Sustainability & Education
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Sustainability & Education
Resources For Teaching About Sustainability. For additional education related links/resources, check out,,, and
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Educating for Sustainability

Educating for Sustainability | Sustainability & Education |

Most of the links/resources on this Sustainability in Education page have been drawn from a workshop for educators (facilitated by Drs. Grinell Smith, Ellen Metzger, and Eugene Cordero at San Jose State University in July 2012.)  With the support of Dean Elaine Chin, Dr. Smith has led the effort for Sustainability in the Lurie College of Education and continues to inspire colleagues to engage in Sustainability-oriented projects and instruction. Check out these pages for continually updated links, resources, and events.

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National Action Plan for Educating for Sustainability

National Action Plan for Educating for Sustainability | Sustainability & Education |

"Approximately 25 percent of Americans go to school or college every day as students, teachers, staff, faculty and administrators.


The Center for Green Schools was established to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable and healthy places to live, learn, work and play. We believe that everyone, from the kindergartner entering the classroom to the Ph.D. student performing research in a lab, should have the ability to learn in green buildings.

When you look at our schools today, you see outdated buildings in need of repairs, burdened with unsafe toxins, dwindling budgets and outdated resources - in place of opportunity and progress. By promoting the design and construction of green schools, and by greening the operations and maintenance of existing schools, we can make a tremendous impact on student health, school operational costs and the environment.

The Center works directly with teachers, students, administrators, elected officials and communities to create programs, resources and partnerships that transform all schools into healthy learning environments.

High-performing schools result in high-performing students, and green schools go far beyond bricks and mortar. We see an opportunity to educate a new generation of leaders – sustainability natives – capable of driving global market transformation."

For National Action Plan, click on title above. For main webpage, visit link here:

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The Planet's Water Supply and Stephen Harper // via U.S Geological Service and Vancouver Observer

The Planet's Water Supply and Stephen Harper // via U.S Geological Service and Vancouver Observer | Sustainability & Education |

By Warren Bell

"This is a startling image. 

The big blue watery ball is all the world's water -- every drop. The smaller blue ball is all the world's fresh water. The tiny blue dot over Arkansas is all the water in all the rivers and lakes on the planet -- the source of almost every drop we use on a regular basis. 

Oh, and the subversive, fly-by-night, alarmist, eco-terrorist, enviro-maniac, US billionaire-funded group that propagates this utterly unsubstantiated and meaningless data?  The US Geological Service

If you wonder (for one millisecond) why Stephen Harper has muzzled Canadian environmental scientists, and why the second Omnibus Bill he pushed through Parliament -- the one that abandoned most of Canada's watercourses to fossil fuel and other industrial development -- is so profoundly dangerous, wonder no more. It's because of inconvenient facts like this.

And if you are wondering why there is growing resistance to pipelines all over this continent - pipelines that traverse thousands of watercourses and threaten their water purity with spills that can contaminate for years, then wonder no more.

It’s the irrefutable implications of images like this, too, that make people like Ethical Oil noise-box and fossil fuel booster Ezra Levant have an apoplectic fit when honored Conservative senior statesman, Preston Manning, recently acknowledged that global climate change is real.

Mr. Levant can read the writing on the wall; his power world is shrinking fast. 

How far can Stephen Harper and his companions travel into the wilderness of make-believe before his political journey comes to an end? This image says he’s heading directly for oblivion.

If he’s not, then assuredly the rest of us are."...

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Green Engineering: National Environmental Education Week - Science Buddies Blog

Green Engineering: National Environmental Education Week - Science Buddies Blog | Sustainability & Education |

By Amy Cowan, April 16th, 2014 

"From creating systems to desalinate water using solar energy to growing rooftop gardens to increase food supply and regulate building temperature, environmental engineers tackle all kinds of problems and innovate new solutions to help create a more sustainable world. Students and classes can explore environmental engineering with a range of hands-on science projects.


Talk with your students about environmental engineering and help them see how many different challenges there are that engineers can tackle by brainstorming and testing solutions. The engineering design process can help students visualize how to work on a project, step by step!


This week (April 13-19) is National Environmental Education Week (EE Week). Sponsored by Samsung, this year's EE Week celebrates the theme Greening STEM: Engineering a Sustainable World and encourages students in all grades to learn more about the ways in which engineering can be used to develop sustainable solutions.


On the EE Week website, teachers will find a plethora of resources and tools for use with students, all of which celebrate the ways in which environmental engineers tackle real-world challenges as they "make, move, and improve" the world around them. The downloadable Educator Toolkit: Engineering a Sustainable World highlights a collection of environmental engineering science projects from various online science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) sites. Suggestions for environmental engineering projects in areas of Biomimicry, Sustainable Energy & Design, Recycling & Reusable Materials, and Environmental Conservation are listed by grade to make it easy for teachers to locate projects relevant to their classes.

Science Buddies is proud to have projects included in this resource to support and encourage teachers to integrate hands-on environmental engineering lessons and activities in the classroom. In addition to project summaries, the resource includes an infographic and an overview of games and apps related to environmental engineering."... 


For full post with links to the above mentioned resources, please click title above or here:

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Summer Salmon Institute: Professional Development for Teachers - Turtle Island Restoration Network

Summer Salmon Institute: Professional Development for Teachers - Turtle Island Restoration Network | Sustainability & Education |
"Red Barn Classroom at Point Reyes National Seashore's Headquarters"
The Summer Salmon Institute is a FREE professional development training for 3rd to 5th Grade Teachers interested in incorporating watershed education into their classrooms.

The hands-on Institute integrates Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core-Based curriculum, while also giving teachers a chance to work with and learn from each other and expert educators. Teachers will leave with everything they need to meaningfully engage students in understanding their local watersheds using endangered salmon as an entry-point.

The workshop will focus on developing unique unit plans to implement in the 2014-15 school year, and ongoing staff support will be available for participants. Schools that serve low-income students may qualify for field trip funding during the school year.

The Institute is being offered for free to San Francisco Bay Area teachers by Turtle Island’s SPAWN program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Bay-Watershed Education and Training (BWET)."...


For main website, click on title above or here:


To register:

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The Truth About Idling [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Truth About Idling [INFOGRAPHIC] | Sustainability & Education |

"As part of our Turn It Off anti-idling campaign, we created this handy, shareable infographic that explains the facts about idling and why it is a crucial economic, health, and environmental issue. A small change to your daily driving habits can make a big change. Take a look, then take the pledge to stop idling and spread the word."...

For original infographic, click on title or image above.

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Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative

Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative | Sustainability & Education |
The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI) was launched in 2007 to help Michigan’s young people become stewards of the environment. Students and their teachers collaborate with local organizations to study and address important environmental issues in their communities, while they learn academic content and practice the skills of problem-solving and citizenship.


For more information and main website, click on title above or here:

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Loss of Predators in Northern Hemisphere Affecting Ecosystem Health

Loss of Predators in Northern Hemisphere Affecting Ecosystem Health | Sustainability & Education |

"A survey on the loss in the Northern Hemisphere of large predators, particularly wolves, concludes that current populations of moose, deer, and other large herbivores far exceed their historic levels and are contributing to disrupted ecosystems.


The research, published recently by scientists from Oregon State University, examined 42 studies done over the past 50 years.


It found that the loss of major predators in forest ecosystems has allowed game animal populations to greatly increase, crippling the growth of young trees and reducing biodiversity. This also contributes to deforestation and results in less carbon sequestration, a potential concern with climate change."...


For full article, click on title above or here:

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Climate Change Is Turning Produce Into Junk Food

Climate Change Is Turning Produce Into Junk Food | Sustainability & Education |
A global team led by a Harvard scientist has found that heightened levels of atmospheric carbon make key staple crops -- wheat, rice, peas and soybeans -- less nutritious.


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Plantable Wrapping Paper Is Embedded With Seeds / Eden's Paper / Springwise

Plantable Wrapping Paper Is Embedded With Seeds / Eden's Paper / Springwise | Sustainability & Education |

"Eden's Paper curbs festive waste by enabling consumers to plant their wrapping and grow vegetables after they've finished swapping gifts."




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San Francisco School's Gambit on Green Guru Pays Off / SF Gate

San Francisco School's Gambit on Green Guru Pays Off / SF Gate | Sustainability & Education |

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Solar Power: The Hottest New Thing For Homeowners

Solar Power: The Hottest New Thing For Homeowners | Sustainability & Education |

"Increasing numbers of U.S. homeowners are relying on the sun to meet much of their hot water and electricity needs. In fact, residential electricity produced by solar in the first quarter of 2013 was almost 10 times higher than that generated in 2008, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
But the potential for more is huge.
Consider this: "The amount of solar energy falling on the United States in one hour of noontime summer sun is about equal to the annual U.S. electricity demand," the Energy Department says in its SunShot Vision Study."
Full article:

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E-books for Climate Education

E-books for Climate Education | Sustainability & Education |
Bring science to life at the touch of a fingertip. Download the latest iBooks Textbooks from KQED! Explore STEM topics and careers through real-world examples.
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Three Ways Citizens United Helped Undermine Science Policy Debates // The Equation

Three Ways Citizens United Helped Undermine Science Policy Debates // The Equation | Sustainability & Education |

"Five years ago next week the Supreme Court issued a decision that would soon have major impacts on our political system.  In Citizens United v. FEC, the court ruled that spending limits violated free speech, opening the floodgates to vastly increased political spending by corporate interests.

As we know, money can equal influence and when funders’ goals don’t align with scientific understanding, we can get policy results that don’t rely on science—outcomes that may not be in the public’s interest.

But more than just the tremendous amounts of money now in our political system, Citizens United also increased the amount of secret money in our system, an outcome that undermines our democracy. The public deserves to know who is influencing public policy that affects all of us.

Overall, the Supreme Court decision helped paved the way for more dark money in political debates. Here are three science policy debates that have been affected by a large influx of often secret money working against the science.

1. Climate change and clean energy policies

Political and corporate interference in policy debates around climate change predates the 2010 court decision by a long shot. The Citizens United decision did, however, up the ante.  As we’ve noted before on this blog, corporate interests have worked to defeat policy proposals that would have limited carbon emissions or promoted renewable energy.

A report released last week from Common Cause, “Whose Government? Whose Voice?” shows how Citizens United helped undermine these efforts to address climate change along with other policy debates. In the court decision’s wake, the fossil fuel industry created ‘social welfare’ groups that can lobby aggressively, but don’t need to disclose their donors. The result? A wave of undisclosed dollars pouring into state and local policy debates that work to defeat clean energy and climate policies. In the 2014 elections, the energy sector reportedly spent nearly $100 million, not including the dark money spending they aren’t required to disclose. Groups including the American Petroleum Institute (API), the American Energy Alliance (AEA), and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) increased their political spending by 25% from 2010 to 2012 and bought “issue ads” targeting lawmakers and their energy policies. These efforts, along with a newly formed Political Action Committee created by API, helped block state efforts around promoting renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions.

2. Soda taxes and sugar limits

Sugar, sugar, everywhere, and there is nothing else to drink. Increased public awareness of the health effects of sugar in recent years has led many cities around the country to propose policies that would address this growing public health threat. One such policy is a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. But since a soda tax stands to affect the beverage industry, we saw a tremendous influx of money pour into local policy debates from Richmond, California, to Telluride, Colorado.

An investigation from the Center for Public Integrity this week found that the soda industry, led by the American Beverage Association, whose members include PepsiCo and the Coca-Cola Company, hired a public relations firm to create industry front groups in cities with active soda tax debates. CPI reported that one resident of Richmond observed, “We didn’t have the manpower to fight against all of that messaging, they were so pervasive and so persuasive.”

3. Local hydraulic fracturing policies

With limited federal regulation of unconventional oil and gas development, states and towns are left to identify and enact policies to protect residents and provide adequate oversight of operations. Blindsided by the fast pace of development, many town have opted for bans or moratoria on drilling until they can collect enough data to make informed decisions about if and how development should occur. With the passage of several local moratoria, the oil and gas industry stepped up its game and became more involved in local debates across the country.

In October a leaked tape from the Western Energy Alliance revealed that industry representatives heard a presentation by Rick Berman, who runs a public relations firm for big industries facing PR problems, urging them to fund a secret campaign to undermine efforts to ban or regulate oil and gas development. In 2013, industry-affiliated groups in Colorado dumped more than $1 million into local ballot measures in four Colorado towns in 2013. Though the bans and moratoria carried in the final votes, industry groups continue to try and influence local debates on hydraulic fracturing from Texas to California.

Citizens United might not have allowed for such industry influence in local policy debates, but it certainly changed the game.

Citizens United is having negative impacts…now what?

The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United opened the floodgates to increased political spending by the private sector, undermining the role of science in policy debates. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In five years of post-Citizens United policy debates, it’s clear that the Supreme Court decision has expanded the influence of secret money on our political system—drowning out voices in favor of science-based policies, our health, and the public interest."...




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Green Ninja: Footprint Renovation

"While a man sleeps, his feet grow to a gigantic size due to the carbon footprint of his home. The Green Ninja - a climate action superhero, is called in to help." 


Featured on The Guardian Post Blog:
Could the Green Ninja become the New Captain Planet?


and on GOOD: "Meet Green Ninja: A Smokey The Bear for Climate Change"   

Emma Lacey's curator insight, March 12, 2014 3:26 AM

This is a great clip exploring ways that carbon foot print can be reduced around the house.  

The simple cartoon would be appropriate for grades 2-4. While the clip is simple and relatively short, technology has been used effectively and as a result it is engaging and provides the information in a way which students find enjoyable.

The clip also highlights different forms of technology, such as energy saving light bulbs and water saving filters, which has helped with sustainability. Class discussions and further research can provide a deeper understanding of these and other technologies.  

The clip can be used in various ways in the classroom; for younger students the information may be substantial to form lessons off, while older grades may use it as a foundation on which deeper understanding can be developed.

The Australian Curriculum has embedded sustainability throughout its content descriptors and its rationale, exploring how technology can impact this.    

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All Big Things Start Small // Blog

All Big Things Start Small // Blog | Sustainability & Education |

(Photo caption: Preschool students at Edgewood School have the option to enroll in Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools’ nature-based preschool. Photo credit: Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools)

"Note: U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognizes schools, districts and postsecondary institutions that are 1) reducing environmental impact and costs; 2) improving health and wellness; and 3) teaching environmental education. To share innovative practices in these three ‘Pillars,’ the Department conducts an annual Green Strides Best Practices Tour of honorees.

Recently I was at Edgewood School in Prior Lake, Minn., where preschoolers were sitting on tiny tree stumps in an outdoor classroom custom-made just for them. They loved their little chairs and were completely engaged in the morning meeting with their teacher. Seeing these littlest ones learning so effectively in nature got me thinking about how one small initiative can grow into something much bigger.

The Environmental Education (EE) programs at Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools started out in just this way: one small effort at one school. Yet this year we found ourselves showcasing our districtwide EE programs during the recent Green Strides Best Practices Tour of Five Hawks and Jeffers Pond Elementary.

On any given day in Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools, you will find teachers and students outside, certainly for recreational activities – but also for science, math, reading, even art. Environmental Education is embedded into nearly all curricular areas, districtwide.

Visitors often ask, “How did you make this happen in all of your schools?” The answer is, we started small. Five Hawks Elementary set the stage for EE programming with teachers who are passionate about helping students build critical thinking skills, fostering a love for the environment and getting students outdoors.

One of the first things they did was plan an annual Outdoor Learning Festival, where students do hands-on activities, taking water samples, studying leaf structure and entomology, and much more.

The success of that program got a lot of attention and led staff, parents and school board members to embed environmental education into our district’s Strategic Plan, which will guide the expansion of our environmental focus."...

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EPA Confirms Controversial Pesticide Can Harm Bees

EPA Confirms Controversial Pesticide Can Harm Bees | Sustainability & Education |
A new report evaluates how residues of a controversial type of pesticide, known as a neonicotinoid, affect bee health. 

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Growing Up Green (Documentary Trailer)

Documentary by Bob Gliner
"Growing Up Green profiles a unique statewide, hands-on environmental education program in Michigan, the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative. For the very first time, both rural and urban schools across the state are working to increase academic performance by involving students in local efforts to improve the environments they inhabit.

High school students in an interdisciplinary science and math class in Houghton developed ROV’s (remotely operated vehicles) to use in underwater explorations looking for invasive species. Across the state in Alpena, elementary school students use similar ROV’s to aid Fish and Game biologists in their research.


In Lansing and nearby Grand Rapids, elementary and high school students raise salmon in their classrooms, then restock local rivers, weaving science, math, history and art though their year-long curriculum. In Muskegon, elementary students plant a former dump site with non-invasive species, restoring a natural habitat, while learning valuable watershed lessons.


In Detroit's inner city, high school students renovate 800 houses with energy saving devices as part of their science and math program, while Detroit middle school students perform regular 'tire sweeps' of the neighborhood around their school, helping a local nonprofit in its recycling and poverty alleviation efforts. Professional development is offered through nine hubs to help teachers facilitate inquiry-based learning and problem-solving, and to sustain school-community partnerships."... 


For trailer, click on video or title above. 

For documentary website, click here:


For more more about the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, visit:



Purchase an enhanced DVD licensed for college, school, library or community use, from The Video Project:

Tamyka Mills's curator insight, June 5, 2014 11:03 PM

You can view the trailer at this address: 

and you can view the initiative in more detail at this address: 


The 'Growing up Green' initiative is a environmental program where students participate in hands-on programs where they work to sustain the environment, our community and our Earth in real life activities where students are actively involved in investigating, contributing, altering and measuring the success of activities that have completed. students participate in activities such as raising fish for release in river systems, creating underwater vehicles for investigations, recording animal sightings etc.  This would be a great program to introduce and trial in school communities as students are learning about their environment and all incorporated factors in hands-on real life situations. Students incorporate the key learning areas throughout the year into the activities where they have real life applications. students are learning about the environment, the technology behind sustainability as well as applying their knowledge of sustainability and technology into applications that they can utilize in real-life situation. This program is based around incorporating theory into hands-on approaches where students are immersed in the issues facing our environment, community and our wold in authentic activities. 


This program aligns with the Australian Curriculum: Sustainability for OI.2, OI.4 and OI.6 where students learn that The sustainability of ecological, social and economic systems is achieved through informed individual and community action that values local and global equity and fairness across generations into the future. students are also learning that the dependence of living things on healthy ecosystems, and value diversity and social justice are essential for achieving sustainability as well as All life forms, including human life, are connected through ecosystems on which they depend for their wellbeing and survival. (ACARA, 2014).


This program also aligns with with the Digital Technologies of the Australian Curriculum: Technology where students identify how people design and produce familiar products, services and environments and consider sustainability to meet personal and local community needs (ACTDEK001), where students Investigate the suitability of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment for a range of purposes (ACTDEK013). (ACARA, 2014). 

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Five Ways to Develop “Ecoliteracy”

Five Ways to Develop “Ecoliteracy” | Sustainability & Education |
Daniel Goleman, Lisa Bennett, and Zenobia Barlow explain how we can teach kids to care deeply about the environment.


For full post, click on title above. 

Tamyka Mills's curator insight, March 11, 2014 9:11 PM

One of the best ways to engage students is to immerse them in scenarios and situations where they are met with a dilemma that occurs in everyday lives around the world. A teacher (Joan Wright-Albertini) of a first grade class does just this. This classroom activity is a great way to allow students curiosity to run wild, develop a sense of responsibility and care for the environment as well as learning about sustainability through real life situations. This website gives teachers a great idea on how to teach students about sustainability in a way that appeals to them, involves them and teaches them about sustainability. The activity is delivered in a way that is appropriate to the age group and includes the children in the learning process. 


This article/report aligns with the Australian Curriculum: Sustainability for first grade students as the students are learning about "Actions for a more sustainable future reflect values of care, respect and responsibility, and require us to explore and understand environments".


The article/report also aligns with the digital technologies of the Australian Curriculum: Technology for Foundation to Year 2 students where students "Consider sustainability to meet personal and local community needs (ACTDEK001)".

Peter Albion's comment March 30, 2014 9:50 AM
First link is broken. Try
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Food: Too Good To Waste | Zero Waste Palo Alto

Food: Too Good To Waste | Zero Waste Palo Alto | Sustainability & Education |

"Zero Waste Palo Alto’s mission is to help the community reach its Zero Waste goal of virtually eliminating waste being burned or buried. Zero Waste goes beyond recycling – it’s a systems approach that first seeks to eliminate waste wherever possible, and then manages discards through reuse and recycling.

Zero Waste: 

* Recognizes that "waste" is not inevitable

*Recognizes that discarded materials are valuable resources
* Goes beyond "end of pipe" strategies
*Maximizes recycling and composting
* Improves consumptionDesigns "waste" out of the system
* Requires participation by the whole community


Attempting to eliminate waste is an ambitious goal, but there are actions everyone in the community can take to help achieve Zero Waste. Take a look around our site and learn the various ways you can make Zero Waste a reality. We have a variety of resources to help you get started!"

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Health of oceans 'declining fast'

Health of oceans 'declining fast' | Sustainability & Education |
The health of the world’s oceans is deteriorating even faster than scientists previously thought, a report says.

Green Ninja's curator insight, October 4, 2013 2:39 PM

One of our upcoming Green Ninja films is focused on this subject.  It's called 'The Baiting Game' and uses puppets to tell the story.

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24 Hours Of Reality – The Cost Of Carbon

24 Hours Of Reality – The Cost Of Carbon | Sustainability & Education |
Join us October 22 & 23 as we travel around the world, identifying the costs of carbon pollution, and the solution that can change the course of our future.
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Food wastage footprint © FAO:

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Obama proposes new carbon limits

Obama proposes new carbon limits | Sustainability & Education |
US president Barack Obama unveils a proposal to limit carbon emissions on new coal and gas power plants built in the US.
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Sobering New Climate Report for California | KQED Science

Sobering New Climate Report for California | KQED Science | Sustainability & Education |

"'An immediate and growing threat.'

That’s how California’s lead environmental agency — and the Governor’s office — describe climate change in the latest in a series of periodic reports on the subject. The report cites “already discernible impacts of climate change” and attempts to pinpoint the main drivers — no pun intended. In California, nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector — trains, planes and automobiles, and the last in particular.

According to the report from the state Environmental Protection Agency, the annual average temperature in California has risen about 1.5 degrees (F) — but the state isn’t warming up uniformly. Parts of the Central Valley and Southern California are heating up faster; the hot are getting hotter. And a particularly insidious aspect of warming: overnight low temperatures are rising twice as fast as daytime highs. This has clear implications for agriculture, as many important cash crops, like stone fruits, need a certain amount of “chill time” to produce bountiful, quality fruit. Warmer nights put more pressure on the electric grid as air conditioners run longer, and also limit recovery time during hot spells, worsening the effects of heat waves."...

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