Teach About U.S. Blog

Teach About U.S. Blog

A window on what's happening in the U.S.

Teach About U.S. BLOG

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Teach About U.S. BLOG

Authors


Howdy! These are the authors contributing to the Teach About U.S. Blog:



Lea Meimerstorf

Lea Meimerstorf

Lea Meimerstorf is a primary school teacher student in the 2nd Master's semester at Leuphana University Lüneburg. Her subjects are English and German. She has been supporting Teach About U.S. as a project assistant since 2019.

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Former bloggers:


Edgar Barrios

Edgar Barrios

Edgar Barrios is a student in Political Science at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. Edgar will give us great insights into State politics (e.g. close Senate races) in an important swing state, among other things.

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Clara del Rey

Clara del Rey

Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE’s #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.

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Brandon Greenblat

Brandon Greenblatt

Brandon Greenblatt is a student majoring in International Affairs and studying German at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and originally from Matthews, North Carolina. Brandon is no stranger to writing and publishing as the editor of the Western Europe section of The Caravel, Georgetown's international affairs newspaper.

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Tobias Luthe

Tobias Luthe

Tobias Luthe is a student in North American Studies focusing on politics and economics at the John-F.-Kennedy-Institut of the Freie Universität Berlin. He is spending the fall and spring semester 2016/17 at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

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Alexandra Magaard

Alexandra Magaard

Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About U.S. blog's first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

Alex' profile View posts


Marilena Peters

Marilena Peters

Marilena Peters has been pursuing her B.A. in teaching Social Studies with a geographical focus and English as a Foreign Language at Leuphana University Lüneburg since 2015. After finishing her studies with a Master’s degree, Marilena intends to teach at an elementary school.

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Janina Schmidt

Janina Schmidt

Janina Schmidt obtained her B.A. in teaching Economics and English as a Second Language at Leuphana University Lüneburg in 2014. After earning the Master's degree (expected 09/2017), Janina intends to teach English as a Second Language as well as English for Specific Purposes with an economic focus at vocational schools. As a Fulbright Scholar for the academic year of 2015/2016, she enriched her Master's studies in second language teaching with intensive and invaluable teaching experiences. Janina worked as a one of the German instructors in the Department for World Languages and Cultures at the University of Scranton, PA.

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Liz Subrin

Liz Subrin

My name is Liz Subrin. I am 22 years old and from Indianapolis in the state of Indiana. It is the 12th largest city in the United States. I am currently studying Chemistry and Education at a small private university called Butler University. I will be graduating with these degrees this December. I am looking forward to working on this project. I love learning about new cultures and am open to many ideas and perspectives. I have experience in working as a teacher as well as a student so I am excited to begin this journey as both! I have a passion for science and would love to share my passion with other curious minds. I hope to learn as much if not more as I can teach.

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Julianne Troiano

Julianne Troiano

Julianne Troiano is a graduate student at the Center for Chemical Innovation on Sustainable Nanotechnology (CSN) at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Julianne is interested in environmental science and has experience as a blogger ( www.sustainable-nano.com). She recently travelled to Iceland to study glaciers and alternative energy and will share her experiences with us.

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Felix Wortmann

Felix Wortmann

Felix Wortmann is a high school student from Berlin and currently as an exchange student in Michigan exploring high school life there. Felix participated in Going Green together with his school class (and won an award). He will provide the "one step removed" perspective on the elections.

Felix' profile View posts


Emily Young

Emily Young

Emily Young is a student in International Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Emily loves photography and will contribute a photo series.

Emily's profile View posts

Teach About U.S. BLOG

About


Welcome to the Teach About U.S. Blog Your window on what's happening in the U.S.

Besides both school projects on the U.S. Election and Going Green, the Blog is the third component on the Teach About US platform. It is run by a distinguished team of U.S. and German university and high school students who take us along exploring issues of transatlantic relations. Reporting on current events on their campuses and their communities, they provide a peer perspective on transatlantic issues to project participants in both countries.

Reflecting new publication and reading trends among teenagers, this blog is intended to allow for fresh, creative, yet sometimes unexpected insights into U.S. politics and culture specifically to our student participants.

Make sure to subscribe to the blog to receive email notifications whenever there is new content online. Want to react to a blog post? Then use the comment function below each post to add your thoughts.

The Recent United States, India Talks on Climate Change

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 28 January 2015 //  #GoingGreen

Guten tag liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler! I hope everyone is enjoying a pleasant end to a cold January (at least it has been chilly in Washington, D.C.!). I want to discuss the latest United States and India talks on climate change, or what “The Guardian” calls, “a key moment as major economies begin to deliver on the promises made in Lima to fight climate change.” President Obama recently embarked on a three-day visit to India (his second overall visit to the nation!), and Climate Change was at the top of his agenda. India is the third-largest carbon polluter in the world (after the People’s Republic of China and the United States).

Traffic in Mumbai, India on December 5, 2014. Source: The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/15/us-india-joint-climate-change-action

Unfortunately the visit ended with little specific action, but President Obama and Prime Minister Modi did set a list of goals to expand green energy and lower green gas emissions. India agreed to increase efforts to combat climate change with targets for higher levels of solar power and energy efficiency in the next two years. As well, India officially agreed to reduce its production of “hydrofluorocarbons” (HFCs). HFCs are commonly referred to as, “super greenhouse gases” and are 3,830 times more potent than CO2. The United States Environmental Protection Agency deems these gases to have a very high global warming potential (GWP) relative to other greenhouse gases.

President Obama and Prime Minister Modi of India on January 25, Source: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/28/opinion/a-new-chapter-for-america-and-india.html?_r=0

These talks signal increased cooperation and efforts by the two countries to go green. Hopefully this will only continue, and perhaps, one day, both President Obama and Prime Minister Modi will even say: when the going gets tough, the tough go green! Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

the RWE Climate Protection Award

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 22 January 2015 //  #GoingGreen

Hi everyone! Congratulations are in order, because our very own award winning team from the Gymnasium Alsdorf has won yet another prize. The team just received the RWE Climate Protection Award (Klimatschutzpreis RWE). The prize merits them 2000 Euros, and together with the 750 Euros that the team already won through Going Green, they are now able to provide their school with water fountains and dispensers that the school was not previously able to pay for. What a great way to spend their earnings! Congratulations again to the Gymnasium Alsdorf and great work! If anyone is interested in reading further about the prize-winning team, here are two recent articles. http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/de/289390/rwe-deutschland-ag/presse/pressemitteilung/?pmid=4012314 http://www.aachener-zeitung.de/lokales/nordkreis/projektgruppe-des-dalton-gymnasiums-erhaelt-rwe-klimaschutzpreis-1.981007 And in honor of the Gymnasium Alsdorf, when the going gets tough, the tough go green! Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

Happy 2015 and the Keystone Pipeline XL

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 16 January 2015 // #GoingGreen

Good day everyone, and happy 2015! I hope you all had a festive holiday season and a smooth slide into the New Year :) First, here is a link to the official video of the Going Green Finale at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Berlin. This video encompasses the event, student presentations and a general summary of the project. You also can find a link on the Going Green Facebook page. Thank you to the member of the Going Green team for making it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6wwXU8wBPU&feature=youtu.be Next, I wanted to provide you all with a glimpse into the United States’ current environmental controversy, the Keystone Pipeline XL. Here are some basic facts: The Keystone Pipeline XL was originally proposed in 2008. It is a 1,179-mile (1,987km) pipeline extending from Hardisty, Albert (Canada) down through the United States to Steele City, Nebraska. The project is designed to strengthen and support the United States’ and Canadian crude oil production. The Keystone pipeline is predominately supported by the Republican Party (A recent study by CNN found 80 percent of Republicans are in favor of it, in contrast to only 39 percent of Democrats) who cite that this project would create jobs and help the United States grow less dependent on Middle Eastern oil. While the Democratic Party, President Obama’s political party opposes the pipeline claiming that it will increase the threat of climate change while damaging local environments.

A map of the Keystone XL Pipeline, Source: http://keystone-xl.com/about/the-keystone-xl-oil-pipeline-project/

Last Friday, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in favor of the pipeline. This ruling allows the Keystone XL pipeline to run through the state. Since then the GOP (Grand Old Party, also known as the Republican party), who presently controls the House of Representatives (one branch of the United States’ legislative body), voted to approve the pipeline in a 266-153 ballot. However President Obama is against this project, stating that it will increase greenhouse gases and potentially harm local ecosystems throughout its construction, and he threatens to veto the bill. That would mean that the President would block this legislation from becoming a law by refusing to sign it. The United State’s legislature can only overcome the Presidential veto with a two-thirds majority vote. However, Obama has not veto-ed yet, which makes it again a fresh debate. The CNN poll also uncovered that 57 percent of Americans are in favor of this bill and 28 percent are opposed (the other 15 percent is of no opinion)…I guess we will have to wait and see what happens!

The Keystone Pipeline XL, photo source: The British Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30737766

If you are interested in reading more about the pipeline, below is a link to the New York Time’s coverage of it. Enjoy! http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/k/keystone_pipeline/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier That’s all for now, and I will continue to state in 2015: as the going gets tough, the tough go green. Alex  


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

Final Post before the Holidays

by Deleted user -
^1 Alexandra Magaard // 13 December 2014 // #GoingGreen

LIMA.-300x180.jpegThis picture is the "Plenary Panel" at the Conference on December 8, 2014. Photo Source: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/10/lima-climate-talks-on-track-for-record-carbon-footprint

Hi everyone! I have just a couple of updates before the holidays. First, I offer my congratulations to all of the winners of the Going Green 2014 competitions! It was wonderful to see that there was such a large turnout at the final events in Berlin and Dusseldorf. You all worked so hard on your projects - well done! Secondly, this past week has been an important one for international environmental policy. It was the United Nationals Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. The event officially took place from the first of December until yesterday, the 12th.

The event is the 20th yearly session of Conference of the Parties (COP 20) from the United Nation's 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). It gathered representatives from 195 countries in Lima, Peru to outline a blueprint for the next milestone agreement on climate change, and the policy from this past week in Peru will later be finalized at the United Nation's next summit in Paris, France in 2015. Feel free to check out updates on the Conference from the United Nation's official website, and I am sure you all, like me, are looking forward to the upcoming Paris summit as well :) Lastly, I want to inform you all that this is the final blog post for the month of December. I will begin posting again in the second week of January, with a weekly post on Environmental activity worldwide and in particular, the United States. Until then, I wish everyone a happy holidays, einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr and as always to remember: when the going gets tough, the tough go green. Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

 

Tomorrow and Friday!

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 13 December 2014 //  #GoingGreen 

Hi everyone! I just wanted to remind everyone about the two project events taking place this week. The Going-Green 2014 team is excited to welcome everyone to our final events in Dusseldorf tomorrow and in Berlin this Friday. We have been thoroughly impressed with everyone's hard work this school year and as well, everyone's project submissions. As well, I wanted to mention our "most popular award contest" (conducted on our Facebook page) for the last time. Voting closes at 6pm tomorrow. Make sure you support your favorite ideas! We are looking forward to seeing you all soon, and until then, when the going gets tough, the tough go green. Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

Project Updates!

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 25 November 2014 //  #GoingGreen 

Hi everyone! I hope everyone is staying warm this November. I just wanted to provide a couple of project updates. First, I would like to announce the Project’s “most popular award contest.” It will be on our Facebook page later this week and is worth watching out for! Secondly, thanks to any and all of the Project’s participants. The Going Green team has been thoroughly impressed with everyone’s contributions, and we are very interested to learn about how all these projects were implemented in the schools. We can tell everyone worked very hard on his or her projects, and vielen dank to all who helped make Going Green a huge success. We owe the project’s accomplishments to your involvement and thoughtful presence. Thank you to all the students, teachers, Experts of the Week and anyone who simply engaged in the project (even if that means reading one blog post). We could not have done it without you! We look forward to seeing you at the final events in Berlin and again, please keep an eye out for the “most popular award contest” on Facebook. It should be exciting. We plan to keep this blog in the future, so everyone can stay updated with how the projects panned out. There also will be opportunity for guests post and please let us know if you may be interested. In the meantime, thank you again for all your hard work, and when the going gets tough, the tough go green! Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

UNESCO World Conference

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 10 November 2014 // #GoingGreen 

The Conference is in Aichi-Nagoya Japan.

The Conference is in Aichi-Nagoya Japan. 

Pictured: One of the first meetings today for UNESCO Youth. Source: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco-world-conference-on-esd-2014/resources/photo-gallery-youth-conference/

Good morning everyone! I hope you had a pleasant weekend. This week is a special week. The UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is taking place from today until Wednesday. It is the final event to commemorate the conclusion of the United Nation’s Decade for Education and Sustainable Development that began in 2005, and it also is a milestone for assessing for the future.  

I believe, it might be of interest to everyone that the first UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development occurred in 2009 in Bonn, Germany. The Conference was made through the collaboration of UNESCO, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Commission for UNESCO. This year’s Conference has four goals: to celebrate the “Decade of Action,” to reorient education to build a better future for all (reassess what is an adequate education for sustainable development is), accelerate action for sustainable development and set the agenda for ESD beyond 2014. The Conference kicked off last night with a celebratory opening ceremony. The UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and his Imperial Highness, the Crown Prince of Japan both spoke, and the opening ceremony’s keynote speaker was Princess Lalla Hasna of Morocco, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment.

Princess Lalla Hasna greeting the Japanese government. Photo source: http://www.maroc.ma/en

She said: “To think and act for the sake of the environment - in the broadest sense of the term - means to be fully aware that the planet is not only a precious legacy, but that it also implies a tremendous responsibility for us in terms of preserving the interests of future generations.” It was a well-regarded keynote address. If you are interested in reading further about the conference, please click on the link provided below! http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco-world-conference-on-esd-2014/ I wish you all a successful week, and I think of the UNESCO conference today when claiming: when the going gets tough, the tough go green. Alex P.S. Please remember to follow us on Facebook !


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

Activism in Kansas City!

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 05 November 2014 // #Experts #GoingGreen 

Shari Wilson

 

Shari Wilson

Hi everyone!

I hope that you are having a lovely week. I thought I would spice things up in the blog.  Since this week’s expert, Shari Wilson, has already been introduced, I would like to provide a bit of information about some great environmental activism taking place in Shari’s home base of Kansas City!

One of the most prominent environmental organizations in Kansas City is called, “Bridging the Gap”.

Photo Source: www.bridgingthegap.org

Bridging the Gap works to connect the “environment, economy and community” of Kansas City. Since the organization’s beginning in 1992, it has established 20 recycling centers, won the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Air Excellence Award for Give Green Things” (for sustainable education and outreach) and planted thousands of trees throughout the Kansas City area.  Bridging the Gap also carries out specific programs like, “Green business Network KC” (a network for sustainability in the workplace), “Keep KansasCity Beautiful” and a water conservation program called, “WaterWorks!”

Here is a link to Bridging the Gap’s website:

https://www.bridgingthegap.org/

I think that Bridging the Gap is a great example of grassroots environmentalism, and I hope that Shari will echo my thoughts that that sustainability should always start local.

Have a great week, everyone! Viel Erfolg :)

When the going gets tough, the tough go green.


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

Going Green’s Official Facebook Page

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 31 October 2014 // #GoingGreen 

Dear Going-Green 2014 participants,

The project and I are excited to present our new official Facebook platform! The platform will allow you to check the latest news on sustainability, communicate with participants from other groups and to share your ideas and thoughts.

We’ll be sure to let you know if something green is going on in the world or if any problems are in need of your green ideas. Feel free to be inspired for your own projects and use the chance to share your thoughts.

We will also post information on our current experts who you can then contact on the Moodle platform. Do not hesitate to ask what you always wanted to know about a sustainable lifestyle. Our experts are happy to share their knowledge with you!

You want to present what you found out while working on your project? You want to inspire others? Great! Post your ideas and findings and invite friends and other participants to support you or to hear about their opinion.

Join us here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Going-Green-Project-2014/743892859024455 and give us a thumbs up.

We’re excited to offer you another platform to “go green,”

and we look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,

your Going-Green 2014 Team


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

End of the Week Updates!

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 26 October 2014 // #GoingGreen 

Supermarkets in Bursa, Turkey

Supermarkets in Bursa, Turkey. Source: Flikr

Hi everyone!

 I just wanted to end the week with a couple project updates.

 First, I have been reading some impressive eco-challenges in the Virtual Town Hall! The amount of submissions has increased by far, and I would like to highlight a couple. I encourage everyone to check out the submissions and add your own! Let us know what you think about the submissions.

 I give a special shout out to the “Daily News Report” interview and four students from Neubrandenburg for their investigation of plastic-in-our-daily-lives. Thank you for teaching me how exactly plastic is produced and what I can buy without plastic! I learned a lot.

Thank you as well to the students who interviewed Professor Peter Meurer, a scientist at University Neubrandenburg! I learned a lot about meat consumption and general sustainable tips from reading your article.

Second, the Going-Green project is, yet again, in the news! On October 7th, the Aachener Zeitung published an article detailing the project. The article is titled “Schüler entwickeln Gespür für die Umwelt” and you can check it out through the link below.

https://www.aachener-zeitung.de/lokales/nordkreis/schueler-entwickeln-gespuer-fuer-die-umwelt-1.931934

Rumor has it that the Going Green team is hard at work regarding the final awards and prizes. Think about your projects for sustainability that you should submit by November 23. We will inform you about what’s in it for you soon.

I hope everyone has a great week (some of you are on vacation, I hear)and I congratulate all of you on your impressive work so far!

When the going gets tough, the tough go green.

 Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

A Guest Post from Dr. Garrett!

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 20 October 2014 // #Experts #GoingGreen 

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler!

I hope you have a great week. Today’s blog post is extra special. The expert of the week this week, Christianna Stavroudis, has already been introduced. Today’s post will be a guest post.

(Here is a link to the original post about Christianna.)

Sarah, a student from the Goethe Gymnasium in Saxony, Germany had an interesting exchange with our Dr. Crister Garrett, the expert of the week of October 6 – 11th. Dr. Garrett’s answer will be the main contributor to this week’s post.

The location of Sarah’s school in Chemnitz, Saxony, Germany.

 

Sarah asked Dr. Garrett about sustainable fashion. She wondered: How sustainable are my clothes? What working conditions or safety standards threaded my jeans or laced my shoes – and why are the majority of my clothes made in developing countries, rather than in Germany or even the U.S.? Is there anything I can do to help the people producing my clothes?

Dr. Garrett had an interesting answer for her. He answered Sarah by telling the story of our T-shirts:

Dr. Crister Garrett, University of Leipzig
 
Let us do the math. The store selling you the t-shirt has to pay rent, electricity, and its staff to sell you the t-shirt. So let us say that costs 2 euros per t-shirt. The owner of the fashion store in Leipzig wants to make some profit, so let us say that is about 1.5 euros per shirt. We now have 3.5 euros left for the worker. Then the t-shirt needs to be shipped all the way from say Laos to Leipzig. Let us say that costs 1.50 euros. We now have 2.0 euros left. The owner of the factory in Laos also want to make a profit, and that after having paid for the production of the t-shirt. The production — cheapest cotton possible (not organic!), factory, the dyes, electricity — all come to about 1.5 euro per shirt. We now have 50 cents left over. That is not much profit for the local factory owner, but he or she will take it. We now have zero cents left over for the factory worker. And we have zero cents left over to raise wages, to improve factory conditions, to hire people to supervise safety, to buy organic cotton. We might have some extra money for these things if we could charge 10 euros or even 13 euros for each and every t-shirt.

He then related our T-Shirts to Germany, the U.S. and the low-wage workers:
The Bowler Editions T-shirt factory. Photo: Ryan Speth, Flickr

 

Many Germans and Americans cannot afford such an expensive but perhaps more fair t-shirt. A lot of Germans and Americans are not even making 8.50 an hour. It is hard to afford fair clothes. It sounds strange, but for millions of Germans and Americans struggling to make a living, the cheap t-shirt helps their families a lot to be able to clothe themselves.

The low-wage jobs in places like Laos or Bangladesh or Romania allow families there to often buy the food to prevent family members from going hungry. Wages are often terrible, but a terrible wage for a family is often better than no wage, if it means food on the table. So why don’t governments demand higher wages? Sometimes they do, but that can often mean a factory get closed and moves elsewhere. That is not fair perhaps, but it is economics.

Street seamstress, Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Mark Fischer, Flickr
 
Dr. Garrett then provided Sarah with two group examples of activism.

Dr. Garrett ended his answer with a challenge for Sarah and for the rest of the Going-Green Project participants. If we can, we should play detectives. We should venture to our favorites stores, find where the t-shirts are made and what the employees’ wages are like. Then write about it.

He also provided a link to a cool organization providing loans to citizens in developing countries around the world. It is one easy way to help others in need!

www.kiva.org

I hope (and am sure) this answers your question, Sarah.

Vielen Dank Dr. Garrett for the helpful information, and I wish everyone and their clothing a sustainable week!

When the going gets tough, the tough go green.

Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

Experts of the Week October 13 – 19

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 13 October 2014 //  #Experts #GoingGreen 

Jeff WattersJeff Watters, The Ocean Conservancy

Hi everyone! I hope you had a pleasant weekend. The project features two experts this week and without further ado, I would like to introduce Jeff Watters and Dr. Kevin Krizek.

Jeff Watters is the current Acting Director of Government Relations for the Ocean Conservancy.  Find a link below to his writings for the Ocean Conservancy. He will be your specific guide to ocean wildlife protection and NGO & State initiatives on environmental policy.

http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/author/jwatters/

Before joining the Ocean Conservancy, Jeff served as lead legislative assistant to Senator Maria Cantwell (Washington state), working specifically on the Senate Subcommittee for Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard. He has extensive experience with the policy-process, environmental legislation and surfing (just kidding, I meant Ocean legislation ☺ ).

Here is a link to his video interview with the U.S. Embassy’s Going-Green team.

Dr. Kevin Krizek, University of Colorado
 

Your second expert this week is Dr. Kevin Krizek, Professor of Environmental Design and Transport at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In Boulder, he serves as the Outreach and Education Coordinator for Sustainability initiatives.  He will be your specific expert of travel behavior, cycling, healthy communities, land-use, transportation planning and also, environmental policy.

For the year 2013-2014, he received the U.S.-Italy Fulbright Scholarship.  He has been appointed to the bicycle transportation committee of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies and has lectured for the Going-Green project throughout Germany on “From Car Culture to Bike Culture? Planning for Sustainable Transportation in the U.S.”

Here is a link to Dr. Krizek’s blog, and I am sure he would be happy to address any questions or concerns.

http://vehicleforasmallplanet.com/

As well, I would like to give a special shout out to Kirsten Oldenburg and her Course at the Bergstraße! You guys have been doing great work: keep it up! Check out two of her students’ wonderful blog posts on food and sustainability (you need to be logged in on Moodle to view them).

Bianca’s blog post about the eco-challenge

OMG − GMO?

I wish you a great week, and after reading about our experts today, I encourage you to bike or swim!

When the going gets tough, the tough go green.

Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

Exciting Project Updates!

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 09 October 2014 //  #GoingGreen 

Hi everyone!

I have an exciting update: the Going-Green 2014 Project is officially in the news!

On Wednesday, October 8th, the Nürnberger Nachrichten, published an article about the project called, “Das Leben könnte so grün sein…”

The article details the project, interviews a representative from the “Deutsch-Amerikanischen Instituts Nürnberg (DAI)” and highlights current action taking place in Nürnberg through the project.

“Denn das ist das große Ziel von ‘Going Green’: Alle Jugendgruppen sollen vor ort Aktionen anstoßen, die das Leben ‘grüner machen.’ “

Great work, everyone!

As well, I have been pleased to hear the project itself is expanding. We now have around 550 users online and these numbers are increasing every day.

This is great news, and I congratulate all of you on your promising work so far.

When the going gets tough, the tough go green.

Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

Expert of the Week October 6 – 11!

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 06 October 2014 // #Experts #GoingGreen

Dr. Garrett

Happy Monday, everyone!

I would like to virtually introduce everyone to your expert of the week, Dr. Crister Garrett.

Crister Garrett has been on the Going Green team right from the start. He is the project’s expert concerning everything related to politics and civic engagement.

He is an American citizen currently teaching at the Leipzig University. He will be your official guide to U.S. politics, society and understanding cultural differences within an international context. I bet he even speaks German, too! :)

Dr. Garrett has a variety of international experience. He has lived in Thailand, Lebanon, California and Europe for many years.

He conducts research on contemporary trends in political, economic and social reform and their impact on global governance. Dr. Garrett’s research focuses on the United States, Germany, France and Sweden. He is currently working on a research project exploring the politics of transatlantic environmental governance.

Dr. Garrett has also been a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow, a Rotary International Fellow, and a European Union Fellow for International Politics and a DAAD International Guest Scholar.

I’m sure Dr. Garrett would be happy to answer any and all questions! I am quite curious about his current research.

Good luck this week everyone!

When the going gets tough, the tough go green.


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

The Expert of the Week!

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 29 September 2014 //  #Experts #GoingGreen 

Dr. Goldfield

Hi Everyone,

I would like to introduce our latest expert of the week, the distinguished Dr. David Goldfield!

Dr. Goldfield will be your guide to the history of the environmental movement and the topic of “Green Cities.”

Dr. Goldfield is the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte and has published sixteen books to date.

His books detail various aspects of American and Southern (American) history.  His works include: America Aflame,  The American Journey and Cotton Fields and Skyscrapers.

Picture Source: http://davidgoldfield.us/books.html

Professor Goldfield has lectured across Germany and is the Editor of the Journal of Urban History.  He currently serves as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and will be, I am sure, happy to answer any and all of your questions.

He will also join us in Germany for the final events in various German cities and the student conference in Berlin! Feel free to contact him!

I hope that you have a great week!

When the going gets tough, the tough go green.

Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

Project Update

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 26 September 2014 // #GoingGreen

Hi Everyone,

Now that we are coming to the end of the third, official week for the “Going Green 2014” Project, I would like to highlight some recent additions to the Moodle Site.

We have three classrooms seeking discussions from the Moodle Site and a number of students getting involved on the Moodle site – here is a quick update.

The schools are from Leipzig, Germany, called the “BIP Kreativitätsgymnasium,” from Neubrandenburg, Germany, called “Albert-Einstein Gymnasium,” and from Oranienburg, Germany, called the “Louise-Henriette Gymnasium.”

The Albert-Einstein Gymnasium would like to engage in a cross-cultural dialog, in hopes of fresh perspectives. The “Louise-Henriette Gymnasium” would like to discuss their results, ideas and experience regarding environmental reform.  This classroom is also interested in current issues – what is namely “cool” among teenagers.

I encourage you to contact any or all of these groups if you are interested.

Our Moodle page has new entries from students, who are also interested in a cross-cultural exchange.

Three 8th grade boys in Germany wonder what the American style of recycling consists of.  They are interested in trading daily recycling habits.

Three girls would like to discuss preventative measures for sustainability.

Three other boys from Germany would like to discuss the impeding dangers of the Greenhouse Gas effect, and two other students would like to exchange perspectives and also brainstorm preventative measures.

Feel free to contact the students and begin the discussions!

Thank you to all of the Going Green Classrooms who have gotten involved so far, and I wish everyone a wonderful weekend.

When the going gets tough, the tough go green.

Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

The UN Climate Summit Today

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 23 September 2014 // #GoingGreen 

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany (source)

Hallo liebe Schülerinnen und Schüler!

Today, the 23nd of September is a benchmark for the Global Environment the United Nations’ Annual Climate Summit takes place today in New York City.

The Summit today was preceded by hundreds of thousands of citizens protesting all over the world in favor of pressuring lawmakers to implement change against Global Climate Change (GCC).

There were more than 2,500 marches around the world this past Sunday, September 21st, all of which were dedicated to mobilize against Global Climate Change.  These protests took place with an estimated 15,000 people in Berlin, Germany, 30,000 people in Melbourne, Australia and 40,000 people in London, England, New Delhi, India and Bogota, Colombia.

 

This past Sunday’s events were genuinely a worldwide effort to combat Global Climate Change.  The biggest protest, incidentally, took place in New York City with an estimated 310,000 people participating – this included the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former Vice President Al Gore.

 

New York City, United States of America, source: http://nypost.com/2014/09/22/climate-change-skeptics-call-out-marchers-hypocrisies/

This year’s Climate Summit aims to: strengthen emissions, increase climate resilience and mobilize international political action by 2015, with hopes of a less than 2-degree Celsius rise in the global temperature.  The UN Climate Summit is an international meeting of heads of States and Governments

The 2014 Summit has four themes: Climate Health and Jobs, Climate Science, Economic Case for Action and Voices from the Climate Front Lines.

 

Source: http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/ 

Let’s see how the Summit plays out. For further updates or information, here is a link to the official website. http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/

 

I hope the world leaders bear in mind, when the going gets tough, the tough go green.

Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

The First Experts of the Week Post!

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 22 September 2014 // #Experts #GoingGreen 

Hi students, it is the post you have all been waiting for… the experts of the week!

This coming week – September 22nd – 28th, the project will have three experts: the environmental political cartoon expert, Christianna Stavroudis, the ecologist and Kansas native, Shari Wilson and the culture studies Professor from University of Versailles, France, John Dean.

Christianna Stavroudis 

Christianna Stavroudis  

The first expert this week will be Christianna Stavroudis, an American native.  She graduated with a B.A. in applied linguistics from the University of Maryland-Baltimore Country and an M.S.c. in clinical linguistics from the University of Potsdam.

She is current lecturer of English language and linguistics at the Institute for British and North American Studies at the University of Greifswald.

Christina teaches a variety of courses, yet is specifically interested in German and American Political cartoons, concerning the environment. She will be your guide to political approaches and cultural perspectives framing the Environment. One of her current lectures is called “Green Ink: German and Political Cartoons on the Environment.”

She will be happy to answer your questions and will be helping from Greifswald, Germany.

Shari Wilson

  

The next expert this week is Shari Wilson. Shari is an expert in linking education and environmentalism towards activism and results.  She will provide specific advice regarding going green, education and community engagement. During her interview with our Going Green project, Wilson describes her previous experience as “projects in cities and schools where citizens have taken the lead.”

She recently founded her own company, “Project Central, LLC,” which will assist businesses and organizations in the fields ofthe arts, healthy communities, education, the environment. Shari has over twenty years of experience, and to put it in perspective, Shari’s experience dates back to 1993, the year that I was born (which I can personally say is a long time ago)!

Shari currently works in Kansas City. She will be happy to help any questions or concerns, and I have added a picture of Kansas City below – just so you all can get a sense of where Shari is coming from.

John Dean

  

The third expert of the week is John Dean. He is an American Studies and Cultural History Professor at the University of Versailles in France. John is, for lack of a better term, an overall expert. As he says himself, ask him anything – he knows it all! He can advise you on a variety of topics, from documentary films to ecology to education and even, American youth culture.

Dr. Dean has directed courses on U.S. Cultural Studies and also, provided guest lectures at teacher training workshops at the “Akademie für Lehrerfortbildung” in Dillengen, Germany.

John is specifically associated with the interested of culture, youth, social changes and the evolution of communication.  He has published on a variety of topics.  His most recent publications include: “Organized Crime in the U.S. from Prohibition to the Cold War,” “European Readings of American Popular Culture,” and “Culture and Technology.” John will be advising you all from his current base in Versailles, France, which is shown below.

So, don’t wait. Go to the Virtual Town Hall and ask your questions in the section “connect and discuss”! If you’re already logged-in on Moodle, just follow this link.

Good luck this week, students!

I think and hope the experts would echo me when I say: when the going gets tough, the tough go green.

Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.

 

Herzlich Willkommen!

by Deleted user -
Alexandra Magaard // 16 September 2014 //  #GoingGreen

Hi everyone! Hallo allerseits!

Herzlich willkommen to the official blog for the U.S. Embassy’s “Going Green 2014 Project.”  My name is Alex Magaard, and I am the lucky person in charge of the blog.  I am the U.S. Embassy’s virtual intern, who will address your questions about the Moodle site, development of the project or any other concern.

You will be able to check this site for current updates and insights into American sustainability initiatives and perspectives.  Every Monday I will announce the “expert of the week,” whom you and your students might want to contact.  This will provide background information on the expert.

My background:  I am a 21 year old college senior finishing my Political Science and German Language Bachelor of Arts degrees at James Madison University.  I have always been interested in the environment and believe that my activism started when I was eight years old and built a replica of The Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for my art class.

I grew up in Wayzata, Minnesota. , which for anyone who does NOT know where that is (I would be surprised if you did) – Wayzata is a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Or as I tell friends, “I’m from the center of the U.S.A. and hours below Canada!”

I grew up biking downtown to the Lakes (or to the Ice cream store) with family and friends.  Minneapolis is continuously ranked as America’s “most fit city.”  According to the American Fitness Index, Minneapolis has won the title for the past three years.  This directly coincides with Minneapolis’ environmentalism.  Minneapolis earns the title “the fittest city,” due to its rampant bike paths.  The United States Census Bureau Supplemental Survey has also named Minneapolis the number one bicycle commuter city in America.

The city of Minneapolis formed these bike paths to promote Environmental activism, alternative transportation and Minnesotans’ health.   Increased bike paths and more, such as citywide plans to increase alternative-fuel vehicles, are a part of the city of Minneapolis’ 2005 Sustainability Initiative – a local attempt to combat Global Climate Change.

Indeed, the United States is full of various local and national attempts to promote sustainability, and you will be able to learn more about those within the next few months.   You can also read news about and connect with others through the Going Green 2014 project.  Vielen dank für ihre Aufmerksamkeit – thank you for your attention and good luck with the project, everyone!

Always remember: when the going gets tough, the tough go green.

Alex


Alexandra Magaard is a native of Wayzata, Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and German Language from James Madison University. In 2014-15, Alex served as a virtual intern for the U.S. Embassy and the Teach About US blog’s first author. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and green topics, Alex says that her activism began when she built a replica of the Cathedral of Notre Dame out of re-used egg cartons for her art class at age eight. She is now working for a German company based in Washington D.C.