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Your kids can’t wait for bureaucrats to approve a new curriculum!

The best way to empower your students is to start now, weaving critical topics such as the climate crisis and social justice issues into the existing curriculum.

This site has a number of ideas for teachers in just about every subject area and grade level, but they’re meant as examples to open the door for you and your colleagues to come up with more!  Continue reading “Your kids can’t wait for bureaucrats to approve a new curriculum!”

New Resources – Books!

The purpose of this post is to highlight some new resources that we have added to the site. Two posts have been added to the “Teacher Resources” section, one for elementary school level book recommendations for teaching children about climate change and the environment, and one for middle school level book recommendations. We hope that these will be a good resource and a great starting point for introducing climate change-focused books into classrooms. 

We also wanted to provide ways to obtain the recommended books. 

  • This site allows you to find your nearest local, free public library by entering your (or your school’s) zip code
  • This site helps you find local, small book shops to support if you choose to purchase a copy

Welcome!

We are excited to announce that we will be returning to updating this website regularly. The goal remains the same – to provide teachers and students with crucial resources, in the form of books, educational media, relevant news, curriculum ideas, resources to take action, and more! We hope that this website serves as a resource and starting point for meaningful, effective, and interdisciplinary climate change and environmental education.

Please feel free to post comments or contact us with feedback, questions, or comments at teach-climate@sustainlv.org.

Climate & Environment Focused Book Recommendations – Middle School Level

1. What is Climate Change?

Author: Who HQ, Gail Herman

Publisher: Penguin Random House (Canada)

Year of publication: 2018

ISBN 13: 9781524786151

Recommended age range: 8 – 12 years old

Description (from publisher): “Learn more about what climate change means and how it’s affecting our planet. The earth is definitely getting warmer. There’s no argument about that, but who or what is the cause? And why has climate change become a political issue? Are humans at fault? Is this just a natural development? While the vast majority of scientists who study the environment agree that humans play a large part in climate change, there is a counterargument. Author Gail Herman presents both sides of the debate in this fact-based, fair-minded, and well-researched book that looks at the subject from many perspectives, including scientific, social, and political.”

2. The New 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth

Author: EarthWorks Group, Sophie Javna

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Year of publication: 2009

ISBN 13: 9780740790812

Recommended age range: 9 – 15 years old

Description (from publisher): “Published in advance of the celebration of Earth Day in 1990, the original 50 Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth was a cultural phenomenon, selling more than 5 million copies and inspiring an entire generation of environmental warriors. Now the book is back in print and updated for the 21st century with both original content and brand-new easy-to-do and kid-friendly projects to make a difference in our world. The new edition contains tons of tips and facts about the state of the planet sure to inform and engage young readers excited to start saving the earth.

3. Me and Marvin Gardens

Author: Amy Sarig King

Publisher: Scholastic

Year of publication: 2009

ISBN 13: 9780545870740

Recommended age range: 10 – 13 years old

Description (from publisher): “Obe Devlin has problems. His family’s farmland has been taken over by developers. His best friend Tommy abandoned him for the development kids. And he keeps getting nosebleeds, because of that thing he doesn’t like to talk about. So Obe hangs out at the creek by his house, in the last wild patch left, picking up litter and looking for animal tracks. One day, he sees a creature that looks kind of like a large dog, or maybe a small boar. And as he watches it, he realizes it eats plastic. Only plastic. Water bottles, shopping bags… No one has ever seen a creature like this before, because there’s never been a creature like this before. The animal – Marvin Gardens – soon becomes Obe’s best friend and biggest secret. But to keep him safe from the developers and Tommy and his friends, Obe must make a decision that might change everything. In her most personal novel yet, Printz Honor Award winner Amy Sarig King tells the story of a friendship that could actually save the world.”

4. Operation Redwood

Author: S. Terrell French

Publisher: Amulet Books, Abrams

Year of publication: 2011

ISBN 13: 9780810997202

Recommended age range: 8 – 12 years old

Description (from publisher): “When Julian is sent to stay with his disinterested aunt and uncle for four months, he discovers that his Uncle’s corporation plans to cut down a group of redwood trees at Big Tree Grove and decides to take a stand to save the trees. Perfect for the young environmentalists in your life, Operation Redwood is an adventurous and gripping tale as Julian and his friends hatch scheme after scheme to save these giants of nature.”

5. No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference

Author: Greta Thunberg

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Year of publication: 2019

ISBN 13: 9780143133568

Recommended age range: 12 – 14 years old

Description (from publisher): “The groundbreaking speeches of Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist who has become the voice of a generation, including her historic address to the United Nations. In August 2018 a fifteen-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, decided not to go to school one day in order to protest the climate crisis. Her actions sparked a global movement, inspiring millions of students to go on strike for our planet, forcing governments to listen, and earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference brings you Greta in her own words, for the first time. Collecting her speeches that have made history across the globe, from the United Nations to Capitol Hill and mass street protests, her book is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.”

6. Analyzing Climate Change: Asking Questions, Evaluating Evidence, and Designing Solutions

Author: Phillip Steele

Publisher: Cavendish Square

Year of publication: 2019

ISBN 13: 9781502639387

Recommended age range: 11 – 14 years old

Description (from publisher): “Scientific evidence clearly shows that temperatures and the level of CO2 in the atmosphere have risen dramatically since the end of the nineteenth century, coinciding with the rise of industrialization. But what can be done to slow the effects of climate change on humans, plants and animals, and natural resources? This book explains the consequences of further climate change, from flooding of coastal areas to unhealthy pollution in urban areas, and how governments, businesses, and citizens can proactively work on limiting their use of greenhouse gases. International accords such as the Paris agreement of 2015 and the Kyoto Protocol of 1992 are also discussed.”

7. Under the Weather: Stories About Climate Change

Author: Multiple / Editor: Tony Bradman

Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Year of publication: 2010

ISBN 13: 9781845079307

Recommended age range: 11 – 14 years old

Description (from publisher): “Here are eight short stories about how climate change is affecting children around the world. Ben’s beautiful Philippino beach is disappearing due to the death of the coral reef. Jess is moved by the plight of Beluga whales in Canada and decides to become a marine biologist. Children’s lives are changed by floods in Africa, Bangladesh, and Suffolk. In most of the stories the children seek positive and practical solutions, but sometimes they have no options. Excessive heat and too many mosquitoes in India lead to Chandrika’s death from malaria. In Siberia, the Nenets family can’t afford to look beyond short-term solutions. A thought-provoking collection emphasizing the importance of individual, as well as group initiatives. It isn’t too late to save the world!”

8. Ship Breaker

Author: Pablo Bacigalupi

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Year of publication: 2010

ISBN 13: 9781845079307

Recommended age range: 12 – 16 years old

Description (from publisher): “In America’s flooded Gulf Coast region, oil is scarce, but loyalty is scarcer. Grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts by crews of young people. Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota–and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or by chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life….”

9. The Water Knife

Author: Pablo Bacigalupi

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Year of publication: 2016

ISBN 13: 9780804171533

Recommended age range: 12 – 16 years old

Description (from publisher): “In the near future, the Colorado River has dwindled to a trickle. Detective, assassin, and spy, Angel Velasquez “cuts” water for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, ensuring that its lush arcology developments can bloom in Las Vegas. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in Phoenix, Angel is sent south, hunting for answers that seem to evaporate as the heat index soars and the landscape becomes more and more oppressive. There, he encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist with her own agenda, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas migrant, who dreams of escaping north. As bodies begin to pile up, the three find themselves pawns in a game far bigger and more corrupt than they could have imagined, and when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only truth in the desert is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.”

10. Climate Change: A Hot Topic!

Author: Dan Green

Publisher: Basher Science Series, Kingfisher, MacMillan Publishers

Year of publication: 2015

ISBN 13: 9780753471753

Recommended age range: 11 – 14 years old

Description (from publisher): “Do you know your carbon cycle from your carbon footprint? Can you tell your greenhouse effect from your greenhouse? And what exactly is a tipping point? If any of these questions leave you confused, then Basher Science: Climate Change is the book for you. From El Nino and hurricanes to deforestation and population growth of scale – this is a totally comprehensible guide to a fast-moving, essential topic. Subjects covered in this book include ice caps, the greenhouse effect, global warming, the butterfly effect, atmospheric systems, acid rain, ocean systems, acidification, fossil fuels, heat waves, urbanization, carbon footprint, recycling, renewable energy, biofuels, and nuclear power.”

Climate & Environment Focused Book Recommendations – Elementary School Level

Image: Little, Brown and Company

1. The Earth Book

Author: Todd Parr

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Year of publication: 2010

ISBN 13: 9780316042659

Recommended age range: 3 – 5 year olds

Description (from publisher): “With his signature blend of playfulness and sensitivity, Todd Parr explores the important, timely subject of environmental protection and conservation in this eco-friendly picture book. Featuring a circular die-cut Earth on the cover, and printed entirely with recycled materials and nontoxic soy inks, this book includes lots of easy, smart ideas on how we can all work together to make the Earth feel good – from planting a tree and using both sides of the paper, to saving energy and reusing old things in new ways.”

Image: Penguin Random House

2. The Lorax

Author: Dr. Suess

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Year of publication: 1971

ISBN 13: 9780394823379

Recommended age range: 5 – 9 year olds

Description (from publisher): “Dr. Seuss’s beloved story teaches kids to treat the planet with kindness and stand up and speak up for others. Experience the beauty of the Truffula Trees and the danger of taking our earth for granted in a story that is timely, playful, and hopeful. The book’s final pages teach us that just one small seed, or one small child, can make a difference. “

Image: Scholastic

3. The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge

Author: Joanna Cole

Publisher: Scholastic

Year of publication: 2o14

ISBN 13: 9780545655996

Recommended age range: 7 – 10 year olds

Description (from publisher): “Trust the bestselling science series of all time to get down to the facts on global warming, so kids can understand the crisis and how they can help solve it.Like it or not, global warming is a hot topic that will affect the younger generation more than anyone. So why not turn to the teacher kids love most, Ms. Frizzle! Only the Friz can boil all the hoopla down to the scientific facts in a fun and informative way. With trademark simplicity and wit, Joanna Cole explains why the earth is getting warmer, and Bruce Degen’s bright, action-filled illustrations make the science easy to understand and fun to learn. This team brings a new, improved understanding to climate change, engaging kids and empowering all.”

Image: Looking Glass Library, Mid America Books

4. Fever at the Poles

Author: Stephen Aitken

Publisher: Looking Glass Library, Mid America Books

Year of publication: 2o11

ISBN 13: 9781616416713

Recommended age range: 5 – 9 year olds

Description (from publisher): “Temperatures all over the world are rising due to climate change, especially at the North and South Poles. Provide even the youngest readers information about Earth, the changes in climate and its affects on the poles, and what they can do to help preserve our planet with Fever at the Poles. Bright, colorful illustrations and straightforward text make this topic accessible for even the youngest audience. Hot Facts and Cool Ideas sidebars provide additional information and Dr. Know experiments provide a fun look at climate.”

Image: Looking Glass Library, Mid America Books

5. Fever on the Land

Author: Stephen Aitken

Publisher: Looking Glass Library, Mid America Books

Year of publication: 2o12

ISBN 13: 9781416967873

Recommended age range: 5 – 9 year olds

Description (from publisher): “Temperatures all over the world are rising due to climate change, affecting the plant and animal life. Provide even the youngest readers information about Earth, the changes in climate and its effects on the plants and animals, and what they can do to help preserve our planet with Fever on the Land. Bright, colorful illustrations and straightforward text make this topic accessible for even the youngest audience. Hot Facts and Cool Ideas sidebars provide additional information and Dr. Know experiments provide a fun look at climate.”

Image: Looking Glass Library, Mid America Books

6. Fever in the Oceans

Author: Stephen Aitken

Publisher: Looking Glass Library, Mid America Books

Year of publication: 2o12

ISBN 13: 9781616416720

Recommended age range: 5 – 9 year olds

Description (from publisher): “Temperatures all over the world are rising due to climate change, affecting the marine life around the world. Provide even the youngest readers information about the oceans, the changes in climate and its effects on the oceans, and what they can do to help preserve our planet with Fever in the Oceans. Bright, colorful illustrations and straightforward text make this topic accessible for even the youngest audience. Hot Facts and Cool Ideas sidebars provide additional information and Dr. Know experiments provide a fun look at climate.”

Image: Little Green Books, Simon & Schuster

7. The Polar Bears’ Home

Author: Lara Bergen

Publisher: Little Green Books, Simon & Schuster

Year of publication: 2o08

ISBN 13: 9781416967873

Recommended age range: 4 – 6 year olds

Description (from publisher): “Come along on an Arctic adventure with a little girl and her father and learn all about polar bears! This 8 x 8 storybook shows how global warming affects two baby polar bear cubs and their family. Includes tips for kids on what they can do to help slow down global warming.”

8. Our House Is On Fire: Greta Thunberg’s Call to Save the Planet

Author: Jeanette Winter

Publisher: Beach Lane Books, Simon & Schuster

Year of publication: 2o19

ISBN 13: 9781534467781

Recommended age range: 3 – 8 year olds

Description (from publisher): “Learn the story of Time Person of the Year Greta Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old climate activist who has sparked a worldwide student movent and is demanding action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change—from acclaimed picture book creator Jeanette Winter.

When she was fifteen years old, Greta Thunberg’s teacher explained to her class that our climate is changing—the earth is getting warmer, the polar ice caps are melting, and life on earth is threatened. Greta was devastated. What could she do? If the grown-ups weren’t doing enough to save the planet, Greta would have to demand change herself.

So she went on strike, skipping school every Friday to sit outside of the Swedish Parliament building with a sign that read “School Strike for Climate.” At first, Greta was the only one. But gradually, more and more students joined her, until her lone protest had sparked a worldwide student movement for action on climate change.

Now, a year later, Greta is speaking to audiences of world leaders at important meetings like the United Nations Climate Conference and the World Economic Forum. She is leading the conversation on climate change and sparking worldwide conversation on how to save our planet. Greta is showing everyone that even the smallest person can make a big difference, and this picture book informs and inspires young readers who are beginning to learn about the world around them.”

9. The Problem of the Hot World

Author: Pam Bonsper

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Year of publication: 2o15

ISBN 13: 9781514648544

Recommended age range: 5 – 8 year olds

Description (from Abe Books): “Five forest friends notice they are in trouble. Their world is too hot. Plants and bees are disappearing and their beautiful trees are dying. Bear, fox, deer, mole, and owl set off on an action-packed adventure as they look for a solution to the problem. While the solution they find helps them, is it the best way to deal with climate change? Use this book to start the discussion and help children understand the impacts of global warming.”

10. How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming

Author: Lynne Cherry

Publisher: Dawn Publications, Source Books

Year of publication: 2o10

ISBN 13: 9781584691303

Recommended age range: 10 – 14 year olds

Description (from publisher): “Learn more about what climate changes means and how it’s affecting our planet in this climate book for kids! Climate change is a critical and timely topic of deep concern, here told in an age-appropriate manner, with clarity and hope. This activist book for kids shows children that they too can make a difference! When the weather changes daily, how do we really know that Earth’s climate is changing? This climate change book for kids shows the science behind the headlines—evidence from flowers, butterflies, birds, frogs, trees, glaciers and much more, gathered by scientists from all over the world, sometimes with assistance from young “citizen-scientists.” And here is what young people, and their families and teachers, can do to learn about climate change and take action!”

Student Art & Design

Ask students to create a drawing that could be used on a reusable grocery bag and promote awareness of global warming & climate change. These bags are being sold as a fundraiser to support environmental projects in the schools. We already have a 5th grade class who would like to use some of this money to start a pollinator garden at their school. Continue reading “Student Art & Design”

New resources

Books

 

The Power of Positive Stories

Teachers: don’t forget to include positive stories, poetry, and art as part of your classroom!

The recent article, ‘Environmental Storytelling‘ tells us that, instead of discouragement, ‘stories with positive role models and which focus on the positive outcomes of solutions are much more likely to inspire action to solve it.’

“It made me want to flower bomb land and do something positive and I felt happier after reading it,” said one reader.

“I felt inspired by the way the characters behaved … [the story] made me think about what I could do.”

Explore the resources listed on this site:

See the original story on EcoWatch, December 2018.

School GHG Calculator update!

We have made a few improvements to the free School GHG Calculator, including updating to newer emission factors released this year and providing more options for heating fuel. As before, it comes with complete instructions.

Doing a GHG inventory at your school is a great way to raise awareness and get students and teachers involved! Responsible high-school students can complete the entire process with minimal help, while middle-school students often require more direction. For elementary schools, the inventory can easily be done by the teachers—or you can involve local high-school students—a great opportunity for cross-age teaching!

To get your students involved in this critical issue, read the teacher guides and then contact teach-climate@sustainlv.org to request your free school GHG Calculator.

NOAA reports: 40 straight months of high temperatures

April 2018 was the 400th consecutive month of global temperatures above the 20th century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAAannounced Thursday.

This three-decade streak is not some fluke, NOAA scientists remarked.

“It’s mainly due to anthropogenic (human-caused) warming,” NOAA climatologist Ahira Sanchez told CNN. “Climate change is real, and we will continue to see global temperatures increase in the future.”

Read full article on EcoWatch…