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Monday, March 30, 2009
Earth Hour was a success! Lights went out in 4,085 cities in 88 countries in what is being described as the largest demonstration of public concern about climate change in history.
Take a look at these amazing before and after pictures of landmarks around the world plunging into darkness for one hour.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
You might have been too young to vote in the recent presidential election, but don't let that stop you from voting with your light switch for Earth Hour 2009. On Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 PM, as many as 1 billion people around the world will turn off their lights in a universal vote to stop global warming. The World Wildlife Fund will present these votes at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this year. At this important meeting, governments from all over the world will gather to decide how to fight global warming.
Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia in 2007. 2.2 million home and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. The following year, Earth Hour went global, with 50 million people world wide sending a powerful message against global warming. Important landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Sydney Opera House, Rome's Colosseum, and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all went black.
This year, you can VOTE EARTH just by switching off your lights. Visit Earthour.org to sign up so that they can count your vote.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Green Guide for Kids: Why do Redwood trees grow only in the Northwest of the U.S.?
Jason Chin: Redwoods can actually grow in many places, but the tallest and oldest trees grow in the northwest United States, because the climate there is best for them. To grow tall redwoods need a lot of water, and that area of the country gets a lot of rain--in fact the coast redwood forests are rain forests.
GGFK: Are the redwoods endangered?
JC: Redwood forests aren't on the US government's endangered species list, but there are far fewer redwoods in the United States than there were a century ago. The main threat is logging. There used to be about 2 million acres of coast redwood forest in the US, but 95% of that has been cut down. Today, less than 106,000 acres of the original forest remain. Some of that original forest has been replaced a second generation of trees. An important distinction must be made between old-growth and second generation forests. Old-growth forests are the ones that we normally think of when we think of redwoods -- they are home to the tallest, most impressive redwoods. It will take thousands of years before the second generation forests that began this century to reach their height.
GGFK: Are their any species that live only in the Redwood forests?
JC: There are a number of species that live only in old-growth forests. The spotted owl and marbled murrelet only nest in old-growth trees (both old-growth redwoods and douglas firs). These two species are endangered, since there are so few old-growth forests left and it take so long for new forests to grow back.
GGFK: What can we do to protect them and where can we learn more?
JC: There are many organizations dedicated to the preservations of old-growth redwood forests. One of the oldest and most respected is Save the Redwoods League, founded in 1918. Their website has a wealth of resources for kids and adults about redwoods including educational resources.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The Green Guide for Kids: Your book Redwoods comes out today, congratulations!
Jason Chin: Thank you very much, and thank you again for the interview.
GGFK: What are some interesting facts about redwoods that you think kids would be surprised to hear?
JC: Well, the obvious fact is that they are the tallest trees in the world and most people know this already. But with a little context this fact becomes much more interesting: They aren't just the tallest trees, they are the tallest living things on the planet! And the tallest of them all, the tallest living thing on earth, is named Hyperion at 379.1 feet tall. How tall is that? That's 74 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty!
GGFK: In your book, you talk a lot about the redwood canopy, something that not many people know about. Can you talk a little about the canopy here?
JC: Of course. In fact, this was my favorite part of the research. The redwood canopy is a remarkable place. Redwood crowns are very big and very dense, so much so, that from the middle of them you cannot see the sky or the ground. And inside them, researchers have found a wide variety of other plants growing hundreds of feet above the earth. These including ferns, bushes and even other trees. In one instance, researchers found a new redwood taking root on the top of a fully grown redwood!
GGFK: In the book you talk about how important redwoods are to their ecosystem. Can you talk about some other species that depend on redwoods?
JC: A very good example of their connection to other species is the fact that they make their own rain. The summers on the northern California coast have very little rain, but a lot of fog. The fog condenses on the redwoods' needles and then drips to the ground. In this way it waters itself and all of the plants around it! Many of the plants on the forest floor depend on this artificial rainfall for their survival.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Today we get to hear from Jason Chin, author and illustrator of the new book Redwoods (Roaring Brook Press, 2009). Redwood trees are one of our most precious natural wonders. They are the tallest trees in the world and some of the oldest (the oldest redwoods are 2,000 years old!). After reading this book, not only did I learn a lot about the trees themselves, but the beautiful illustrations gave me a wonderful sense of what it's like to be in the redwood forest! All week long Jason will be sharing his experience writing and illustrating his book, along with some great information about redwood trees.
The Green Guide for Kids: What inspired you to write a book for children about redwoods?
Jason Chin: I was reading an article by Richard Preston (author of The Wild Trees) in the magazine, The New Yorker. His description of climbing the trees was so exciting that I started imagining doing it myself. A few months later I imagined a child climbing them, and that's how Redwoods was born.
GGFK: This is a non-fiction book, but the pictures tell an imagined story. Why did you choose to illustrate the facts this way?
JC: I was excited to learn about the trees and I wanted children to get excited about them too. So in the story, I have the boy read a book about redwoods and suddenly find himself in the forest, experiencing it first hand. I hope that this helps my readers connect to the trees because they'll have a sense of what it is like to really be in the redwood forest.
GGFK: In this book a city kid visits the redwood forest. Do you think that city kids need more exposure to the natural world?
JC: I purposefully chose a city kid as my main character. I grew up in rural New Hampshire, where I got a lot of exposure to nature. Now I live in New York City and I see kids every day that don't get to experience nature very often. I want my book to give those children have an appreciation for the natural world that exists beyond the city limits. It's funny, in my book a boy is transported from the city to the forest, but the purpose of the book is to bring the forest to children in my city!
GGFK: In your book, the boy gets to climb to the top of a redwood. As a boy did you like to climb trees?
JC: I did climb trees. There was a good size pine tree in my back yard that I used to climb often and get pine pitch all over myself. I highly recommend it!
GGFK: Thank you. We look forward to speaking with you again tomorrow and can't wait to see your book on store shelves!
JC: Thank you!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." -Robert F. Kennedy
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