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Introducing The Green Beans & the Litterbugs: A Multimedia Approach to Environmental Education

1525366_695396423825150_1412516447_nIn celebration of National Environmental Education Week and Earth Day next Tuesday April 22, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who read my blog in the United States and around the world. TeachGreenBlog now has readership in over 30 countries! I appreciate your continued support and shared interest in environmental education.

Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of The Green Beans & the Litterbugs at www.getgreenandgrow.com. For the past three years, I have been working with three of my talented and accomplished cousins to develop a unique model of interactive green entertainment for young children and their families. We envision The Green Beans & the Litterbugs as a franchise of engaging children’s programs, trade and ebooks, online games, webisodes, toys and other associated products. The Green Beans stories are designed to entertain young audiences, while promoting basic environmental themes, cultural diversity and positive social behaviors.

We have carefully constructed The Green Beans & the Litterbugs with an international worldview. We adhere to environmentally sustainable practices and support the United Nations’ definition of sustainability, “to meet the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Initially, we are using our newly launched website and social media to spread the word.

Teach Green with Ecofriendly Characters
It is well documented that children like learning activities more if they involve beloved characters. When they see them on television or online, they want to imitate their behaviors. So why not use these influences to encourage good habits rather than unhealthy ones? In addition, popular characters can also be influential in shaping the ideas, behaviors and purchasing decisions of families with young children.

The Green Beans & the Litterbugs features five members of the Green Bean Team – Ruby Monkey Bean, Bella Brontosaurus Bean, Bentley Bear Bean, Gibbon Monkey Bean, and Crawford Crab Bean. With the help of their roving satellite Bloorb, the Beans travel the globe solving environmental emergencies caused by the Litterbugs. Each Green Bean story highlights a different ecological issue that becomes part of the plot. Real world environmental challenges are placed in the context of animated action that children can absorb and understand.

In order to shape a positive message, we created the Green Beans content with two important themes that run through the story lines. The first is a “green” theme highlighting an environmental issue in a specific geographical location that becomes the setting of the story. Young viewers will have the opportunity to observe how the Green Beans work as a team to respond to the problem, determine its cause and use logic to find a sustainable solution.

The second element that runs through the stories is a “character” theme. Virtues such as truthfulness, helping others and the importance of family are just a few of the positive traits that are subtly embedded into the plot to reinforce pro-social behaviors. These traits are demonstrated in the actions of the Green Beans and help children learn tolerance and conflict resolution by observing their positive example.

Children Virtually Explore the World
Each episode features a different location where a local child and indigenous animal assist the Green Beans in solving the ecological problem. As a result, viewers gain a global perspective of the challenges other kids may face in their part of the world. The stories are fictional and fun, but environmentally, culturally, and geographically correct.

The Green Beans & the Litterbugs is designed to also provide factual information about nature and the environment that can even be used as a supplement to classroom curriculum. Our website is full of interesting “field facts” pertaining to geography, habitats, flora, fauna and cultural influences on the environment. We host “Bloorb’s Blog” with up-to-date information on green events, activities and crafts, as well as sustainable tips for healthy living. We also welcome feedback from children who are making a difference in their communities. It is truly a green movement designed just for kids.

It is our ultimate goal to lead young viewers to a better understanding of the world around them in order to prepare for a sustainable future. We are seeking to partner with like-minded organizations that will join us in further developing The Green Beans & the Litterbugs for the benefit of kids everywhere. I hope you will visit our newly launched website at www.getgreenandgrow.com and “like” us on Facebook.Green Beans Logo

Thanks for reading.

Elizabeth

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Earth Day Resolutions to Boost Your Environmental Awareness

Have you ever wondered how your personal lifestyle may impact the environment? Earth Day is Monday, April 22nd …the perfect time to take stock of our ecological footprint and create a list of eco-friendly resolutions. Especially since our New Year’s list has most likely been lost in the shuffle by this time.

Five Easy Ways to Get Started

1. Experience Nature – No, I’m not talking about cutting the grass or firing up the grill in the backyard. Take the time to roll up your sleeves, put on your hiking boots and go exploring. Find areas near you to experience the natural world firsthand and learn. It’s human nature to care about things that you know and love. Connect with the parks, preserves and nature centers in your area and discover the cultural and natural history that has helped to shape the place where you live today.
2. Share Your Experiences (Past and Present) With Others – As we become more and more technologically advanced, we frequently rely on digital images and information to satisfy our curiosity about the world. However, remember…nothing can take the place of the actual experiences that stimulate our senses, spark our imagination and energize us. Take the time to experience nature wherever you may find it; and share your experiences with others, especially children. Our culture is enriched by the oral histories of people and places that are passed from one generation to the next.
3. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – I know, I know. No eco-lecture is complete without the three R’s. Beyond the obvious benefits of reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and conserving natural resources, the actual act of recycling is a daily reminder of our responsibility to the environment and the impact of our actions. If I throw even one metal can in with the regular garbage, I immediately feel remorse and imagine it sitting in a massive landfill that future generations will have to clean up one day. Feeling the guilt already, aren’t you?
4. Volunteer – Become a steward to your local environment and you’ll get as much as you give. Environmental volunteers participate in a wide range of activities from organized clean-up efforts to wildlife monitoring, habitat restoration and educating others about the natural world. Volunteering not only helps preserve the environment, but it also benefits the volunteers themselves by promoting civic pride, social interaction with like-minded people, personal development and an attachment to a particular place which fosters a general ethic of care for the environment overall.
5. Learn Something New Every Week – If all else fails and you’ve gone a week without a moment to spare, take fifteen minutes to go on the Internet and learn something new about the environment. The world is filled with amazing wonders that will lift your spirit, broaden your perspective, and hopefully, encourage you to reconsider making time for the first four resolutions. I know you’ll be glad that you did.

Sometimes it seems like the relationship between human activity and the Earth is too complicated for one person’s actions to make a significant difference. I have felt that way many times myself. But, in the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Happy Earth Day!

Elizabeth