Pittsburgh350 Pittsburgh350, January 24, 2019

Are you an educator?  Do you have kids?  Have they been involved in opposing pipelines or wellpads or other polluting, climate-disrupting activities?  Children around the country have been taking up the challenge of improving the future for their communities, and many of them have been captured in an amazing series of short films called Young Voices for the Planet.  These video stories (13 so far, each just a few minutes long) have in turn inspired other kids to take action.  And if your kid(s) have already gotten involved, please let us know — maybe they’d like to be featured in the next YVFP film!

A pair of curricula have been developed, to maximize the films’ reach and impact — one around the science behind the environmental issues, and another around civic engagement and democracy.  The latter will be brought to life in a series of six educator workshops in and around Pittsburgh over the next few months, teaching teachers (and informal educators) how to use the films to most effectively engage the kids they work with to have real impact on environmental issues affecting their communities.  The filmmaker is Lynne Cherry, also an accomplished children’s book author and illustrator who has created some really gorgeous picture books on the environment (likely at your local library).

The films are intended for kids from 4th grade up through high school, and topics range from solar panels to sea level rise, plastic straws to planting trees, oil spills to environmental justice.  The Pittsburgh workshops will enable local educators to help empower local kids to effect change on local (and global) issues.  The first one is this coming Sunday the 27th, at LaRoche — apologies for the very short notice!  While it’s not required to attend the whole sequence, each workshop will have different local speakers and will bring additional insights.  And it would be great to have as many educators as possible for the first one, coming up this Sunday!  There’s still room for more participants, and it’s a great opportunity.
There’s info and a registration link for the upcoming workshop on MarensList, and even more resources on the Young Voices web site.  Most notably, you can read more about the workshop and have an illuminating glimpse into the day in this five-minute trailer, and also view the films themselves.
I encourage you to at least take a look at the workshop trailer, to get a handle on the character of the workshop.  These films are incredibly inspiring, for kids and grownups alike;  a helpful antidote to the doom-and-gloom inherent in current events.