Carbon Fighters “Cool the Earth” at Coleman Elementary. Interview with students Cayman Stein and Sam Testa
by Willi Paul, Planetshifter.com Magazine
Coleman Elementary in San Rafael, CA recently launched its fifth year running Cool the Earth¹s Climate Action Program last month as part of its Earth Day program. For four years running Coleman students have taken over 4800 actions, saving approximately 3,500,000 lbs. of carbon. That is the equivalent of taking almost 300 cars off the road! This year a total of 15 Marin County schools are running the Cool the Earth program.
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Planetshifter.com Magazine interview with Cayman Stein, 2nd grade and Sam Testa, 3rd Grade @Coleman Elementary
Tell us about a few of your favorite stories at the Story Time Library Corner? Are there common themes?
Cayman: I remember stories about kids working through conflict.
Is there a garden at Coleman or at home? Ask me or your teacher about Permaculture and how many of us are now working with Nature to grow local food and strengthen community.
Sam: Yes we have a few gardens at Coleman.
Has it been easy to get other activities and organizations involved in the Cool the Earth program? Any examples?
Cayman: We do Walk ‘N Roll on Wednesdays to get to school. During lunchtime we put our stuff away in the bins. Plastic and paper go in the recycling bins. Food goes in the compost bin.
Sam: Yes it has been easy … Everyone wants to help to be green. We have walk / bike to school every Wednesday and you get to stamp your green thumb on a poster…. Everyone brings recycling every Friday and our school gets $… Everyone loves the cool the earth coupons to turn in every week.
There are a lot activities and responsibilities competing for your time? How important is being green every day and sharing values with others?
Cayman: It’s really important because the Earth is getting hot due to global warming. We need to stop it because it’s important and I love the Earth.
Sam: Everyone can do their part no matter how busy you are… Simple things like running instead of driving… turning off lights instead of leaving them on and using glasses to water plants instead of just dumping water.
I just released an edu-video for kids called “Life in the Edge” about the boundaries between Nature and humans. I included questions and I would appreciate your feedback.
Cayman: My school is so close to Highway 101. We also live close to Highway 101 as well as the mountains (Nike Missile Site open space).
Examples of edges around my home and school:
• The freeway wall separates the freeway from the homes in my neighborhood.
• Our backyard fence separates the wild animals from coming onto our property.
• The fences and sidewalks separate my school from the street.
• The backyard fences separate my home from the open space.
• The freeway wall separates Highway 101 from my neighborhood.
• I built a fairy garden last summer! The plastic container it sat in separated this space from the “real” world.
Are the 5th graders helping the kindergartners learn to “Cool the Earth?” Any lessons to share as leaders?
Cayman: During lunchtime I help the younger grade kids sort their trash. I walk around picking up waste with the trash grabber. The younger kids ask, “Where do we put these?” I help them organize their stuff in the right bins.
Do you guys watch PBS Kids programs? What other media sources are good
Cayman: Yes, my brother and I watch cartoons on PBS! My mom and dad rarely let us play video games. But when they do we like playing Leap Frog.
Sam: No, do not watch PBS.
What are some graphic symbols of climate change and “Cool the Planet?” Why is a polar bear in the logo?
Cayman: Because the polar bears live in the snow and the arctic is one place where it’s getting warmer.
Sam: Not sure about the Polar Bear.
Who are your heroes?
(1). Martin Luther King because he stood up for African American people. Back then people were mean to black people and they didn’t let them go to the same bathroom, drink from the same water fountain and go to the same schools.
(2). My mom because she teaches me what to do.
Sam: My mom!
What are your top three cool actions to share with kids?
(1) Bike to school.
(2) Carpool to softball practice.
(3) I save water when I shower – soaping I stop the water
Are you promoting saving water? How?
Cayman: Yes! We stop the faucet when we’re not using water.
Sam: Yes we are promoting saving water…. Shorter showers, water from glass to plants…. Water late at night.