When the Steaks Are High
Main Topic of Video: An overview of the lessons we have learned from Green Ninja about combating climate change through personal action.
- What do you know about climate change?
- What are some personal actions that contribute to climate change?
- What are some ways you can help combat climate change?
- What does Green Ninja believe in?
- How does painting roofs white help combat climate change?
- How can you conserve water at home?
- How can your lawn be changed to help your community?
- What does Green Ninja believe can be better about our transportation options?
- What is Green Ninja’s primary mission?
- What is his main goal and why?
- What does the boy do in the end to help Green Ninja’s mission?
- Were there any ideas presented in the video that your family already uses?
- Which of the ideas in the video do you think are the easiest to implement in your family?
- Working with a partner, create an acrostic poem using the words “climate change”. Incorporate ideas that were presented in the video.
- Why is Green Ninja’s mission so important?
ANSWERS TO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- Answers will vary depending on student experience. It might be helpful to check the local paper to review the recent articles that have been disseminated in your community.
- Answers will vary depending on student experience. Students might mention driving cars, taking long showers, dietary choices, using the air conditioning, or many others.
- Answers will vary depending on previous education around climate change. Students might come up with taking shorter showers, using public transportation, riding a bike, eating locally grown foods, turning the thermostat down in the winter or up in the summer, and many others.
- Green Ninja believes in creating a healthy planet (healthy eating is one of the choices a person can make towards that goal).
- It keeps buildings cooler and reduces the use of air conditioning.
- Installing grey water (recycled water) systems for watering plants.
- Converting monoculture grass gardens to edible vegetables gardens that can feed the neighborhood.
- Green Ninja is a proponent of electric vehicles and effective and clean public transportation. He also helps design roads to encourage more walking and bike riding.
- Reduce the emissions of heat-trapping gases such as the CO2 released from electricity generation.
- Because he cannot solve the issue of global warming on his own, his main goal is to help people make informed decisions about the foods they eat, the products they buy, the decisions they make in the workplace, and choices made at home.
- He chooses to eat a veggie burger with humus, rather than a cheeseburger. He makes an informed decision about the food he eats. This choice is a low carbon option because it uses local, seasonal, and organic produce.
- Answers will vary.
- Students will most likely mention changes to diet as one of the easiest changes they can personally implement—eating fewer animal products and more locally grown, seasonal vegetables.
- An acrostic poem is one where each letter in a word (or words) spells out something of meaning to the word. An example has been started below.
C onsidering the impact on the environment
L eads us to a more sustainable planet
I deas for the Earth
M ake change possible…
- Green Ninja’s mission is important because it is only through our many personal actions that a positive change can occur. People have to act in their personal lives in order for us to lessen our impact on climate change.
ADDITIONAL TOPICS AND LEARNING EXPERIENCES
NASA’s Climate Kids website offers information on a variety of topics related to climate change, including coral bleaching and an introduction to the greenhouse gases.
The California Education and the Environment Initiative has many great resources for the teaching of climate change. The units are free to download (some require a password, which has to be requested by a teacher) and are targeted to different grade levels. The following units do not require a password:
- Responding to Environmental Change (7th grade science)
- The Greenhouse Effect on Natural Systems (Earth Science, high school)
Green Ninja helps lower energy bills by painting roofs white. Research shows that this technique is more effective in some parts of the country (namely, the south) than in others (the north) due to differences in winter heating needs. Planting rooftop gardens or installing living roofs is another way to modify buildings to benefit our climate, though painting white roofs is a cheaper option. One of the additional benefits of a living roof is a neutralization of acidic rainwater. A more detailed discussion of these issues can be found in an article on the Scientific American website.
When discussing the impact of roof color on energy retention and reflection, it is important to learn about the scientific term albedo (the amount of light reflected off of the Earth’s surface).
The following graphics are from Miami University in Ohio and both visually and quantitatively describe the albedo of different surfaces.
Another topic of importance to Green Ninja is the use of grey (or recycled) water, especially in places like California, which undergo severe droughts. Here is a summary of the practice from the Water Education Foundation.
“Gray water, also spelled as grey water, is water that already has been used domestically, commercially and industrially. This includes the leftover, untreated water generated from clothes washers, bathtubs and bathroom sinks.”
Here is a link to a short video on greywater recycling.
The greywater action collaborative has information, scientific papers, and suggestions for action on this issue.
The Green Ninja video guide to “Seep Off the Grass” provides additional water education resources.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has a comprehensive description of farming practices and research. From this article, monoculture is defined thusly:
“At the core of industrial food production is monoculture—the practice of growing single crops intensively on a very large scale. Corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton and rice are all commonly grown this way in the United States.”
When the video referred to monoculture, it was in a slightly different context–the practice of seeding and maintaining grass lawns.
The issue of using electric cars and improving public transportation is one that students are most likely familiar with. Energy.gov provides 10 interesting facts relevant to electric cars (for example, they require little maintenance and the battery is the most expensive part).
Ask students to research the public transportation options available to them from their house. They can determine how to get to the doctor, grocery store, or other areas of interest. Many cities have useful public transit apps for smartphones that can be helpful.
The Green Ninja video guide to “Iron Green Chef” provides additional resources for eating seasonally and the impact of our food choices on carbon emissions.
The Green Ninja video guide to “Coach Climate” provides additional climate change resources, including the following:
KQED has a list of 10 great climate change resources for education. Two of the resources among them are:
- NASA’s Climate Time Machine website allows students to explore climate indicators, and how they’ve changed over time.
- The Union of Concerned Scientists produced the Climate Hot Map, which provides visualization for the impacts of climate change around the world
Ted-Ed has an entire series of videos about our changing climate—from species adaptability to an in-depth look at the carbon cycle. Each video has user-generated questions and discussion groups.
Credit: This teacher resource has been adapted from content originally developed by Lee Pruett.