Archive for October, 2005

Letter Published in the New York Times

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

   Last week, I wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times in response to an article about what climate change means for arctic communities. Today my letter was published. You can read my letter below or at You can also read the original Time’s article about the arctic here.

To the Editor:
“Old Ways of Life Are Fading as the Arctic Thaws” (“The Big Melt” series, front page, Oct. 20) highlights an important and unfair aspect of global warming.
   The people who are emitting the most greenhouse gases — the people living in North America, Europe and Japan — are wealthy and live almost entirely between 30 degrees north and 60 degrees north. Yet the effects of climate change will be hardest felt elsewhere, either at the poles, as your article suggests, or in the tropics, where poorer countries will struggle to adapt to a changing climate.
   This is deeply unfair, and I think that this is a feature of global warming that most Americans are unaware of. We have to cut our carbon dioxide emissions out of respect for the rest of the world.
David Kroodsma
Stanford, Calif., Oct. 20, 2005
The writer is a research assistant, department of global ecology, Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Thurgood Marshall High — San Francisco

Monday, October 24th, 2005

   After visitng Mountain View High in the morning, I got in my car (which is now for sale…) and drove half an hour up to Thurgood Marshall High School in the Bayview district of San Francisco. I met with teacher Ellen Yoshitsugu, and then talked with her 9th grade earth sciences class and her 12th grade AP environmental studies.
   Perhaps the most interesting parts of my school visits have been seeing what different schools in the bay area are like. People in the bay divide themselves impressively between their municipalities. At Palo Alto High, the majority of students are Caucasian, and you would have no idea that over 40% of California is Latino. In east San Jose (or East Palo Alto), you would have no idea that California is anything but Latino. I think that Mountain View (see post after this) was actually the most representative mix of ethnicities and backgrounds in the area.

Thurgood Marshall High School
Thurgood Marshall High School

   Thurgood Marshall High was a diverse mix of Asian, Latino, and African Americans. It is difficult to make more generalizations other than appearance, however, in my short visits. The two classes I talked with at the school were quite different. The first class, a 9th-grade class, was very difficult to connect with. The second class, a senior AP environmental studies was quite interested in this trip. A number of the students stayed after the class ended and talked with me about college applications as well as about my trip.

Mountain View High School

Monday, October 24th, 2005
Mountain View High School

   Mountain View High School starts very early in the morning (7:10AM) and is just a little bit further away from my house than I expected. I rode 40 minutes to the school in the dawn along foothill expressway, and arrived just as school began.
   I presented to 4 ninth-grade classes for teacher Teri Faught. Teri runs her own coral reef activism project, and was very excited about this project. The students, who were a bit tired this early morning and interested in talking about their recent homecoming football victory, still managed (I think) to absorb some of the climate change information I was sharing.

Riekes Center Students

Friday, October 21st, 2005

   I biked to Huddart Park today to talk to a group of students at the Riekes center. The students, who are all home schooled, meet once a week at the park for environmental learning.

Riekes Center Students
Student Pyramid

   The park, which sits in the middle of an impressive redwood forest, is located on the side of the coastal mountains overlooking the bay area. The 13 students gathered under one of the kiosks, where I showed a powerpoint presentation from my laptop. The students, aged 13 to 17, were eager learners and I stayed for an hour and a half instead of the usual 50 minutes.
   Afterwards, the students made a pyramid, showing off how well thy can ‘work together.’ (If you click on that funny looking picture on the right, it will open a movie of the students building a pyramid. Yes, I just figured out how to upload movies.)

Independence High in East San Jose

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

   Today I took the caltrain to San Jose and then biked 5 miles across the sprawling city to Independence High School in East San Jose.

Independence High
Independence High 9th Graders -- San Jose

I spoke with 7 classes of 9th-gradders, all in the school’s ‘planetarium.’ Many of the students family’s had emigrated from Mexico (whether this generation or earlier), and I received many excited shouts when I listed the cities that I will bike through south of the border. Also, so far these are the only classes to correctly name all of the countries in Central America.