Together, let’s put an end to deteriorating health

Heroes In Your Own Neighborhood

Dear Friends,

Can you name this Beautiful Creature?

As you delve into the wonderful movement we call sustainable living, I suspect you will find the same thing in your neighborhood as I have found in mine: there are people and organizations right in your own community who are doing amazing work to right our world through teaching and implementing sound ecological principles. I am certainly finding that true in the Seattle Washington area.

Over the course of 2010 I will be highlighting my personal interviews with key leaders in the sustainability movement, not only from my own area, but also from all over the world. In the next several weeks I will be staying close to home, sharing with you people from my neighborhood. You will become totally inspired and encouraged, as I have been, from hearing the words of those of us who are really actively participating in the cause of making our world right with nature.

The book that I highlighted in the Green Facts section last week, Smart By Nature—Schooling For Sustainability, by Michael Stone (2009), is a tremendously encouraging and practical resource. Check it out. See where it leads you! Here are a couple of quotes from his book.

There is a bold new movement underway in school systems across North America and around the world. Educators, parents, and students are remaking K–12 education to prepare students for the environmental challenges of the coming decades. They are discovering that guidance for living abundantly on a finite planet lies, literally, under their feet and all around them — in living soil, food webs and water cycles, energy from the sun, and everywhere that nature reveals her ways. (p. 1)

Here is a quote from David W. Orr that is quite beautiful.

What can educators do to foster real intelligence? … We can attempt to teach the things that one might imagine the earth would teach us: silence, humility, holiness, connectedness, courtesy, beauty, celebration, giving, restoration, obligation, and wildness. (p. 1)

Smart by Nature gives you the evidence—examples that a paradigm shift is truly occurring across this country and around the world, and perhaps most importantly, that it is taking place within our schools, with the education of our next generation. I will give a couple of examples that were very surprising to me.

Which city has the expressed goal of becoming the most environmentally friendly city in the world? The answer is Chicago! Mayor Richard Daley’s motto for Chicago is “City in a Garden” and Daley’s Chicago is committed to becoming the most environmentally friendly city in the world. Wow!

The goal for Chicago is to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for all new city facilities, including new schools! This is worth watching closely, isn’t it?

In the chapter, “Greening Chicago – One School At A Time”, Daley’s ordered that the school district and Chicago Park District collaborate to build schools on parkland and to make school facilities more centrally located within existing neighborhoods. This policy comes to life in the building and operation of Tarkington School, which serves as a prototype for what is to be accomplished throughout the city’s schools.

Tarkington School of Excellence, a public pre K—8 school, in an ethnically diverse, industrial neighborhood in Southwest Chicago, opened in 2005 as the first embodiment of the intention. The mission statement of the 1,100-student school, ‘Tarkington students are intrinsically motivated to positively influence our world and become catalysts for social and environmental change’. Their goal is to become Chicago’s first 90/90/90 school, where 90% of the students served are minority, 90% are below the poverty line and 90% meet or exceed state standards. (p. 78)

Pay extra attention to this example as it shows how the environment can steadily de-evolve our health:

The school was built with low-emitting materials, including paints, carpets, wood, and sealants, [that were] used throughout the building [to] improve air quality, while the ventilation system maintains a mixture of outdoor and filtered air. The school is in an area with some of the highest asthma rates in the country. Absenteeism in most schools in the area is high because of this, but not so at Tarkington. Their principal cites a student with asthma who reported that he had frequently missed classes at his previous school but had not needed his inhaler a single time in a year and a half at Tarkington.

The school’s most dramatic green element is its roof, a third of which is planted with drought-resistant tundra vegetation chosen for its ability to withstand Chicago winter. Windows facing the roof garden make it visibly accessible as a teaching tool. The living roof captures rainfall, retuning water to the air through evapotranspiration, while storm water management system delivers naturally filtered runoff water to a lagoon adjacent to the school. The rest of the roof is covered by a reflective white coating rather than a typical black tarred surfacing. Together with the roof top garden, it reduces the urban heat-island effect and lowers the need for air conditioning. (p. 80)

Folks, remember that this is being accomplished within a community that suffers below the poverty level conditions, so we have no excuses not taking care of everyone in our country. This example is a powerful reminder that real change can and must start within all sectors of society, and it certainly has in Chicago!

The faculty has incorporated the green campus into the formal curriculum. ‘The kids know more about the building than I do,’ says the principal. The faculty just last year began to take sustainability to a deeper level. ‘We didn’t really want to be just about recycling and just about conservation, but to be about choices, and how everything interconnects,’ says a fifth grade teacher. The staff identified four sustainability related ‘essential questions’ around which they could organize science lessons, and wove them into the social studies curriculum as well: How does the land affect a culture? How does technology affect a group of people? How does our economics affect culture? How do we affect other people?

Schooling for sustainability is truly our future, isn’t it? Such schools are springing up all over the country and the world. Called green schools, eco-schools, and high-performance schools, they are transforming students lives through achieving an understanding of healthy relationships between human societies and the natural world.

Next week, my goal is to share with you an interview with the Seattle based organization Facing the Future. Their goal is to expose the greatest possible number of students to at least a basic understanding of the meaning of sustainability and other global issues. “We want students to understand that there is a link between the environment, population, consumption, poverty and conflict.”

Sincerely yours,

Seann Bardell

Clinical Note:

I received a phone call today from a doctor absolutely raving about the Cranberry Pomegranate Synbiotic Formula. She had a 85 year old lady patient who was in a nursing home. The medical staff at the nursing home had to keep this senior on antibiotics most of the time because her chronic urinary track infection would come back within a week or two after getting off the antibiotics. The nursing home doctor was afraid the constant antibiotic use was going to kill her. Several months ago our holistic doctor client put this lady on the Cranberry Pomegranate (one capsule a day), look her off the antiobiotic and the reoccurring UTI vanishing and hasn’t returned! She said this is like a miracle.

Remember the cranberry and pomegranate extracts is this product are rigorously standardized organic freeze-dried extracts containing exceptionally high levels of organic acids, proanthocyanins, anthocyanins, phenols, quinic acid, ellagic acid and quercetin, providing unique bacterial anti-adhesion properties for support of healthy resistance to uro-genital infections.

The Last Quiz Answer: Well, I am sure you guessed that this is a turtle. And, as I said last week it is from the tropics. I saw many of these beautiful creatures in the lagoons of Yap (click here to see a satellite photo of Yap. The part of the island closest to you is where I lived). The species of turtle in the “amazing creatures photo” was called a “Well” in the Yapese language. It was the most common. It is a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) that can reach up to 400 pounds and about 3 feet in width across its dorsal shell. There was a bigger species, the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) less common that we would see from time to time, called a “Drow”. They reach a weight of 650 lbs with a width of about 4 feet. During the day at high noon you could find them resting at the deepest parts of the lagoon about 40 feet deep. If you were in a carnivorous frame of mind that was a good time to hunt them. That is another story—hunting turtle native style.

Eco-Schools is an international program that provides a framework to help educators integrate sustainable principles throughout their schools and curriculum. The program is currently being implemented in 27,000 schools in 43 countries.In 2008 The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) was designated to serve as host for the Eco-Schools USA program, with enrollment of U.S. schools beginning in 2009.

The Eco-Schools program strives to model environmentally sound practices, provides support toward greening the curriculum and supports science and academic achievement. It also works to foster a greater sense of environmental stewardship among young people.

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