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Learn how to teach climate change to K-8 students with free online course

Climate Change for educators
EdX screenshot

Just came across this powerful resource. Enjoy!

Sign up for new IDB free online course on:
Climate Change Education

In this course you will learn how to teach climate change to elementary and middle school students in a constructive and fun way by promoting mitigation and adaptation actions in your school.

You’ll learn:

The basic science behind climate change;
The main consequences of climate change for water, energy, landscape, soil and health;
The tools for positive, attractive and participative teaching;
Ethical and social issues related to climate change.
If you are a teacher or if you are interested in climate change, this course is for you!

Format: Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
Start date: April 27, 2017
Duration: 7 weeks
Effort: 3-4 hours per week
Cost: Free

EPA rebates fund cleaner schoolbuses in 5 New Jersey towns and 88 fleets around the US

Healthy-Buses-Healthy-Kids
Source: http://gasp-pgh.org

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today awarded more than $7.7 million to replace or retrofit 401 older diesel school buses. The funds are going to 88 school bus fleets in 27 states, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new and retrofitted buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage.

In New Jersey, the five school systems that receiving retrofit funding are Orange, Lakewood, North Brunswick, Wall and Toms River.

“Thanks to DERA funding, we are protecting our children from breathing diesel emissions as they travel to school,” said Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “Nearly 17,000 of our country’s schools are located within steps of a heavily traveled road, potentially exposing more than six million children to traffic-related pollution at a time when their developing lungs are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution.”

Applicants replacing buses with engine model years of 2006 and older will receive rebates between $15,000 and $25,000, depending on the size of the bus. Applicants also had the option of retrofitting school buses with engine model years between 1994 to 2006 with a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst plus Closed Crankcase Ventilation system (DOC plus CCV) to reduce toxic emissions. EPA will fully fund the cost of these devices up to $4,000.

EPA has implemented standards to make newer diesel engines more than 90 percent cleaner, but many older diesel school buses are still operating. These older diesel engines emit large amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, which are linked to instances of aggravated asthma, lung damage and other serious health problems. 

The full list of 2016 DERA school bus rebate recipients are:

State  City     Selectee Funding   Buses
AZ Marana Marana Unified School District #6 $465,000  20
CA Moorpark Moorpark Unified School District $25,000 1
CA Soquel Santa Cruz City Schools  $155,000 9
CA Tulare Sundale Union Elementary School $20,000 1
CO Glenwood Springs Yampah Mountain High School $20,000 1
CT Ashford Town of Ashford $20,000 1
FL  Orlando School Board of Orange County, FL $240,000 20
FL Fort Pierce The School Board of Saint Lucie County $200,000 10
IA Bondurant Bondurant-Farrar Community School District $70,000 3
IA Lawton Lawton-Bronson Community School District $80,000 4
IA Sioux City Sioux City Community School District $20,000 1
IL St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 $20,000 1
IL Frankfort Lincoln Way Area Special Education District 843 $75,000 5
IL Mt Vernon Spring Garden School District 178 $20,000 1
IN Greensburg Decatur County Community Schools $75,000 3
IN Waterloo DeKalb County Central United School District $100,000 5
IN Goshen Fairfield Community Schools $40,000 2
IN  Gary Incandescent Transportation Solutions LLC $25,000 1
IN Versailles South Ripley School Corporation $55,000 3
KS Emporia Unified School District # 253 $40,000 2
KS  Sublette Unified School District # 374 $20,000 1
KS Ottawa      Unified School District # 290 $40,000 2
LA Alexandria Rapides Parish Schools Board $100,000 5
ME Kennebunk Regional School Unit 21 $160,000 8
ME Sullivan Regional School Unit 24 $40,000  2
MI Haslett Haslett Public Schools $60,000 3
MI Hudsonville Hudsonville Public Schools $60,000 3
MI Whittemore Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools $60,000 3
MO Jamestown Jamestown C-1 School $55,000 3
MO Louisiana Louisiana RII Schools District $25,000 1
MO  Sullivan Sullivan School District $40,000 2
MO Wheaton Wheaton R III School $40,000 2
NE Arlington Arlington Public Schools $20,000 1
NE Wahoo Wahoo Public Schools $20,000 1
NJ Orange Belair Transport Inc. $145,000 7
NJ Lakewood Klarr Transport Service Inc. $200,000 10
NJ North Brunswick North Brunswick Township Board of Education $85,000 5
NJ  Wall Student Transportation of America $200,000 10
NJ Toms River Toms River Regional Schools $180,000 9
NY Brocton Brocton Central School District $40,000 2
NY Belmont Genesee Valley CSD $20,000 1
NY Huntington Station Huntington Coach Corporation  $200,000 10
NY  Huntington Station Huntington Coach LLC  $200,000 10
NY Craryville Taconic Hills Central School District $20,000 1
NY  Verona Vernon Verona Sherrill Central Schools $60,000 3
NY Whitesboro Whitesboro Central School District $30,000 2
OH Sullivan Black River Local Schools $20,000 1
OH Rawson Cory-Rawson Local Schools $70,000 3
OH Lynchburg Lynchburg Clay Local Schools $60,000 3
OH Thornville Northern Local School District  $60,000 3
OH Andover Pymatuning Valley Local School $80,000 4
OH Canton Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities $60,000 3
OK Boswell Boswell Public Schools $20,000 1
OR  Lakeview Lake County School District #7 $40,000 2
OR Pendleton Mid Columbia Bus Co. Inc  $180,000 9
PA Carlisle Deitch Buses Inc. $80,000  4
PA Glenmoore George Krapf, Jr. & Sons, Inc. $60,000 3
PA Philadelphia School District of Philadelphia $165,000 10
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Anderson 1 School District) $100,000 5
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Charleston County School District) $200,000 10
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Chester County School District)  $40,000 2
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Colleton County School District) $140,000 7
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Dorchester 4 County School District)  $80,000 4
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Greenville County School District) $200,000 10
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Kershaw County School District) $100,000 5
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Lexington 4 County School District) $80,000 4
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Orangeburg 5 County School District) $80,000 4
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Spartanburg 3 County School District) $40,000 2
SC Columbia SCDOE (For Spartanburg 6 County School District) $80,000 4
SD Hayti Hamlin Public School District $20,000  1
TX Rockport Aransas County ISD $105,000 5
TX Uvalde Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District $20,000 1
UT St. George Washington County School District $250,000 10
UT West Haven Weber School District $100,000  5
VA Alexandria Alexandria City Public Schools $64,000 16
VA Charlotte Court House Charlotte County Public Schools $100,000  5
VA Norfolk Norfolk Public Schools $200,000 10
VA Salem Roanoke County Public Schools $215,000 10
WA Vancouver Evergreen Public Schools $235,000 10
WA Lind Lind-Ritzville Transportation Co-Op $20,000 1
WA Longview Longview Public School District #122 $95,000 4
WA Northport Northport School District $20,000 1
WA Quincy Quincy School District No. 144 $50,000 2
WA Sumner Sumner School District $20,000 1
WI Spencer Burnett Transit $40,000 2
WI Dousman Dousman Transport Co., Inc.  $200,000 10
WI Beloit  School District of Beloit Turner $40,000 2
WI Shell Lake School District of Shell Lake  $20,000 1

For more information about this rebate program, visit http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-rebates.

Kimi Wei liked this post

In 2nd agreement, Volkswagen recalls 83,000 diesel vehicles & settles on emissions cheating scandal

No more lies
Source: GreenPeace via Twitter
WASHINGTON – In a second partial settlement announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the State of California, automakers Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, Porsche AG and related entities (collectively referred to as Volkswagen), have agreed to recall 83,000 model year 2009 through 2016 3.0 liter diesel vehicles sold or leased in the U.S. that are alleged to be equipped with “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests, in violation of the Clean Air Act and California law. For the older vehicles, Volkswagen is required to offer to buy back the vehicles or terminate leases, and must also offer an emissions modification to substantially reduce emissions if one is proposed by Volkswagen and approved by regulators. For the newer vehicles, if Volkswagen demonstrates it can make the vehicles compliant with the certified exhaust emission standards, it will have to fix the vehicles and will not be required to buy the vehicles back. Volkswagen is also required to spend $225 million to fund projects that will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx).

Today’s partial settlement does not resolve any pending claims for civil penalties, nor does it address any potential criminal liability. The settlement also does not resolve any consumer claims, claims by the Federal Trade Commission, or claims by individual owners or lessees who may have asserted claims in the ongoing multidistrict litigation. The state of California has secured a separate resolution for the 3.0 liter violations that addresses issues specific to vehicles and consumers in California.

The affected older vehicles (referred to as “generation 1” vehicles) are the 2009 through 2012 Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7 diesel models. The affected newer vehicles (referred to as “generation 2” vehicles) are the 2013-2016 Volkswagen Touareg diesels, 2013 through 2015 Audi Q7 diesels, 2013 through 2016 Porsche Cayenne diesels, and 2014 through 2016 Audi A6 quattro, A7 quattro, A8, A8L and Q5 diesel models.

“EPA has a public health imperative to hold Volkswagen accountable and remedy the illegal pollution their cars put into the air,” said Cynthia Giles, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “From the start, our team vigorously pursued this case to ensure these cars were fixed or taken off the road. Today we’ve secured another important settlement that delivers on EPA’s essential public health mission.”

“The settlement marks another significant step in holding Volkswagen accountable for cheating Americans out of the promise of cleaner air by selling vehicles equipped with defeat devices,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden. “This consent decree provides a remedy for every affected vehicle which will be removed from the road or meet enforceable standards that will reduce emissions, and will also require VW to provide additional funding to address the harmful impacts to human health and the environment from VW’s violations.”

“This settlement highlights the fact that cheating to get a car certified has consequences for air quality and the public’s health — and that cheaters will be caught and held accountable, said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. “Because California is able to enforce its vehicle regulations, CARB was instrumental in uncovering the cheating in the 3-liter, and before that, in the 2-liter diesel engines. The mitigation in this settlement will now help California address its serious air quality and climate challenges with a focus on putting the very cleanest vehicles in disadvantaged communities where they are needed most.”

According to the civil complaint against Volkswagen filed by the Justice Department on behalf of EPA on January 4, 2016, and amended on October 7, 2016, Volkswagen allegedly equipped its 3.0 liter diesel vehicles with illegal software that detects when the car is being tested for compliance with EPA or California emissions standards and turns on required emissions controls only during that testing process. During normal driving conditions, the software renders these emissions control systems inoperative or reduces their effectiveness, resulting in increased emissions. This is known as a defeat device. By using a defeat device, these cars meet emissions standards in the laboratory, but emit up to nine times or more above the EPA-compliant levels for NOx during normal on-road driving conditions. The Clean Air Act requires manufacturers to certify to EPA that vehicles will meet federal emissions standards. Vehicles with defeat devices cannot be certified.

Because Volkswagen cannot modify the affected 2009 through 2012 Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7 generation 1 diesel vehicles to meet EPA-certified exhaust emissions standards, the settlement requires Volkswagen to offer owners of generation 1 vehicles the option to have the company buy back the car and to offer lessees a lease cancellation at no cost. If a plan is proposed by Volkswagen and approved by EPA and CARB to substantially reduce emissions from the generation 1 vehicles, Volkswagen will also have to offer that as an option for consumers.

For the generation 2 vehicles, Volkswagen will recall and fix these vehicles so they meet their certified exhaust emissions standards, after the technical solution is approved by regulators. If after extensive testing the solution does not perform as expected and is not approved, Volkswagen must offer to buy back the vehicles. In that case, the company can also seek approval of an emissions modification plan to substantially reduce emissions and, if approved, can offer that as an additional option for generation 2 vehicles.

Under the terms of the settlement, Volkswagen must achieve an overall recall rate of at least 85% for each of the generation 1 and generation 2 vehicles recall programs or pay additional sums into the mitigation trust fund. The buyback and lease termination program for generation 1 vehicles will begin within 30 days following court approval of the settlement. Vehicle modifications will become available to eligible owners and lessees once the modifications are approved by regulators.

Vehicle owners and lessees will receive updated information from Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche concerning their available buyback or modification options after today’s settlement is approved by the court, and can also obtain information about these options at: www.VWCourtSettlement.com and www.AudiCourtSettlement.com.

The settlement requires Volkswagen to pay $225 million to fund projects across the country that will reduce emissions of NOx where the 3.0 liter vehicles were, are or will be operated. This funding is intended to fully mitigate the past and future NOx emissions from the 3.0 liter vehicles. That money will be placed in the same mitigation trust to be established under the partial settlement for the 2L vehicles. This $225 million is in addition to the $2.7 billion that Volkswagen is required to pay into that trust under the prior settlement. The mitigation trust will be administered by an independent trustee. Beneficiaries, which may include states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Indian tribes, may obtain funds for designated NOx reduction projects upon application to the trustee.

The emissions reduction program will help reduce NOx pollution that contributes to the formation of harmful smog and soot, exposure to which is linked to a number of respiratory- and cardiovascular-related health effects as well as premature death. Children, older adults, people who are active outdoors (including outdoor workers), and people with heart or lung disease are particularly at risk for health effects related to smog or soot exposure. NO2 formed by NOx emissions can aggravate respiratory diseases, particularly asthma, and may also contribute to asthma development in children.

The provisions of the settlement are contained in a proposed consent decree filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, as part of the ongoing multi-district litigation, and will be subject to public comment period of 30 days, which will be announced in the Federal Register in the coming days.

For more information: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/volkswagen-clean-air-act-partial-settlement

Mayor Baraka appoints Nathaly Agosto Filion as Newark’s Chief Sustainability Officer

newark sustainability
Source: City of Newark NJ

nathaly-filion
Source: Pinterest
The awesome Nathaly Agosto Filion has been appointed by Mayor Baraka to the position of Newark’s Chief Sustainability Officer. Big congratulations! We can look forward to exciting and impactful new innovations from this impressive young Latina.

Kimi Wei liked this post

In win for nature & native rights Obama halts Dakota Access Pipeline construction

Standing Rock protest
Source: http://michaelawoodjr.net
This weekend, 11,000 veterans including Cong. Tulsi Gabbard began their journey to join the Standing Rock Sioux and offer both solidarity and protection to indigenous Americans and allies who have been protesting the scheduled construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through sacred native lands. On Sunday, Pres. Obama announced that a final construction permit for the pipeline would not be issued:

The Obama administration said Sunday that it would deny a permit needed to complete the last leg of an oil pipeline across the Midwest, prompting cheers and whoops from opponents who have camped in the cold here … (and) the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it would deny the company the easement it needs. The agency also called for a full environmental review and re-evaluating whether the route of the pipeline should be altered.

The Young Turks reports on the administration’s decision.

Overwhelmed protestor Katie Robinson writes with joy

This is the most amazing news!!! I’m up here in Standing Rock. Our front line is celebrating. Tears of joy are streaming down faces. It was just announced the easement for the Dakota Pipeline was denied, which basically means the Pipeline CAN’T go through their Native land!!!! The Pipeline construction has STOPPED. There’s over 4,500 veterans here currently in support of the Water Protectors and more have been arriving non-stop all night and day. I couldn’t be prouder to be standing here with my brothers and sisters.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)

tulsi-gabbard
Source: WikiMedia

..took to the House floor Thursday in an impassioned plea to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline… (She) is one of the .. veterans planning to join the ongoing pipeline protests … (and) blasted the Army Corps of Engineers for granting permits for the pipeline’s construction without input from the communities most likely to suffer in the event of a spill or explosion.

The pipeline issue has been settled for now but other concerns will soon need to be addressed. Angel L. Matos writes,

If indeed the #NODAPL permit has been denied, we thank the administration for yet another better late than never action. The next order of business would seem to be identifying all those in law enforcement that abused their authority and bring their asses to justice. The amount of savagery they unleashed on these peaceful demonstrators makes me ashamed and angry. The least we can do is make sure some measure of dignity is served to those that suffered at their sadistic hands.

And the WSJ cautions that President-elect Trump supports the pipeline’s construction.

More:
CNN coverage

Janus Varela, Kimi Wei liked this post

White land terrorists get free pass while government attacks Native Americans on their own land

Stand Strong Against DAPL graphic
Source: IndigenousRising.com

This report is from an email sent out today by the Center for Biological Diversity. Its content highlights the disturbing, pervasive and systemic racism at the heart of government practices even today, after having a Black president at the helm of our country for a full eight years:

A Stunning, Dangerous Verdict After Oregon Standoff

Like almost everyone, we were stunned by last week’s “not guilty” verdicts for the Bundy brothers and other defendants following the 41-day armed takeover of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier this year.

“This is an extremely disturbing verdict for anyone who cares about America’s public lands, the rights of native people and their heritage, and a political system that refuses to be bullied by violence and racism,” said Kierán Suckling, the Center’s executive director. “The Bundy clan and their followers peddle a dangerous brand of radicalism aimed at taking over lands owned by all of us. I worry this verdict only emboldens the kind of intimidation and right-wing violence that underpins their movement.”

Particularly galling was the juxtaposition of the Oregon verdicts, which involved armed militants, with the brutal treatment of unarmed activists fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

Watch Kierán’s recent interview on DemocracyNow! and read Taylor’s McKinnon’s op-ed on the far-reaching implications of the Bundy verdicts.

Graphic from http://indigenousrising.org/yankton-siouxihanktonwan-to-host-government-to-government-consultation-with-us-army-corps-on-bakken-pipelinedapl/

Watch DiCaprio’s Before the Flood film on saving the planet from climate change for free via NatGeo

leonardo_dicraprio_before_the_flood_watch_full
Source: still from Before the Flood
Academy Award winner Leonardo DiCaprio is a UN Messenger of Peace and now a producer of the documentary Before The Flood. In this film, DiCaprio takes us on a journey to see how climate change is evolving due to human actions, and he reveals how we are empowered to act to prevent it from permanently and chaotically disrupting life on our planet for nature and people.

Before the Flood debuted on the NatGeo channel on 30 October 2016 and is available free for viewing on the National Geographic Channel and YouTube.

Talking about #BeforeTheFlood across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will earn donations to Pristine Seas and the Wildlife Conservation Society (up to $50K each)

Refrigerators that use no electricity will reduce food spoilage in dry lands

A team of researchers that began their work at MIT found a way to restructure an ancient method of food storage into a mobile, modern unit that looks like a big pizza bag and costs USD$25. It can be used by families in hot, arid regions where money and electricity is scarce to keep foods cool so they last weeks rather than days.

How it works is pretty stupendous:

In ancient times food was cooled was achieved by using terra cotta containers buried in sand. These modern Evaptainers use lightweight materials and sit on any above-ground surface, like a table. The containers’ secret sauce is an outside channel into which a liter of water is poured every two days. Slow evaporation produces major cooling in a process quite similar to our bodies’ efficient method of cooling us down through sweat.

Hat tip to Dr. Jonathan Hodges for sharing this excellent find.

Wind electricity kills many less birds than do windows, coal and cats

What's killing birds
Source: Climate Reality Project
The Climate Reality Project e-book Wind Energy Myths points out that while wind turbines do kill birds, apparently they kill many less of them than do windows in tall buildings, the coal industry … and cats.

The Washington Post reports that “Outdoor cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds a year.”

Friends, it’s getting hotter: snapshots of the globe from 1850s till now

Ed Hawkins globe snapshots
Source: Ed Hawkins. Watch out – the full map is 10MB!
University of Reading, England scientist Ed Hawkins built this graphic of snapshots of the globe’s heat temperatures from the 1950s through today with a dataset from the
UK’s Met Office, which concerns itself with meteorology. It shows global warming trends quite clearly.

Additional information here and here.