When the lights black out, the night sky turns on

When the lights black out, the night sky turns on

Light pollution interferes with the breeding patterns of animals and insects. How can we look to the stars if we can’t even see them? Two night scenes. On the left, stars fill the sky over the Coconino National Forest. (Credit: Coconino National Forest, U.S....

Light pollution affects more than just our ability to see the Big Dipper at night. Dive into the environmental and human consequences of too much light and discover how we might turn the night sky on again. 

Exercise: After reading the article, divide students into groups of 3-4 to discuss main takeaways from the text. Then, instruct each group to come up with a one-sentence public service announcement to get people to turn off unnecessary lights in their local community. The class can then vote for their favorite PSA. 

Decoder: When protecting the environment makes more cents

Decoder: When protecting the environment makes more cents

The Great Barrier Reef isn’t just an endangered world wonder. Protecting the world’s largest coral reef system is also key to Australia’s economic growth. A diver swims past coral on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, 18 October 2016. More than 90%...

Protecting the environment isn’t just the right thing to do, it can also be the profitable thing to do. Take the Great Barrier Reef, for example, which has an estimated value of $56 billion Australian dollars. Help your students disentangle the complicated world of environmental economics with this article. 

Exercise: After reading the article, have students take the WWF Carbon Footprint questionnaire at https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/#/. The questionnaire estimates individuals’ carbon footprint, looking at food, travel, home and consumption habits. After the questionnaire, launch a class discussion on how changes in individual habits may contribute to fighting climate change — and might even be a profitable choice.

Decoder: Investing in water isn’t money down the drain

Decoder: Investing in water isn’t money down the drain

Turn on the tap, and the world’s most valuable commodity pours out. Maybe it’s time to invest in water — to line our pockets and protect our planet. Clean water pours from a hose. Credit: Cassio Henrique. Getty Images. This article is the seventh in a...

Water is one of the most important commodities in the world. It is also tradable as companies seek to make money by purifying and distributing it. Some organizations that are pushing for climate change action are investing in water companies to pressure private industry to be better stewards of water. These investments in water stocks are proving to be financially profitable. 

Exercise: The story identifies a list of companies that provide water or water infrastructure: IDEX Corp., Xylem Inc., Danaher Corp., Ecolab, Roper Industries, Pentair Plc, Ferguson Plc and American Water Works Co. Inc. Divide students into investment teams with $1 million each to invest. Have them first brainstorm ways water and systems for providing water could be improved in their area or elsewhere. Then have them look up the website of one or more of those companies to see if they can tell what the company does to improve water supply or quality. Would their $1 million invested in that company help towards the improvements they identified as needed?

 

Story competition challenges teens to profile people saving the planet

Story competition challenges teens to profile people saving the planet

Winners of a worldwide competition will get cash prizes as well as coaching from News Decoder and publication on the News Decoder site. Announcing the Climate Champion Profiles storytelling competition Teenage journalists worldwide are invited to profile someone who...

News Decoder is a member of a consortium of organizations implementing a multifaceted project to engage youth with climate change issues and actions. In this article, News Decoder Adviser Aralynn Abare McMane invites high school students across the world to identify and interview someone in their community working to solve the climate crisis in a significant way, then write an article or produce a video or podcast about that person for submission to a worldwide contest.

Exercise: Find an individual in your community who is trying to fight climate change in a real way. Have students research that person by looking up relevant websites and reading any news articles that have been done or watching any videos that feature that person. Then invite the person to talk to your class and have students prepare questions they would need answered in order to write a profile of that person. Have each student write a profile and submit the best one to the The Writing’s on the Wall Climate Champions Storytelling Competition. 

Environment