Archive for the ‘Community’ category

Questions about Hurricanes and Climate

November 3, 2012

First, it is wonderful to hear that our families at GCS are safe and that we can be together again on Monday.    As I read the news and listened to statements made by city officials and political leaders, I imagined that many kids had questions about how this storm relates to global warming and climate change.

Can a storm be blamed on climate change?  It must be frustrating to hear adults say, “yes and no.”  As you may have already heard, it’s complicated!  Remember that climate is a “big picture” description of how an ecosystem works, and is measured over long periods of time.  ”Weather,” including storms and heat waves, are things that happen day-to-day.  However, changes in weather patterns do indicate changes in climate.  Scientists often say that they can’t answer questions about individual storms because all the “pieces of the pattern” for climate have not yet been observed.  They do say, however, that the pattern, so far, stongly suggests climate change is happening.

Some weather and temperature patterns, like the surface ocean temperatures, and the number of days we have “heat wave” conditions, are strongly associated with a change in climate.  Other patterns, like storms, are less easy to pin down.  A warming planet should tend to have bigger, wetter, and longer -lasting storms.   Not necessarily more hurricanes, however.    Some scientists have said that Sandy’s severity can be attributed to climate change, thanks to the changes we’ve seen this season in ocean temperatures, and the loss of arctic sea ice.  I’m sure the storm will be studied extensively.

In the mean time, remember that with or without storms, NYC could be a much more sustainable city.  We could build better green buildings, have more effective waste disposal systems, protect our rivers and waterways, and make better choices in how we use natural resources.  Being “green” doesn’t require giant climate change or global warming problems to be a good idea!  And being greener could make our recovery less difficult, and vulnerability to disaster lower. Additionally, climate change’s role in the storm is not in dispute, rather, the degree of its’ contribution.

Hurricane Facts

For those of you on the Green Team looking for places to get involved in environmental clean up, please see these links.

New Community work possibilities;

Earth Day Podcast for Rio 20+

May 7, 2012

Earth Day Podcast for Rio 20+

Hello! Please click on the link above to  hear our Earth Day Podcast.  These interviews were collected by fifth grader Miles McCain.  He asked questions about our environmental responsibilities, our city’s environmental record, and our personal attention to our ecosystem.  Listen and enjoy!

Earth Day Update: GCS’s Ranking in the Green Power Partnership is now #17!

April 23, 2012

EPA recognizes Grace Church School among nation’s leading green power purchasers

“Grace Church School announces today that it has increased its ranking to No. 17 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Top 20 K-12 Schools list of the largest green power purchasers. This increased purchase further demonstrates Grace Church School’s commitment to protecting the environment and builds upon its existing partnership with EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Grace Church School is purchasing more than 1 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 100 percent of the organization’s electricity use. Grace Church School is buying a utility green power product from Green Mountain Energy. This demonstrates a proactive choice to switch away from traditional sources of electricity generation and support cleaner renewable energy alternatives.”

This is a huge honor and we are proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Purchasing green power helps our organization become more sustainable, while also sending a message to others across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing climate risk.

Earth Dinner 2012

April 20, 2012

Our Earth Dinner was a delicious and heart-warming night including chocolate prizes, delicious kale soup, quinoa salad, and much more.  Thanks to the generous donations of community members, we had a lovely meal, full of conversation.  Mr. Semlear brightened up the event with a collection of gorgeous marigolds potted in little recycled jars. Thanks to all for joining us, and for making it so much fun.

Green Cup Challenge

March 17, 2012

Look our for new recycling and waste information in April!


Community Service Day 2011

October 27, 2011

What a beautiful day for community service at East River Park! Parent coordinators & the Lower East Side Ecology Center lead us through a gardening work-out, where kids and parents planted bulbs, cleared weeds, and prepared a gorgeous corner of the park for Spring.  Kids from early childhood, lower school, and upper school, dug holes, counted bulbs, and had fun in the sun.

Traveling in the city on a Saturday afternoon can feel like a burdensome trek, but on this Saturday, all the stress of the city washed away as soon as I saw the park project underway, and the kids enjoying some time working in the dirt.  I am so grateful that our community has been working on this project with the Lower East Side Ecology Center, a connection that has brought a plethora of resources and ideas into our school and community.  The devoted parents who put this day together twice a year are modest about the project, but it is truly extraordinary.  If you haven’t been able to attend the Community Service Day – make a point to show up this spring.  It is refreshing, and a satisfying way to connect to our urban environment.

Compost Program Expanding

October 18, 2011


Thanks to parent volunteers, we are now bringing the Monday fruit peels and cores to the Union Square Green Market! Adding to our 11 bins within the GCS campus, we are collecting food wastes and helping curb greenhouse emissions. How? Food that isn’t composted makes up a large portion of our landfills. When food rots, and is not decomposed into soil by worms or other organisms, it emits methane, a much more potent trapper of heat than CO2. Beyond helping gardens and farms, compost helps reduce global climate change agents.

Thank you to all of our parent composters, as well as our Early Childhood lunch community service kids, and our Green Team kids in Upper School.

Freecycling at GCS goes Online!

October 16, 2011

GCS  now has it’s freecycling program online!  Just like our free and fabulous costume swap, this is a way for you to give away usable items, and get “new to you” items, by simply posting your things online.  The rules are simple, items must be given away for free.  If you’d like an item,  you should pick it up yourself or arrange a mutually convenient exchange.  That’s it!  Post things you’d like, as well as things you’d like to give away!  Good luck and exchange away!  You must be logged into the parent portal to use the site;

GCS Freecycle Page

Check out the wider NYC stuff exchange here;

NYC Stuff Exchange

Costume Swap 2011!

October 6, 2011

Lots of fun was had at our Costume Swap today!  Keeping costumes out of landfills, and making new costumes out of old ones is the name of the green game.  Dream costumes were found today! Knights, bears, star wars fighters, and pharaohs all walked out of room 111.  Join us until 10/6 for more fun!


Wangari Muta Mary Jo Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011)

October 1, 2011

Grace School Friends,

Thank you for your kind words. We are deeply pained and saddened by her departure even if it was not unexpected. When I visited your school, I had an eerie feeling that we were in the final days weeks of her life. But we all thought we would have her a little longer. The planet has lost its most fervent advocate. The world has lost an extraordinary human being. Kenya has lost an irreplaceable jewel. You and I have lost a colleague, mentor, role model, heroine, friend, relative …..

May the Lord rest her soul in eternal Peace.

Karanja Njoroge


Here at GCS, we mourn the loss of Wangari Maathai. After spending a year studying and admiring her work from a far, and then having the overwhelmingly lucky opportunity to visit her program in Kenya, we are so sad to see her go. Of course, our wish is that her work is even more highly recognized and honored in the coming years. The learn more about her, please see the the GBM website;
“Wangari Maathai was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, an environmentalist, a civil society and women’s rights activist, and a former parliamentarian.”