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Becoming Green Energy Experts

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This Michigan State University/Lansing Boys and Girls Club partnership demonstrates the powerful result of giving youth the science background and tools they need to carry out investigations of their own design, and to communicate their knowledge in their own voice.

Teen Fights for Toxic Waste Cleanup

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New York student Shadia Wood tells how she became an environmental activist in this video adapted from Earth Island Institute’s New Leaders Initiative. Wood lives near several toxic waste sites and was concerned to learn that the New York Superfund—the money set aside for cleaning such sites in her state—had gone bankrupt. Working with other students and environmental groups, Wood lobbied the New York legislature for eight years until the Superfund program was refinanced. Environmentalist Laura Haight says that this law was the most important environmental law passed in New York State in a decade.

Three Mile Island Cooling Towers

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In this Building Block video from Frontline: Nuclear Reaction, the four cooling towers at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant dot the horizon at sunrise. Smoke billows from the two towers on the left. The Susquehanna River lies in the foreground.

Big River: A King Corn Companion | Farm Nitrates in the Water Supply

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Learn how farm runoff impacts water quality and human health. Tour the water treatment plant in Des Moines, Iowa, and learn how the water is filtered, in this video excerpted from the independent film Big River: A King Corn Companion. Hear how high nitrate content in water can affect human health, causing such problems as blue baby syndrome, and understand why water treatment plants in agricultural regions need nitrate removal facilities because of the pollution from fertilizer runoff.

Big River: A King Corn Companion | Atrazine Affects the Water Supply

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Learn how waterways are polluted by agricultural pesticides such as atrazine--a herbicide commonly used on corn farms--in this video segment featuring live-action animation, adapted from the independent film Big River: A King Corn Companion. In addition, hear about health concerns related to atrazine exposure from contaminated drinking water.

Environmental Justice in Dallas

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Follow a Dallas community's fight to receive federal Superfund status to clean up the damage from a high-polluting lead smelter in this video segment adapted from Earthkeeping: "Toxic Racism." Hear from a reporter from the National Law Journal who explains some of the health effects of lead exposure and how after a cursory cleanup of a lead smelter site in West Dallas, the community was ignored, despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control about elevated blood lead levels. Meet Luis Sepulveda, a community member who organized the West Dallas Coalition for Environmental Justice, which eventually succeeded in having the site win Superfund status.

Environmental Justice: Opposing Industrial Hog Farming

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This video segment adapted from Earthkeeping: Toxic Racism looks at how pollution from an industrial hog farm impacts people who live near the farm. Learn about waste lagoons and other environmental hazards from animal feeding operations. Hear the story of how one hog farm has affected a community in North Carolina and how residents sued the farm for violations of the Clean Water Act. In addition, learn about how minority communities are unfairly affected by environmental issues.

Environmental Justice: Opposing a Toxic Waste Incinerator

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Learn how farm workers and owners formed a rare alliance in an effort to block the use of an incinerator in their Latino community by suing for environmental discrimination in this video segment adapted from Earthkeeping: "Toxic Racism." Learn about the rural town of Kettleman City, California, where one of the country's largest hazardous waste landfills is located. Hear how farm workers and farm owners joined together to sue the waste management corporation for environmental discrimination against poor and minority communities. In addition, learn about environmental law principles that led to a ruling in favor of the citizens.

Environmental Justice: Opposing a Toxic Waste Landfill

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In this video segment, adapted from Earthkeeping: Toxic Racism, learn about the beginning of the environmental justice movement. Meet various experts and leaders who describe the issues of environmental racism and justice, and learn about the watershed event—the controversy over the location of a toxic landfill in Warren County, North Carolina—that brought the issues to national attention in the early 1980s. See footage of the residents protesting the transport of PCB-contaminated soil to their community, and hear about how the incident triggered further investigations into the relationship between communities of color and toxins.

Food Justice

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Urban high school students discuss problems in food systems and what can be done about them in this adaptation of a video they created in collaboration with the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island. They discuss lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables in urban areas; the high cost of healthy food compared to cheap and abundant junk food; the lack of food grown locally; and animal cruelty. The students offer solutions to these problems, such as urban gardening, buying local food at farmers markets, composting, recycling, and tree planting.

Greater Boston | Can Organic Farms and Mosquito Control Coexist?

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This video segment from Greater Boston examines the issue of spraying pesticides to combat disease-carrying insects. Massachusetts had been planning to use aerial spraying to control the spread of eastern equine encephalitis, a disease spread by mosquitoes. Ron Maribett, an organic farmer, said that if the state sprayed pesticides it would harm his business. The state said it would avoid spraying organic farms, but Maribett would have to bring livestock inside for 48 hours and avoid harvesting crops for two days. Another resident of the area believed that the spraying was necessary, but that farmers should be compensated for any losses.

Teen Maps Contaminants from a Coal Plant

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Meet Marisol, a high school student from Little Village in Chicago in this video adapted from Earth Island Institute. Hear about how she volunteered within her community and found out about the toxins produced by the local coal-burning power plant. Learn about some of the health risks associated with such pollution, and observe how she helped create OurMap of Environmental Justice, an interactive online map that includes videos, facts, and descriptions of toxic pollutants in the community.

Greater Boston | Is Autism Genetic or Environmental?

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Conflicting theories about what causes autism are explored in this video segment from Greater Boston. Scientists still don’t have an answer, and while many focus on genetics, some suspect that environment may also play a role. Mark Blaxill, whose daughter Michaela is autistic, explains why he thinks the disorder is triggered by environmental factors. Dr. Martha Herbert, who studies the brains of autistic children, says that toxins like metals, pesticides, and PCBs have all come under suspicion. But other scientists, like Dr. David Miller, say the key to autism lies in a person’s genes.

Dengue Virus Invades a Cell

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This visualization adapted from the University of Massachusetts Medical School shows the process by which a dengue virus releases its genetic contents inside a host cell, allowing viral replication. The key players are proteins found on the viral surface called envelope proteins, which change their structure when the virus is endocytosed, or taken inside the cell. This structural change enables the viral membrane to fuse with the endosomal membrane, and the virus' RNA to enter the cytoplasm of a host cell. There, ribosomes will make viral proteins that will spread to other cells through the replication and secretion of new viral particles.

Healthy Snacks

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In this animated video segment adapted from the Eagle Books series produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rain That Dances and his friends learn about snacks. Mr. Eagle and Miss Rabbit explain that healthy snacks should not contain a lot of sugar and that all snacks should be eaten in small amounts. They explore some snacks that could be eaten every day, such as apple slices, carrots, cherries, and water. Coyote tries to entice them with less healthy snacks, such as cookies, soda pop, and potato chips. These snacks are “sometimes” foods, meaning that they are okay only if eaten once in a while.

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