Turning Up the Heat: Green Teen Videos On Climate Change

Feb. 16, 2009 There seems to be a slew of  green teen contests kicking off this week, along with National Engineers Foundation Week, and ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering’ day on Feb. 19.

I love the way new media is making STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) programs more fun and participatory so kids can come together halfway around the world in the spirit of global citizenship to find out what moves and inspires!

Kids 14-17 can ‘virtually meet’ online to team up and explore the science of climate change while problem-solving in worldwide competitions and get to know kids in other countries via the Global Challenge Award. (about 970 international teen teams did this last year in a massive collaborative learning project)

It’s about time they put some roots into the STEM programs to nourish BOTH genders to grow in fun fresh ways…

Team mates are exposed to Thomas Friedman’s concepts in The World is Flat (don’t miss the 10 ‘worldflatteners’ powerpoint!) as kids learn about going green through hands-on activities, games, literature and teaming up as part of self-guided STEM study. (see contest rules)

Are we having fun yet? Looks like it:

One teen said, I used to dream of being a diplomat, but now I want to be an engineer and environmentalist, so that I can help settle practical problems.

Meanwhile, kids can ‘go green, get green’ by earning cash for doing what they love, creating thought-provoking media on climate change!

For the first time ever, kids are ‘burnin’ down the house’ with ideas and innovation to pitch renowned PBS hub WGHB for 3 to 5 minute youth videos on how climate change affects kids’ own community environs, vying for $2000 production grants and potential PBS airing.


WGBH has made it even hotter for green teens by hosting ongoing webinars  to help kids conceptualize, remix, pitch ideas and amass public opinion…

Popular pioneer vloggers Ryanne Hodson (check her book) and Jay Dedman (her partner, former CNN journalist/co-founder of Yahoo’s videoblogging group) will contribute their skill sets to get kids started.

Partner org Teachers Domain makes it a cinch for students to get up to speed with factoids and resources too. The inspiration for the teen contest? The Frontline documentary, “Heat” all about global warming and businesses’ reactions in the court of public opinion contributing to make or break success.

Deadline for entries at WBGH is March 15, 2009.

March 15th or thereabouts seems to be the magic entry date for a couple of non-eco-fun fests as well like the Classroom 2.0 BrainyFlix contest SAT Vocab videos (due Mar. 16, more soon) and the Doodle 4 Google search to capture “What I wish for the world”

doodle2You know how Google has their logo alter for holidays and occasions morphing into fun type treatments?

Well, they’re inviting K-12 kids to kanoodle and doodle with oodles of ideas for  Google  to compete for getting a home page illustration worthy of being showcased and “perhaps even appear in the National Design Museum”… (register by Mar. 17, due Mar. 31)

Last year, the Google 2008 regional winners ran with the theme “What If?” and came up with some incredible work, in categories K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and these in 10-12.

Being an animal lover and eco gal, I particularly loved this one by teen Kristen Birdsey of Hopewell Valley school in New Jersey, who writes,

google-rainforest“What if…we could save the rainforest?”

“Rainforests combat global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide and they provide us with numerous resources such as food, pharmaceuticals, and industrial goods that we use in everyday life. It is essential that we save these wonderous forests for the good of the planet.”

Teen Shelby Whalen of Corunna High School in Michigan created:

google-peace “What if…peace was possible?”

There were a ton of amazingly artistic expressions, and I can’t wait to see what the kids come up with for this year’s theme “What I wish for the world”…

It seems rich with opportunities for creativity…and I’m sure it will be poignant.

How did all the whimsical Google doodles begin?

Google Webmaster and original Doodler Dennis Hwang began the tradition when he was an intern in 2000, and began celebrating and marking worldwide events and holidays with doodles…Since then, the work of the doodle team has been seen by millions and reached cult status, with fans waiting with bated breath to see the next creation on the Google homepage.

Amazing to think it’s been almost a decade already!

I can think of a few artistic teens on our own Shaping Youth advisory board that should get in on this one…um…Suzy? Have at it, girl! To get you all started…“What I Wish for the World” examples via K-12 schools and teachers include:

…we use plants for electricity
… we make college free for everyone
… we give health insurance to all who need it
… we connect everyone by cell phone or computer

Finally, not a green contest, but a ‘prequel’ to an upcoming feature…

ttg1I just want to add our interviews with teens taking place one week ago at the Teens Turning Green annual summit, will be up later this week. It was absolutely fabulous…

Judi Shils and her team at Teens Turning Green, Teens for Safe Cosmetics and Teens for Healthy Schools united green teens all over the nation focusing on the daily chemical exposures harming health.

From the Green Spa to the noted guest panels and break out groups, the event was a day to remember…and I can tell it was a hit with my daughter by looking at our grocery list, “celery, ORGANIC” in big caps next to it.

ecochildsplayThat came from the ‘cheat sheet’ shoppers list of veggies at high/low risks of pesticide potential from the Environmental Working Group’s food division…

More on that and the ‘Dirty 30’ ingredients to watch for in teen cosmetics too…Stay tuned…we’re testing all the products for ‘faves and raves’ to boot! I’ll write about it for Eco Child’s Play as well, (a variation of this article appeared there too) as it’s SUCH a worthy org with an important media message that industry needs to hear Teens Turning Green loud and clear. SO inspiring!

Visual Credits: Lead photo, submit Bag from WBGH.org, screenshot logo from GlobalChallengeAward.org, Doodle4Google sample logos, 2008.



  1. On the carbon offsets front, I want to add Thursday’s PARC forum info (for any green teens interested in CleanTech for the future…as it will be archived on the PARC research site later)

    Here goes:

    “Reminder: PARC Forum at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 19, 2009
    Location: George E. Pake Auditorium at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)
    3333 Coyote Hill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304

    cleantech forum series

    Emissions trading and carbon finance:
    Harnessing market forces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

    Alex Rau, Ph.D.
    Climate Wedge Ltd.


    Carbon trading has emerged as one of the most powerful mechanisms for incentivizing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at scale. Following the lead of early initiatives successfully targetting acid rain pollutants in the US, governments around the world established cap-and-trade systems for reducing carbon emissions, most notably the so-called flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol and the EU’s domestic vehicle for achieving its collective Kyoto target, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). In their short history and with the US sitting on the sidelines, carbon markets have grown rapidly, reaching over $100 billion dollars of annual transactional value, spawning new business models for incentivizing clean energy and carbon reduction projects throughout the world, boosting the economic prospects of new low carbon technologies, and ultimately delivering billions of tons of reductions in carbon emissions. At the same time, serious design flaws in the regulations have reduced the effectiveness of the market and led to considerable public criticism, much of which can and must be corrected as the US develops its own cap-and-trade system.

    The main objective of this talk is to introduce the fundamental concepts behind carbon trading and give the audience a practical feel for the mechanics of the existing international carbon markets. We will discuss in detail the two main markets: the EU ETS and its establishment of a real-time price signal on carbon emissions via liquid transactions in government-issued emissions allowances, and the Clean Development Mechanism and its framework for generating carbon assets from new projects which verifiably reduce emissions. How do these market mechanisms incentivize emissions abatement, what factors and events drive the price of carbon, and what have been the major project types and reduction strategies to date?

    In light of PARC’s strong history in technology innovation and the Bay Area’s growing focus on cleantech venture development and investing, we will also address the complex process of converting the environmental benefits from new low-carbon technologies and clean energy projects into tradeable financial assets in the carbon markets. What exactly is a carbon asset, and how is it developed and monetized?

    Finally, we will close by looking towards the next phase of carbon constraints as the US begins to develop its cap-and-trade system and the international community attempts to reach a post-2012 climate agreement. The sheer size of the US economy and emissions footprint means that a future US domestic carbon market will redefine carbon trading on the international scale. We will discuss the emerging US regulatory scheme and the likely characteristics of a US carbon market, and conclude with some brief thoughts about where emissions trading fits into the overall challenge of stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere at manageable levels of risk.

    About the speaker:

    Alex Rau is a founding partner of Climate Wedge Ltd, an independent firm pursuing principal investments and project development in the carbon markets and providing carbon finance and emissions trading related advisory services. Alex has over eight years of active experience in the carbon markets. He was previously part of the Climate Change Services team in PricewaterhouseCoopers’s Energy Corporate Finance practice in London, developing and structuring portfolios of carbon assets during the early stages of the Clean Development Mechanism market as well as designing Kyoto response strategies for multinational corporations. Dr. Rau has worked with numerous clients such as Cheyne Capital, McKinsey & Company, Rio Tinto, News Corporation, Electricite de France, and the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) on carbon-related issues. He also coauthored the original version of the Voluntary Carbon Standard, the most widely accepted trading standard for non-Kyoto carbon assets, and has published in journals ranging from Science to the Harvard Business Review. Dr. Rau has a Ph.D. in physics from Oxford University and a B.A. from Cornell University.

    cleantech forum series:

    The focus of the Cleantech Forum Series will be on new technologies as well as resource and policy issues that will shape the energy landscape over the next several decades. The Series will be held every Thursday starting on January 15, 2009 and ending on April 16, 2009. The Cleantech Forum Series is co-sponsored by PARC, Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI), University of California at Berkeley, and NASA Ames Research Center.”

  2. I’m glad you liked my Google logo design! I’ve since completed many other environment-related artworks, if anyone is interested in seeing them.

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