Community Colleges Offer “Green” Classes for Kids and Adults

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Teaching renewable energy at community colleges is nothing new, according to Carolyn Teich, senior program associate from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Such courses have actually been in community college curricula for about 30 years.

But there is also a wave of new courses designed for people who want to live more sustainably. For example, Kirkwood Community College — which primarily offers classes on its Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, campuses — launched a Go Green initiative this past fall in its Continuing Education department.

A team looks at trends in the market to develop new programs for the school, says Kim Johnson, the associate vice president of continuing education programming. Part of her job is to work with that team.

Programs are planned a year in advance, she says. About a year ago, the Kirkwood team discussed the increased emphasis on “green” — especially green jobs — because of the Obama administration’s support of renewable energy technology in the Stimulus package. She also felt the community had an increased interest in sustainability and saving money….

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Reynolds Scion Tells Kids the Truth about Tobacco

December 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Education, Front Page, Health, Smoking, Youth Programs

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The junior high auditorium is filled to capacity, yet the crowd is hushed. Students sit at rapt attention, uncharacteristically still. Tears glisten on their youthful cheeks, and even the tough guys listen quietly. On the stage, a few minutes earlier, Patrick Reynolds opened his talk with a promise, “Today, we’re going to get in touch with our feelings.”

Ordinarily, a tough junior high kid might rebel at such a statement. But not today — and not when Reynolds speaks it.

“I open all my talks — both to youth and adults,” he says, “with memories of my father dying from smoking, watching my dad gasp for breath.” Reynolds’ father was the son of tobacco tycoon, R. J. Reynolds, for whom the company was named…

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Travel for Change Brings Fair-Trade Cultural Tourism to Tanzania

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Soon after University of Iowa senior Stephanie Enloe graduates in December, she will be on a plane to Tanzania. Enloe, 22, is the director of sustainable projects for Travel for Change International, a small group of committed volunteers who are building an eco-lodge near Njombe, Tanzania. Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) met with Enloe to find out what makes Travel for Change different from other travel venues serving visitors to Tanzania. — Publisher

ENLOE: The term for what we’re doing at Travel for Change is “fair-trade cultural tourism.” In East Africa, quite often, tourist initiatives are foreign-owned — the hotels, resorts, safari companies, and climbing companies. This is the case in a lot of developing countries. Travel venues and services are foreign-owned and really expensive. People go over there thinking that they’re getting an “African experience.” They pay huge amounts of money, which goes to foreign bank accounts and is not even remotely beneficial to the people in the area.

The first goal of our organization is to create a community-owned travel initiative, where, once the business model is intact and sustaining itself, it passes into community hands….

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Middle School Students to Design Affordable Housing in Future City Competition

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WASHINGTON DC, June 2009 – Designing affordable housing for those most in need is enormously complicated. But how to do it while adhering to LEED recognized green building standards, with an emphasis on energy efficiency and a low carbon footprint?

That’s the challenge for Chicagoland middle schoolers [and students around the nation] as they prepare for National Engineers Week Foundation’s 2009-10 Future City® Competition…

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Green Festival in Chicago May 16, 17

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If you’ll be in Illinois this weekend, head on over to Navy Pier to attend Chicago’s third annual Green Festival, May 16 and 17. Billed as the “original green consumer living event,” the weekend will provide “a vision of a cleaner, more efficient future for American businesses, homes, and lifestyles.”…

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Fairchild Challenge Prepares Youth to Protect the Planet

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Today’s adults will not solve every environmental challenge we face in the world. We will make progress, certainly, but the solutions to most of the major problems that plague us will not come in our lifetimes. The future of our species — and with it, the future of all life on Earth — hinges on the actions of our children and their children.

We cannot sit back idly and expect generations yet to come to take up the banner of environmentalism and sustainability. We must begin by educating — and inspiring — our youth to enlightenment and action. One program that has been successfully motivating youth to learn about the environment is the Fairchild Challenge.

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ANSWER – Ending Caste in Nepal with Education and Jobs

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Conscientious donors around the world give money to NGOs with the full expectation that their contributions will work toward the benefit of the intended recipients. But, as Earle Canfield, explains in today’s post, the reality is often quite different, with too many NGOs working ultimately for their own sustainability and not delivering “real help.”

Canfield’s NGO, American-Nepali Student & Women’s Educational Relief (ANSWER), is different. “Instead of fostering dependency,” Canfield says, “we empower students.” ANSWER gives “just enough help” to impoverished low-caste families by paying for one child’s private school education. The families, in turn, pay for a small part of their children’s school needs. By requiring a personal investment, ANSWER motivates families to continue the child’s participation through college, whereupon the graduate secures a good-paying job. Education not only breaks the cycle of poverty for the families, it also empowers low-caste students to become part of the new middle class that will overturn the caste system in their lifetime.

This is Part 2 of a two-part interview with ANSWER’s founder, Earle Canfield.

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Notes from Serbia: Ending Litter through Laws and Education

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Blue Planet Green Living invites our readers around the world to send us reports about the environment in their home countries. In the first of the “Notes from ….” series, we published a post from Jagdish Poudel, an environmental science student from Nepal. Today, we are pleased to share a report from Snezana Pavlovic, a 25-year-old student of Balkan languages from Niš, Serbia. “Avoiding pollution and ecology are my passion and hobby,” Snezana writes.

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Peace Corps Volunteer Teaches Green Living in Namibia

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Seated across from me is a gentle, silver-haired woman. She speaks in soft tones, gesturing slightly from time to time. Her manner is warm and welcoming. You could easily call her mild-mannered. But don’t let her appearance fool you. Miriam Kashia is a force to be reckoned with when there’s a job to be done. And that’s just the spirit with which she tackled her recent Peace Corps assignment in Namibia, home to some of the world’s most impoverished people.

Kashia returned to the United States a year ago, in January 2008. She’s had time to reflect on her experience, and to see from a distance the effects of the work she did half a world away. I interviewed her in her Iowa City home.

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Growing Citizens and Leaders through Organic Gardening

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In addition to finding out that worms are pretty amazing creatures, the kids in the Children’s Vegetable Garden program learn about organic farming and get some firsthand experience with the benefits of hard work. We talked with program director, Hector J. Hernández, Youth Gardens Coordinator for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County, to find out more.

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