Old "school" graphic designed by the amazing Jason Rutter (my brother)

Old “school” graphic designed by the amazing Jason Rutter (my brother)


What started off as a green home and alternative energy talk for my son’s science class has evolved into an epic eco tour of Illinois’ and Chicagolands’s flourishing clean energy scene.  Last year, Ms. Goldberg asked me to give a few 30 minutes talks to her sixth grade classes. Since I’ve come across SO many compelling clean energy projects, I put together a jam-packed slideshow. The students seemed keenly interested and asked super smart questions.  Over the summer,  a mom mentioned my presentation was the only thing her daughter came home and spoke about passionately the whole year.  I couldn’t resist upping my game when Ms. Goldberg asked me back to class this year.  After boiling down even more cool information, over 70 slides now include the drawbacks of fossil fuels(16 slides), clean energy today (23 slides), energy saving features of our home (19 slides), and green jobs (18 slides/40+ changemakers featured).  Best of all, most everything and everyone featured is local.  Students love to hear that Illinois is #4 in the U.S. for wind power, Chicagoland’s rooftops and brownfields are going solar, Illinois is #1 in the country for green building, 25+ electric car models will be available in 2014, and biofuel is locally made from french fry grease, algae and cow waste.  Following more enthusiastic response from this year’s science classes, I’ve converted my iPhoto slides to Powerpoint with side notes, so now you can see it and share it too.  The possibilities of clean energy are truly exciting, and hopefully these examples will inspire way more to come.


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Click HERE to see the PowerPoint and CLICK “NOTES” in the lower right corner (unfortunately my zillion links/sources did not come through in this format, but are available upon request)


Student tested & approved.  Some rave reviews from Ms. Goldberg’s class:

… it was really fun to listen about the alternative energy sources 

… I liked many cool green energy substitutes like algae

… I really liked the mini wind turbines for more urban areas

… we particularly liked the french fry grease converter

… I didn’t know you could do that many things around your house

… I liked your roof with the solar panels

… it was exciting to see the rug made from plastic bottles

… I might try to do some of those things in my house

… we liked how many cool things that people are doing to make a difference in the environment


A sampling of some wonderful eco-artwork by Ms. Goldberg's class, from student's thoughtful thank you notes

Some wonderful eco-artwork included in thank you notes from Ms. Goldberg’s class this year.