Saturday, February 21, 2009

Earth Hour approacheth

Just received an e-mail from the "Earth Hour Team":
Dear John,

Where will you be when the lights go out?
Nosy bastards. Wherever I am, the lights will be on.
Here are some highlights of what's going on around Earth Hour 2009 as we countdown the days. . .
I'll spare you, except for this:
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU ANNOUNCES HIS SUPPORT: "Climate change is the greatest human induced crisis facing the world today. It is totally indiscriminate of race, culture and religion. It affects every human being on the planet. Earth Hour is an opportunity for every man, woman and child from all corners of the globe to come together with a united voice and make a loud and powerful statement on the issue of climate change."
What a hoor Tutu is.

Here's the Earth Hour US website. It's clunky as hell, so explore at your own risk. Notice at the bottom of the homepage the companies sponsoring the event, including Coke and Hewlett-Packard. Capitalist, meet rope.

The most interesting sections are the one designed for the kiddies (warning: sappy music starts immediately) and the teacher's guides designed to hype the event and spread gimpel wimping propaganda to yoof. From the kiddie page:
I am a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ butterfly. I migrate south up to 2000 miles and winter in the mountains in Mexico. The weather is changing in the Mexican mountains and becoming too cold and wet for me to survive.

I am a beautiful marine animal and I live in a colony called a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. I have an external skeleton. I am an animal but I look like a stone. Thousands of animals in the ocean live around me. The oceans are warming and becoming too acidic and I am dying.
From the K-2 teacher's guide:

Earth Hour Activity Sheet 1 – Earth Hour Around the Planet. What Is Earth Hour?

While you are reading What Is Earth Hour? to your students stand by the light switch and turn out the lights. Each day assign a student the responsibility to turn out the lights after everyone leaves the classroom. This reinforces and gives responsibility to this important action.

Earth Hour Activity Sheets 2 and 3 – Save Energy and Save the Planet.

Directions: This worksheet offers pictures of some of the things that use energy in our daily lives. Have the children cut along the dotted lines. Call out the object and have them paste one picture at a time onto activity sheet 3. Read how they can conserve with this object. Example: "Everyone pick the picture of the television. How can you save? Turn it off when you are not watching it."

Here are some open-ended questions to ask while students are doing this activity sheet:

•Has anyone ever eaten too much candy or cake and gotten a stomachache or not felt so good? So too much of something you like can be unhealthy, right?

•Did you know that when we drive too much or use too much electricity it can be unhealthy for our planet?

•Is climate change bad? Due to climate change we are seeing stronger hurricanes and more storms. Some farmers may not get enough rain to grow their crops: that is called a drought. Animals like the polar bear may find it hard to find food.

Earth Hour Activity Sheet 4 – At Home, If You Leave Lights On, Can It Melt Ice in the Arctic? Do the maze and read about the polar bears and the melting sea ice. This again illustrates how our actions at home can have an effect on the places far away.

Earth Hour Activity Sheet 6 - Homelink – At Home, What Can You Do?

Have the kids take this page home and do it as a family activity. Attach activity sheet 1 so they can tell their parents about participating in Earth Hour.

Grades 9-12:
The USA produces more greenhouse gases per person than any other country in the world.

It’s simple. When you burn fossil fuels you create man-made greenhouse gases. Did you know that most electric power plants, cars, trucks and airplanes burn fossil fuels? When burned, fossil fuels release CO2 into the troposphere.

In the last 100 years we’ve seen an exponential [sic] increase in the levels of CO2 in the troposphere, which has caused an increase in the global average temperature and is dramatically disrupting the climate. . . .
Mind-boggling. A few more linkies:

Right at the top of the World Wildlife Fund's page: "Almost a quarter of the world's mammals face a high risk of extinction within the next 30 years."

"Ten things for families to do when the lights are out." Never leave a burning candle unattended!

Thus far it appears that Denver is not participating. Way to go, Denvereens!

Some downloadables: Throw a party for the Earth! (Don't they know that by having three kids they're killing the planet?)

Vote Earth!

Polar Bear tracker.

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