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Green Cities: Earth Day 2014

Sustainable green globeShare a ride. Plant a tree. There are lots of ways individuals can have a positive impact on the planet. Earth Day 2014’s theme is Green Cities. Since buildings worldwide are responsible for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the carbon footprint of schools, homes, and offices can pay huge dividends.

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Novel Wind Turbines

rooftop wind turbineOne day, we may be lugging our own personal wind turbines. International design company frog has unsheathed an umbrella-size, portable wind turbine called Revolver that can generate enough juice from a faint breeze to power a laptop, small light, or radio, or recharge a cellphone or other small electronic gadget.

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Wind Power for Your Home

wind turbineIn this activity, students in grades 9-11 learn how engineers harness the energy of the wind by following the engineering design process to create and test two prototype wind turbines to see which works best. They also learn about where to place a wind turbine for maximum effectiveness, and to weigh the advantages and disadvantages compared with other energy sources.

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Edible Green Screen

green screenHave you ever thought about those bare, exterior walls of your home or school? If so, you would be current with one of the hottest trends in civil and environmental engineering: Redesigning buildings to take full advantage of solar energy, like this “edible green screen” created by students at the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments.

The idea behind green walls, or vertical gardens, can be traced back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. In Babylon, plants were said to have been cultivated at a height above ground level. In modern times, the idea of similar gardens has become a way to bring more greenery to cityscapes while also making urban areas more environmentally friendly.

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Feature: Earth Day 2012

earth dayFor more than four decades, people around the world have celebrated Earth Day on April 22. This year’s organizers hope to mobilize 1 billion individuals to raise awareness about environmental issues and sustainability. Already, some 815 million have pledged to reuse water bottles, organize events, and perform other “Acts of Green.”

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Webinar: Service-Learning & Sustainability

partnership logoThe U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development’s K-12 and Teacher Education Sector is offering a free webinar about engaging students in relevant learning. This webinar is designed to help educators apply the lens of sustainability to their service-learning projects and programs and will feature several case studies. It will be held on November 10, 2011, 5:00 p.m. EST.

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Website: Sustainability Workshop from Autodesk

Autodesk SustainabilityThe Sustainability Workshop video series from Autodesk, an eGFI sponsor, uses animated drawings and real-world examples in short films that explain essential concepts for budding engineers. Some topics include engineering systems, green design, turning an idea into a finished product, and even why modern bicycles look so different from those built 200 years ago.

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Contest: Design a Sustainable House

Green LivingThe Sustainable Dream House Contest invites students in grades 5-8 and 9-12 to design a residential home that a family of four could comfortably live in that takes advantage of sustainable design concepts such as energy efficiency, reusable natural resources, the sun and much more. Winners will have a chance to present their submission in Washington, D.C. during the USA Science and Engineering Festival – Expo on the National Mall, October 23 and 24, 2010. Submission deadline: September 15, 2010.

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