News Decoder
Oil may lie below our school. So can frackers drill there?

Oil may lie below our school. So can frackers drill there?

The U.S. government owns the rights to any oil under our school. So, could frackers drill on campus? Turns out, the only certainty is the need to vote. Gymkhana Field at The Thacher School (Carin Yates/Thacher School) Since its founding in 1889, The Thacher School in...

Journalism is an adventure and publishing a process — lessons that Christina MacCorkle and Lucy Maitland-Lewis learned in spades in producing their article on a beloved field at their school in California. Gymkhana Field is where generations of Thacher School students have ridden horses, but it may also lie above valuable oil. Which is where the U.S. agency that manages federal lands enters the picture. Their story went through multiple drafts as they dug deeper and deeper into the web of issues. The bottom line is that the field’s future is uncertain — an ambiguous conclusion that could frustrate some writers. But the authors learned from the experience and their story educates us as well.
Exercise: Ask your students to research the history of their school grounds and to find out whether there is a chance that there could be changes to the school’s footprint, and if so, why.

It’s official: We’re to blame for the climate crisis

It’s official: We’re to blame for the climate crisis

It’s taken more than a century, but experts now say humans are definitely to blame for the climate crisis. Will a UN report spur nations to take action? Emissions from a coal-fired power plant in Independence, Missouri, United States, 1 February 2021 (AP...

Alister Doyle puts his years of experience covering the environment to use in connecting the dots between the umpteenth report on the climate crisis and the umpteenth global meeting on what to do. Doyle provides a genuine service in showing us why the latest report by government experts and climate scientists has a bearing on the summit later this year in Glasgow to review the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Doyle’s report exemplifies News Decoder’s mission to explain complex global problems in a dispassionate, balanced and understandable way.
Exercise: Ask your students to choose an issue on the front page of a daily newspaper or on the nightly news, and to write an article explaining the background to the issue and why it’s important to the readers.

Cape Town, Lima offer examples for water-deprived San Diego

Cape Town, Lima offer examples for water-deprived San Diego

As arid San Diego struggles to ensure adequate water supplies, the city can look to Cape Town and Lima for examples of how to dodge disaster. Water drops from a spout at a water purification facility in San Diego, California, 8 May 2015. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) San...

News Decoder encourages students to look beyond their immediate surroundings and to connect the dots around the globe. Varun Singh, a resident of San Diego in California and a student at La Jolla Country Day School, turned to Cape Town, South Africa and Lima, Peru for examples of how his city could manage its water crisis. The next generation of leaders will need to be adept at finding global solutions to problems besetting our societies, and Singh sets an example.

Exercise: Ask your students to identify a problem in their local community and to find examples of how a community in another country tackled the same challenge.

Environment