Going Green

Going Green

Thanks for doing the “green” issue.

It’s surely a lot of work to put that sort of package together and I’m sure no one person will agree with everything in it.

It’s probably the most comprehensive (published) look I’ve seen at Delaware’s environmental situation. Hopefully it will stimulate more thought and discussion.

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Alan Muller, executive director

Green Delaware

I noted with dismay your inclusion of Mr. N.C. Vasuki in a recent story on Delaware’s environmental heroes. Vasuki is a long-time promoter of large-scale waste incineration, which poses a serious threat to the environment and public health. Air pollution currently kills more Americans annually than automobile accidents, yet it could be much worse because just two decades ago, grassroots groups and major environmental organizations across the U.S. defeated over 300 incineration proposals.

Today there is an onslaught of new incineration proposals from Hawaii to Maine, all of them being falsely promoted as clean, green energy. Incineration proponents, having managed to get these technologies qualified for renewable energy subsidies with some misinformed state and federal governments, are sending our nation off-course once again with regard to waste management, pollution, and global warming. Subsidizing incineration also deeply undermines the advancement of other, truly clean technologies such as wind and solar.

Recently, Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility and hundreds of other organizations have signed the “National No Incentives for Incinerators Statement” of the Global Alliance for Incineration Alternatives. It states, in part, that policies that qualify incinerators for renewable energy credits, tax credits, subsidies and other incentives present a renewed threat to environmental and economic justice; incinerators are a toxic technology; incinerators are a major contributor to global warming; and incinerators waste energy, resources, and the planet.

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Delaware’s anti-incineration laws are among the best in the country, and some of the activists who got these laws passed were honored in the Delaware Today article, such as Alan Muller of Green Delaware. Mr. Muller has been a great help and support to us in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts as we face a plan to garner 80 out of 100 megawatts of new “clean” energy by burning chemically contaminated fuels in neighborhoods. You have some true environmental heroes there in Delaware, and they deserve the gratitude and support of every Delaware resident.

Jana Chicoine

Russell, Massachusetts

 On behalf of Wilmington Montessori School, kudos to Delaware Today’s recent “green” issue, particularly Katie Ginder-Vogel’s article on Teaching Green. It is so important to help children understand the part they can play in conserving, protecting and improving our environment. Yet, as your article points out, environmental science is not typically geared towards younger learners or presented in a hands-on fashion that allows children to truly experience ecological learning.

During the past school year, and with support from the Toyota Tapestry program, several Wilmington Montessori School teachers developed a comprehensive environmental science module for our preschool and kindergarten students. These young learners have unlimited capacity, but are often overlooked by standard science curricula. Inspired by and borrowing from DNREC’s “Green Eggs and Sand” program, these students are experiencing the natural world by raising horseshoe crabs, journaling their nature walks and understanding that, without the critical nutrients provided by horseshoe crab eggs, the Delaware Bayshores would be a broken link in the web of life during the spring migration of the red knot.

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Our teachers understand that even children as young as three can develop deep understanding of the environment when allowed to explore and experience the wonders around them. We know this is true from listening to our students use words like habitat or salinity appropriately because they feel the sand between their toes and taste the salt on their lips. They see the effects of litter and pollution by visiting a landfill and debating what happens to all of that garbage.  

A love of science cannot be taught. Children must experience it firsthand at an early age. We applaud the efforts of Delaware Today in raising consciousness about environmental concerns, and bringing perspective from educators raising that awareness in students today. We teachers of young children can plant seeds for ecological learning—raising that awareness earlier and creating life long stewards of the environment.

Linda Zankowsky, Ed.D.

Head of School

Brand Recognition

I was reading the article entitled “A Brand New Look” by Helen Jardine in the November issue. I just wanted to comment on the Christiana Care segment. It’s interesting that the three commentators—Rapisardi, Donofry and Braithwaite—completely missed what I see as the meaning of their logo. It is not just a carved out C or crescent moon. It’s one of those images that, depending on how you view it or how your brain processes it, can be a hidden image. When I look at the Christiana Care logo, I see the head and arms of a person facing to the left. The part of the crescent is actually the outstretched and encircling arms of the person, which is what I think they intended to be interpreted as “care.” So they have the C for Christiana and the person with the encircling arms for Care. It may not be that obvious, but take a look and see if you can see what I see. It would be a shame if most people missed this.

Barbara Kirkland

via the Internet

School Daze

I am writing to voice my anger and resentment over your January issue’s assertion that Delaware’s private schools are better than public schools.

I attended both public and private schools growing up. I am well aware of the advantages and disadvantages of both, and the differences between them. But for you, Mr. Nardone, to claim that you would not have delayed college had you stayed in private school, or for a principal to claim no cheating goes on in his school, is misleading the public.

I am a proud alumnus of A.I. duPont High School. After enduring three years of a private, all-girls middle school, A.I. brought some of the best years of my life. My teachers were just as good as, if not better than, the teachers I had in private school. Yes, my classes were larger in public school, but those large classes prepared me for the 300-person seminars I would take later in college.

Furthermore, the diversity of public school prepared me for the diversity of the real world. With a mixture of races, ethnicities and cultures in public school, I learned to interact with and respect many types of people, despite our differences. By contrast, my private middle school was composed of mostly white, upper-class girls. If you were poor, didn’t look like a Barbie doll or were anything other than Caucasian, you were ostracized and discriminated against.

It is a little known fact that Delaware’s private school teachers are not required to be certified, whereas all public school teachers must be certified in education and have a four-year degree.

And anyone who thinks that private school kids aren’t having just as much sex, doing just as many drugs, or consuming just as much alcohol as public school kids is naïve. So for Delaware Today to so subtly claim that private schools are better—sorry, “different”—is appalling and unconscionable.

Delaware’s public schools are not inherently bad. They are simply under-funded and overworked due to bad decisions made by local, state and federal governments. But they are trying their best, and they are far from awful. Rather than kick public schools while they are down, the government—and the press—should be helping to identify solutions to improve public schools.

Melissa C.

via the Internet


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