Wednesday, January 27, 2010

7 Year Old's Bike Ride Raises More than £100,000 for Haiti

Charlie Simpson was moved to action by the images of suffering on television, so he decided to bike five miles around a nearby park on Sunday, January 24, to solicit £500 in donations for Haiti. The media covered his plans and he inspired people around the world to give. The funds are going to a UNICEF program for children, and donations are still open.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Situation in Haiti is Grave - Letter from our Principals

January 22, 2010

Dear New Trier faculty, staff, and families,

The tragedy and devastation in Haiti continues, and the New Trier community has graciously overwhelmed us with their pledges and donations for the village of Petit-Goave. Since the original e-mail sent last Friday, over $13,000 has been donated to rebuild this village of 50,000 people. In addition, other schools have offered to partner with us, neighborhoods have united to raise funds, and individual families have expressed their support. We have never been prouder of our community as we live out our motto “…hearts to compassion, and lives to the service of humanity.” Our Student Activities Coordinators on both the Winnetka and Northfield campuses are managing the different clubs and adviser rooms that want to raise funds for the relief effort. Some of these fundraising efforts include partnerships between New Trier and a wide range of schools and organizations in the community. For example, Evanston and New Trier are co-sponsoring “Hoops for Haiti” to raise money at the January 29th basketball game at Northwestern. In addition, the New Trier Performing Arts Directors are planning to donate money from the ticket sales of The Freshman Play, “Page to Stage” on February 4. The outreach has been incredible! Our Haitian friends, who have lost family members, loved ones, and homes, feel and appreciate our support and encouragement.

Currently, no aid has reached Petit-Goave since the earthquake. Residents are without food, water, and medical assistance. Much of the city lies in ruins, including St. Joseph School. There’s an urgent short term need for funds to purchase food, water, and medical supplies. In the long term, our goal is to help rebuild the school and surrounding community. Please continue to check the link on the New Trier Haiti home page for more information including pictures and video from Petit-Goave. We will keep the information as current as possible. The website address is:
As a reminder, New Trier’s Haiti Project is partnering with locally-based non-profit Little by Little, a 501 (c) 3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible and 100% of funds will be used to respond to relief efforts in Petit-Goave. Our goal is $100,000, and we are very confident with the generous hearts in this community that we will achieve this ambitious goal.

With hope for the future,

Tim Dohrer Jan Borja
Winnetka Campus Principal Northfield Campus Principal

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Unit: Darwin

So What Does Make Us Human?
“It’s quite clear that it is a case of human error, Dave.”
Choose one of the elements below as the most essential of being human. In your small groups,come up with a clear and concise defense to your position. You must employ evidence from at least two disciplines of thought.

(“disciplines of thought” =Psychology, Biology, Philosophy, Theology, Literature, Music, Visual Arts . . . . )

tools and technology
a soul
ability to conceive of a future
social behavior and cooperation
rational thinking
food chain dominance
cranial capacity
belief in a higher power
art/the sublime
a series of excellent adaptations

Topics in Human Evolution
Primate Adaptations
Hominid Characteristics
Chimpanzee Societies
Chimp/Hominid Divergence
Eve Hypothesis
Cultural/Social Evolution of early humans

Fictional Treatment: Inherit the Wind

Junior focus: Darwin as the clash of modern and tradition in the 1920s

Senior focus: Science as a source of truth - Epistemology, etc.

January 29th Field Trip Excursion: Zoo and Field Museum "Evolving Planet" exhibit

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Maurice & Jean's Home Town of Petit Goave

Since last spring, a group of New Trier faculty and staff have been developing the Haiti Project in anticipation of launching a fundraising effort and service learning project this March to help rebuild a school in Petit-Goave, Haiti. The project began with two of our Northfield staff members, Maurice Bonhomme and Jean Cayemitte, who also spoke to our IGSS regarding Haiti's need.

Now the mission of the New Trier Haiti Project is expanded to help with the relief effort in Petit-Goave, which is located just 5 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.

New Trier’s Haiti Project is partnering with a locally based non-profit, Little by Little, a 501 (c) 3 organization that provides aid and support to communities in Haiti. All donations are tax-deductible and 100% of funds will be used to respond to relief efforts in Petit-Goave.

Maurice and Jean have worked tirelessly at personal cost to keep the doors open at Petit-Goave’s St. Joseph school. Through personal finances and donations made by family and friends, they pay the $300 monthly salaries of St. Joseph’s committed teachers and the $250 tuition for children of the 160 families unable to afford this yearly expense. No child is turned away for financial reasons from this “private” school.

Update from Haiti:

The private school, founded by Maurice's father, (St. Joseph) was devastated in the quake. This was the school NT was supposed to help renovate. However, Maurice reports that his family is okay. Maurice has learned his brother and sister are alive , but his sister's home was destroyed and is living on the street. Waiting to hear from Jean.
From: Lazar, Deborah, librarian [part of NT staff trip to Haiti last summer]
Sent: Saturday, January 16, 2010 9:56 AM

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Final Presentations Today: Carbon Footprint Proposals

Six groups gave oral presentations for their Community Footprint Proposals:

Bathrooms - Wasteful Washrooms
hand dryers in lieu of paper towels;
toilet, urinal & sink replacements

Food - Saving the World One Lunch at a Time

meatless Mondays to reduce our carbon footprint

Water - Reusable Water Bottles & Cups/Sustainability

moving toward bottled water free campus by 2014

Cars - Transportation to School: "It's More Fun to Carpool"
carpool parking permit proposal

Lighting - Be the Change (Our Community Affects the World)
Smartmeters; Blackout Once month to increase awareness; earlier light curfews

Books and Computers
1:1 Laptop initiative; move away from textbooks to ebooks
71% English class texts are available digitally

What can IGSS students learn from kids at Riverside School in India?

This new TED Talk is catching on: educator Kiran Bir Sethi shows how her groundbreaking Riverside School in India teaches kids life's most valuable lesson: "I can." Watch her students take local issues into their own hands, lead other young people, even educate their parents.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's Not Just About Climate Change

Guest speaker: Sustainability/Energy Efficiency Consultant Jones Lange

Converging Forces and Trends

Mass acceptance of gloabl warming, climate change

Rising energy prices

Widely accepted green building standards

Possible cap & trade on GHG emissions

Customer, employee, and shareholder pressures

Companies trying to enhance their brand image

Talent recruitment and retention - people want to work for green companies

Workplace mobility increasing; distributed work practices

U.S. Federal Government Action - needs to be some utility rebates and/or government intervention and support to help with initial high costs

Obama energy plan: (very attainable goals)
reduce carbon emissions 89% by 2050 ( will come through using renewable sources)
implement cap & trade system
25% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025
All new buildings carbon neutral by 2030
increase exisiting buildings' efficiency by 25% by 2010
establish grant program for early adopters
flip incentives to energy utilities

Core beliefs and understandings make a big difference
Chicago accelerated Green Permit Program (get permit in 15 days)
Energy Star - can be obtained for your building
LED General Lighting Two Years Away (LED technology changing evolving every 6 mos)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Kyoto Bali, Copenhagen and Global Activism on Climate Change

Kyoto Protocol
The objective of the Kyoto climate change conference in 1997 was to establish a legally binding international agreement, whereby all the participating nations commit themselves to tackling the issue of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions.
The target agreed upon was an average reduction of 5.2% from 1990 levels by the year 2012.

Bali Road Map --a two-year process to finalizing a binding agreement in 2009 in Copenhagen
* A shared vision for long-term cooperative action, with a long-term global goal for emission reductions.
* Enhanced national/international action on mitigation of climate change.
* Enhanced action on adaptation and technology development and transfer to support action on mitigation and adaptation.
* Enhanced action on the provision of financial resources and investment to support action on mitigation and adaptation and technology cooperation.

Copenhagen Climate Conference

Copenhagen Accord: class research time

* Endorses the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol

* Recognizes that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and emphasizes a "strong political will to urgently combat climate change"

* To prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system,

* Recognizes "the critical impacts of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures on countries particularly vulnerable to its adverse effects"

* States that "enhanced action and international cooperation on adaptation is urgently required and agrees that "developed countries shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries"

* Agrees that developed countries (Annex I Parties) would "commit to economy-wide emissions targets for 2020" to be submitted by 31 January 2010 and agrees that these Parties to the Kyoto Protocol would strengthen their existing targets.

* Agrees that developing nations (non-Annex I Parties) would "implement mitigation actions" to slow growth in their carbon emissions, submitting these by 31 January 2010.

* Agrees that developing countries would report those actions once every two years via the U.N. climate change secretariat,

* Recognizes "the crucial role of reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation and the need to enhance removals of greenhouse gas emission by forests"

* Will use markets to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote mitigation actions.

* Developing countries, specially these with low-emitting economies should be provided incentives to continue to develop on a low-emission pathway

* States that "scaled up, new and additional, predictable and adequate funding as well as improved access shall be provided to developing countries... to enable and support enhanced action"

* Agrees that developed countries would raise $30 billion from 2010-2012

* Agrees a "goal" for the world to raise $100 billion per year by 2020

* Establishes a Copenhagen Green Climate Fund, as an operating entity of the financial mechanism, "to support projects, programs, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation".

* Establishes a Technology Mechanism "to accelerate technology development and transfer...guided by a country-driven approach"

* Calls for "an assessment of the implementation of this Accord to be completed by 2015... This would include consideration of strengthening the long-term goal", for example to limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees

Who are the lobbies or political interest groups who have been active in current climate talks?
Alliance of Small Island States - developing countries want leeway to expand emissions; want access to mitigation technology; worried about dramatic effects of warming for their survival
G77 States - want to avoid limitations on their economic growth
Big Oil Companies - want to protect economic interests; don't have seat at the table but have lobbied and paid Congressmen
OPEC Nations - petroleum lobby
African States - blame European countries - their continent has been ravaged by colonialism
Discussions become social justice discussions
Activist groups - Green Party,; Climate Justice Now;
European Union - ahead of the curve on ameliorating emissions

What was Obama's role in this process?
Industrializing countries (China, India) clandestine meeting brokered by U.S.

What level of limitation and sacrifice is acceptable or necessary?
Reading on BlackBoard:
"What has Posterity Ever Done for Me?" by Robert Heilbroner
Do we have a reason to sacrifice for the unknown future?

Continuation of Group Project Time for New Trier Proposals.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Trier Organic Garden