MAIN TOPIC OF VIDEO: Educating students about environmental sustainability is the key to tackling our environmental problems.
- What do you think of when you hear the words “climate change”? Or “environmental science”?
- What are some of the environmental problems that we have as a city? A country? Globally?
- Do you carry a reusable water bottle?
- How does your eating habit impact the environment?
- Where does the energy in your house come from?
- Why is the coach giving the team a pep talk?
- Give one reason why plastic bottles are bad for the environment.
- How did the Green Ninja defeat Plastic Bottle Man?
- What did Junk Food Johnny do?
- How did the Green Ninja defeat the Junk Food Johnny?
- Describe the conflict with Captain Coal.
- List at least three of the organizations that are team members.
- How is Coach Climate going to defeat climate change?
- Of all of the previous battles the Green Ninja has fought, which ones did you already know about?
- Which battle do you think is the most important?
- Can you think of one environmental problem that was not mentioned in the video, but is important to you?
- What personal actions can you take to combat climate change?
- What additional questions do you have about climate change?
ANSWERS TO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- Student answers will vary. They might hear about it at home or in the news. It is important to emphasize that climate change is not debated in the scientific community (97% of the scientists who study climate agree that it is human induced). (See the NASA position statement here).
Environmental science is a multi-disciplinary science that seeks to understand the impact of humans on the environment.
- Answers will vary, and might include: a lack of public transit options, green spaces, plastic bag use, drought, flooding, lack of resources (food, safe water, shelter, energy), and extinction.
- Answers will vary.
- Previous Green Ninja guides expand on the relationship between food and the environment. Students might know some basic connections: some foods require more land, water, and energy to produce (beef when compared to chicken, for example). Some foods are grown locally, while others are imported from far away (also requiring more energy to transport).
- Students might not know where there energy comes from, unless they use solar panels, or have a generator of some sort that requires fuel. The EPA has a “power profiler” that allows students to input a zip code to view the energy mix used by their power company. The example below is for San Jose, CA (Pacific Gas and Electric):
- The pep talk is intended to inspire the players to overcome climate change.
- Plastic bottles require fossil fuels to be produced and to be recycled. They can contribute to land pollution if they end up in landfills and contribute to water pollution by affecting the oceans and the marine life.
- The Green Ninja defeated Plastic Bottle Man by teaching young people about the benefits of using reusable water bottles.
- Junk Food Johnny tried to trick kids into eating unhealthy snacks with excess packaging.
- The Green Ninja defeated Junk Food Johnny by showing kids how fun and delicious it is to cook with fresh ingredients.
- Captain Coal tried to convince children to use energy generated from coal, rather than renewable alternatives.
- The team members include: United Nations Environment Programme, 350.org, Environmental Protection Agency, World Wide Fund for Nature, and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- Coach Climate is going to defeat climate change by educating young people. NOAA provides many examples of young citizens engaging in the climate change battle on their climate website.
- Answers will vary depending on experience.
- Answers will vary depending on experience.
- Student answers may vary, but can include: access to clean water, the extinction of species, air pollution, litter, etc.
- The EPA has suggestions for personal actions to combat climate change. At home, they include using energy efficient light bulbs, insulating your home, recycling, composting waste, and checking for a leaky toilet (among others).
- Answers will vary depending on grade level. There are many resources to help students understand climate change. This brief video by Bill Nye explains the basics of climate change.
ADDITIONAL TOPICS AND LEARNING EXPERIENCES
For more information on plastic waste, both from water bottles and packaging, see the previous green ninja video called, “Yogurt Man” with the accompanying teacher’s guide.
The EPA has a useful pamphlet on Municipal Solid Waste, including statistics for plastic waste. For example, in 2012, containers and packaging comprised 30% of the MSW in the US.
Here are some statistics about plastic bottle usage from students at the University of Utah:
One ton of recycled plastic saves:
- 5,774 kWh of electricity.
- 685 gallons of oil.
- 98 million Btu’s of energy.
- 30 cubic yards of landfill space.
Plastic takes up to 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill.
Recycling plastic takes 88% less energy than making plastic from raw materials.
Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the Earth four times.
Americans throw away 35 billion plastic bottles every year.
Only about 25% of the plastic produced in the U.S. is recycled.
If we recycled the other 75% we could save 1 billion gallons of oil and 44 million cubic yards of landfill space annually.
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.
Math Connections (9-12): NASA produces a series of workbooks that invite students to use math to solve real-world problems. Carbon dioxide increases are studied in these questions. Here is a calculus-based version of the same problem.
This is another carbon dioxide data-visualization problem from the Space Math series.
ADDITIONAL NOTES AND RESOURCES
This video, called “How Whales Change Climate”, illustrates the interconnectedness of many earth systems, specifically the importance of whales to the ocean system (and climate).
Finally, one of the most important graphs among climate scientists is the Keeling plot, which reflects direct measurements of the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere from the Mauna Loa Observatory. For up-to-date data from the Mauna Loa Observatory and an interactive map, see this NOAA webpage
Credit: This teacher resource has been adapted from content originally developed by Lee Pruett.