garbologyBy Elizabeth Grimaldi, English Teacher, Cranbury School 

To request a complimentary examination copy to review for classroom use, please contact us at K12education@edu.penguinrandomhouse.com or call us toll free at (844) 851-3955.

Not unexpectedly, the inspection of an individual’s garbage can reveal a great deal about a person, sometimes reveal otherwise hidden secrets, or even solve a crime. The study of the garbage produced by a group of people, by any account, can also help us to draw conclusions about that society and the values it holds. This premise propels the narrative of Edward Humes’ nonfiction book entitled Garbology: Our Dirty Little Love Affair with Trash. According to Humes, if the United States does not curb its excessive consumerism, and commit to a significant reduction in trash production, the country and world will be in grave peril. (more…)

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GreenTown USAby Daniel Wallach, foreword contributor of Green Town U.S.A.: The Handbook for America’s Sustainable Future (Hatherleigh Press, July 2013) and Executive Director and Founder of Greensburg GreenTown

You may have heard of Greensburg, Kansas, the little town only 1.5 miles wide that was 95% destroyed by a tornado in 2007.   What you may not know is that Greensburg chose to transform tragedy into opportunity by deciding to rebuild “green.” Since we made this decision, we have received quite a bit of exciting recognition. President Barack Obama mentioned it in his address to a joint session of Congress on February 24, 2009 and Leonardo DiCaprio, working with the Discovery Channel, produced a documentary. We were also featured on the Weather Channel during a segment entitled “When Weather Changed History.”

But the story of Greensburg, Kansas does not begin and end there. In fact, our decision to rebuild green is, in a way, the prelude to a new chapter for every town and city in our country, especially in light of the recent and ongoing disaster in the Gulf. Individuals across America can look to Greensburg, a.k.a. “GreenTown”, as an example of how we can change the course of history and change the way we live with the environment in mind, and how young people can be instrumental in this change.

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Taking on Waterby Wendy Pabich, author of Taking on Water: How One Water Expert Challenged Her Inner Hypocrite, Reduced Her Water Footprint (Without Sacrificing a Toasty Shower), and Found Nirvana (Sasquatch Books)

Water is getting scarce. This year has brought extreme drought, low snow packs, and record low stream flows in a number of river systems. We see Las Vegas waging water war with the open ranch lands to the north, Atlanta in protracted battles with downstream states over its primary water supply at Lake Lanier, and water tables beneath the San Joaquin Valley—the source of 40 percent of the nation’s fruits and vegetables—dropping. A recent study by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) suggests that by mid-century, half the counties in the U.S. will be facing water scarcity. (more…)