around the world without a reliable clean water source. The WaterSeer could help to alleviate some of those water poverty issues.  MORE

Why free play matters and how to encourage it

November 5, 2016, 9:30 a.m.
Parents may feel the need to protect and schedule, but experts say our kids learn more when we get out of the way as they play.
Like many parents of a certain age, I grew up riding my bike freely, playing pickup sports and settling disputes with my friends without adult intervention. But these days, many kids’ lives are so structured with extracurricular activities or formal sports, they have little opportunity for free play and handling social situations on their own. Even if they do have time, many aren’t allowed to roam their neighborhoods in search of playmates.  MORE

This world map is weird — and weirdly accurate

November 3, 2016, 12:21 p.m.

Traditional 2-D maps of Earth include major distortions. A new award-winning design, however, makes a world of difference.

Like all planets, Earth isn't flat. But globes are bulky and cumbersome, so we still squeeze our 3-D orb onto 2-D maps. And thanks to a clever architect in Tokyo, we have a new map that could change the world — or at least how we picture it.

Created by Hajime Narukawa, the AuthaGraph World Map was recently announced as the winner of the 2016 Good Design Grand Award, one of the most prestigious design awards in Japan. It preserves the proportions of continents and oceans as they're actually arranged on our round planet, yet it's laid out on a 2-D surface.  MORE

The 'close door' button on most elevators is a big, fat lie

November 1, 2016, 3:57 p.m.
Do you ever feel that pressing the "close door" button on the elevator doesn't do much to speed things along? As it turns out, there's a big reason for this phenomenon: the buttons don't actually work.  MORE Earth Matters > Animals

5 facts about daddy longlegs that will surprise you


Daddy long legs aren't spiders
Daddy long legs don't have venom
Daddy long legs can't make webs
Daddy long legs are ancient
Daddy long legs play dead to avoid predators  MORE
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