Archive for October, 2013

Green Ninja Film Festival

What do you get when you combine science with a good story?  For a group of sixth graders from Redwood Middle School in Napa, CA, they get the chance to plan, direct, and star in their own films about the environment. They also have the chance to show their film at the Green Ninja Film Festival.


In July 2013, a group of 20 Bay Area science teachers came to San Jose State University (SJSU) to attend “Scientific Storytelling and the Green Ninja Film Academy” – a workshop hosted by the Bay Area Earth Science Institute ( The standards-based workshop combined climate science content with the essentials of film making so that teachers can guide their students through a film making experience.  SJSU’s Film Professor Harry Mathias provided instruction on both filmmaking and the use of iPads as filmmaking tools, and teachers were able to make their own Green Ninja films during the workshop. Participating teachers are now able to borrow a set of 10 iPads for their students to use in the classroom.

The climate science filmmaking experience culminates in the Green Ninja Film Festival – a public showing of the best student films as determined by a panel of judges.  Complete details about the film festival can be found here ( 

We are very excited to see the results from our student filmmakers!

The Green Ninja Film Festival is December 6th, 2013, with another film festival planned for May, 2014. 

Contact if you have further questions. 


Understanding the IPCC Report

A big report on climate change (IPCC AR5) came out recently and our Green Ninja Science Team has been poring over the details.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll share some of the more interesting results from the most detailed and peer-reviewed assessment of our climate system ever.  So let’s get started!

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) has completed their Scientific Assessment report and it is full of new findings and figures.  Chief among those was a new statement that goes something like this:

“It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century”

Although this may not seem such a big deal, for a scientific organization like the IPCC, it’s like someone screaming at the top of her lungs – we’ve found it, we’ve found it!!  So what are they yelling about?  They are now sure that humans are causing our recent climate to change – period.

Of course there is more to the story, but this conclusion is firm.

Ok, and now on to a pretty picture!

surface temperature

This Figure SPM.1 (from the Summary for Policymakers) shows how temperatures have changed on Earth over the last 150 years.  In the top plot, the annual average temperature is shown from a couple of different observation networks.  A couple of points do jump out.  First, the temperatures bounce around a lot from year to year – a bit like a pinball machine bouncing around.  However, we can also see that there were two strong warming periods – one from about 1910 to 1940 and the other from about 1970 to about now.  The second part of the figure, we see the same data now grouped by 10-year averages that filter out all the wiggles.  Now the warming periods are even clearer.

Let’s look at another picture!

change in surface temp

The second plot (Figure B) looks at how much temperatures have changed over the last 110 years at different points on the Earth.  As you can see, most places are between 0.5 and 1.5 degrees C warmer today compared to 1900.  Although that may seem a small number, it’s actually quite noticeable if we stop and notice.  So for sure the planet is warmer.

If you have any questions, send them along and our Science Team will do our best to answer them.

Please tune in next time and we’ll look at another aspect of the new IPCC report!

Green Ninja Teacher Resources!

How far can you go on one burrito? Questions like these fuel the imaginations of us here at The Green Ninja Project. Our scientists, educators, and filmmakers create engaging, fun, and creative ways for students to learn about the science behind our changing environment. The Green Ninja™ energizes, activates, and engages students (and teachers!) to make a difference.  We create resources teachers can use, such as:

miles per burrito

Check out Eugene Cordero’s 13-minute TEDx talk and tell us where you fall on Eugene’s burrito enjoyment index. And see the Green Ninja make his dramatic entrance with a special-delivery burrito.  You won’t believe how high he can leap. Go Green Ninja!

eugene and green ninja

Interview with Dr. Burrito!

In the first episode of the Green Ninja Show, we meet Dr. Burrito.

Dr. Burrito is played by Eugene Cordero, a professor of Meteorological and Climate Science at San José State University.


Eugene loves burritos! To celebrate the first episode of the Green Ninja Show, the Green Ninja Blogging team asked him about his favorite food as inspiration.

Why do you love burritos?

To be honest, I’m not really sure.  I’ve always enjoyed Mexican food, but for some reason, I’m drawn towards burritos.  Perhaps it’s the simplicity and the nice eatable package – a tortilla.  It’s probably also all the great taquerias here in the Bay Area!  

What is your favorite kind of burrito?

My favorite is a vegetarian burrito! I tend to interrogate the burrito makers about their ingredients so I can steer towards my favorites (e.g. grilled veggies, black beans). Oh, and fresh avocado or homemade guacamole is a big plus.  I also have to say that I LOVE breakfast burritos when done right…eggs, potatoes, rice and beans with some good salsa.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!!

Why is food an important part of our environmental footprint?

All foods require some energy to grow and produce, and thus are responsible for some carbon emissions.  However, some foods, like beef, pork and processed foods have a much larger carbon footprint compared to foods such as vegetables and grains.  I was actually surprised to find out how big a difference our food choices can make on our individual carbon footprint.

What do you recommend for those of us who want to reduce our food footprint?

For me I just try to be conscious of the choices I make.  Making one climate-conscious food choice every week is a good place to start.  Changing what we eat isn’t easy, so starting slow and staying aware is a great way to get involved.

When will you eat your next burrito?

Looking at my upcoming week…I do see a breakfast burrito in the horizon!

veggie burrito smaller

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