Archive for January 2011

Snack Attack – Green Cup Challenge

January 30, 2011

Teachers  and students all over GCS are turning out the lights during the Green Cup Challenge.  GCS already makes use of wind power options from ConEd and participates in Energy Curtailment Service’s Power Down events.

“First, there is the power of the Wind, constantly exerted over the globe…. Here is an almost incalculable power at our disposal, yet how trifling the use we make of it! It only serves to turn a few mills, blow a few vessels across the ocean, and a few trivial ends besides. What a poor compliment do we pay to our indefatigable and energetic servant!” –  Henry David Thoreau

You can see how our progress compares to other schools here: (www.greencupchallenge.net) this month.  We are focusing on the ways we can save energy while we eat. Hosted by the Green Schools Alliance, we are encouraging all classrooms to consider saving energy in the following ways;

  • Turn out the lights during snack and story time
  • Don’t leave chargers plugged in when they are not in use
  • Turn off printers, monitors, and SmartBoards when not in use
  • Turn off unneeded hallway lights
  • Turn of the main bank of lights at lunch on a sunny day.
  • Walk instead of taking the elevator
  • Enjoy one of Chef Sheehan’s Green Lunches!

You can look at our Top Ten Green Tips (in the sidebar on the right) if you would like to find out even more ways to keep energy savings up and reduce our Carbon Footprint!

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Snow and Climate Change

January 28, 2011

It would seem that they don’t fit together – warmer air means more snow?  Is climate change due to increased CO2 emissions a failed hypothesis?  A lot of contradictory reports are thrown around on a snowy afternoon, and today is no exception.  An interesting set of articles have tried to find a connection between increased snowfall and climate change – both in support of this trend, and as a detraction from it’s scientific credibility.   As meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters discusses, there is evidence that warmer temperatures and more snow are related.  Here is his analysis from his blog;

Why such an unusual number of top-ten snowstorms for the Northeast in recent years?
The Northeast has seen an inordinate number of top-ten snowstorms in the past ten years, raising the question of whether this is due to random chance or a change in the climate. This year’s record snow storms were all the more unusual, as they came during La Niña conditions in the Eastern Pacific. Is it random chance, or did climate change play role? Well, it could be either, and we simply don’t know the answer. A study by Houston and Changnon (2009) on the top ten heaviest snows on record for each of 121 major U.S. cities showed no upward or downward trend in these very heaviest snowstorms during the period 1948 – 2001. It would be interesting to see if they repeated their study using data from the past decade if the answer would change. As I stated in my blog post, The United States of Snowin February, bigger snowstorms are not an indication that global warming is not occurring. The old adage, “it’s too cold to snow”, has some truth to it, and there is research supporting the idea that the average climate in the U.S. is colder than optimal to support the heaviest snowstorms. For example, Changnon et al. (2006) found that for the contiguous U.S. between 1900 – 2001, 61% – 80% of all heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches occurred during winters with above normal temperatures. The authors also found that 61% – 85% of all heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches occurred during winters that were wetter than average. The authors conclude, “a future with wetter and warmer winters, which is one outcome expected (National Assessment Synthesis Team 2001), will bring more heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches than in 1901 – 2000.” The authors found that over the U.S. as a whole, there had been a slight but significant increase in heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches than in 1901 – 2000. If the climate continues to warm, we should expect an increase in heavy snow events for a few decades, until the climate grows so warm that we pass the point where winter temperatures are at the optimum for heavy snow events.

I’ve done some other posts of interest I’ve done on snow and climate change over the past year:

Hot Arctic-Cold Continents Pattern is back (December 2010)
The future of intense winter storms (March 2010)
Heavy snowfall in a warming world (February 2010)

Jeff Masters”

Seeds of Peace

January 15, 2011

Our Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. March for Peace featured the power of children planting the seeds of peace and justice.  A new puppet was created by the upper school puppet elective depicting Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmentalist leader of the GreenBelt Movement.

Mulchfest 2011!

January 8, 2011

The Jackson Heights Mulchfest was tons of fun today.  Mayor Bloomberg stopped by, as well as the GreeNYC bird!  Click here for another article.  You can still bring your tree to a local mulcher this weekend!  Got a tree ready to go?  Click here for your closest mulching location and help the city parks be even greener!