Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fueling Students with the right eco-Information

I'm excited to be attending yet another spoke on the Fuel wheel -- a reception with a rare appearance by Sir Richard Branson in support of the curriculum that was created from the movie Fuel. Though it's part of the events for Climate Change NYC week, and attended by folks like Council Member Jim Gennaro of Queens (seen here with Green Drinks NY founder, Margaret Lydecker), this will be a national green curriculum.

Designed to meet national educational standards, the curriculum came about from strong requests by FUEL theatergoers. I know. I was one of them, asking about that at the very first screening in NYC. Education is key. For now... For sustainability... For kids to grow into a "business as usual" frame of mind about living green. I was so passionate about what I learned when I saw the film at its NY premier, that I blogged twice about algae, tweeted about it, etc. It's eye-opening and keenly important.

The reception kicked off with Josh Tickell introducing The Climate Group CEO Steve Howard
who talked about how "if I were a young person, but I'm not" --"yes you are!," interjected Sir Branson -- he'd want to improve and visualize the world a better place..." the point of zero impact flights.
"That's why this is such an inspirational endeavor. It's about giving hope to kids."
Then Josh talked about how personal a journey making Fuel was for him, growing up in a toxic area of the south. It didn't begin with a global awareness, but rather a personal one. Fuel is the story of his search for alternative solutions for the past 23 years.
"But it's also an allegory for us taking the journey... and learning to live together peaceably and sustainably."
Rebecca Harrell explained how the curriculum was developed, which included having students build their OWN working bio-fueled cars. Since this curriculum wasn't required, they created a Web site of open source knowledge. She and Josh presented Sir Richard Branson with the first ever award for earth educator, who talked about how Steve Howard told him "inconveniently" about climate change. He realized he needed to take action. We have a "major task to try to tackle global warming:
"For the film to have moved into an education basis is fantastic because there's so much missing information," he said.
Josh introduced Council Member Gennaro has been instrumental in inspiring the people of NYC to collect and use veggie fuel, for one thing. he wrote and passed NYC's climate change bill with a mandate of 30% reduction in overall sector by 2030. Now we're trying to retrofit all of NYC's stock of buildings to be greener.

At that point, we headed outside to the waiting Algaeus, the world's first algae gas powered blug in hybrid, which was the first to cross the U.S. powered by green critters! They poured the final gallon of alternative fuel into the car.

Then we got to tour the
van made famous by the Sundance winning movie and Letterman -- the Veggie Van!

It was a great event. See Jon Vachon's pix (better than mine!) here.

Reminds me that a green curriculum isn't just for kids.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Miss Manners is Rolling her Eyes

I don't always keep my elbows off the table. Sometimes I opt for the easy email reply vs. a handwritten thank you...or worse, forget to do either. I'm sure I can think of other manners-shortcomings -- just none I'm willing to cop to right here.

But I have never threatened to shove a tennis ball down someone's throat, or jumped on stage to steal the glory from someone making a gracious acceptance speech. And even some time since 4th grade, I've probably called someone a liar. But this was a bad week for high profile people forgetting their manners in a massive way.

We are on a slippery slope of letting some of our role models get away with murder -- or at the very least character assassination -- with some people applauding the temper and disrespect excused as "passion" of Joe Wilson, Serena Williams and Kanye West. Was it a full moon? It's really hard to keep cool under pressure, but these are people we've elected or elevated to celebrity status, or who are USED to major pressure (er, we're talking "World Champion" pressure.) I don't know how or what we'd censure, but I think just being aware of it, posting or tweeting about it, and not letting them off the hook with a shoulder shrug is a start. At least most of the comments about Kanye on CNN's Facebook page were more condeming. But where's the remorse? It takes a big person to make a big and sincere apology.

It's scary to lose it. We've all done it to a degree. Words you can't take back in an argument. Getting frustrated in traffic. Throwing the spaghetti against the wall. (Wait, I said I wasn't going to mention that.) Our personal Lizzie Grubman Moments. Times when better judgement is sadly obfuscated by the heat of the moment. And it can change everything -- like your whole life. There are TV shows based on those moments.

Maybe the trick is meditating? Maybe a little group therapy? I for one would pay to see Joe, Serena and Kanye in school with Miss Manners. Then again, maybe she should have a regular program in addition to her forum and columns. We could all use a refresher course in what shouldn't be tolerated before we all become social flunk outs.