Thursday, December 17, 2009

From the Pan American School of Bahia

Today I am visiting the school in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, where my daughter Sofia Hart teaches 5th grade. I've already met some of the really sweet and cute students here, and am looking forward to meeting others when I talk with the classes later: two of Miss Sofia's classes and one of Ms. Anne's classes.

I am so thrilled that the students read my blog and wrote messages to me. This children's blog was one of the best things about my Climate Walk. I would like to continue receiving messages from children and I will try to write more interesting things about the environment and the people and creatures that are affected by Climate Change.

Love, Nana Greta

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An online article for you

Dear Children,

I invite you to look at an article that includes mention of me. I am honored to be part of this group of environmentalists. Click here.

Love, Nana Greta

Monday, September 14, 2009

How about an event on October 24?

Dear Children,

This photograph is to show you that I had fun along the way when I was walking my 1150 miles from New Orleans to the Canadian border. This fancy setup was in front of a house in northeastern Pennsylvania.


Most of you will recognize this beautiful woman who walked almost 50 miles with me in July, right before she went to Brazil to teach in the PanAmerican School in Bahia. She is my daughter, Ms. Sofia Hart, and she is the one who suggested that I have a blog especially for children. I'm so glad she did.


About your comments: thanks to all of you who wrote nice things to me. I love to hear from you. I apologize to those whose names I missed before:

Gai and Igor and someone who didn't write his or her name - thanks for your comments. Let me know if I missed anyone else.

Billy and Chris, when I was your age I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I was around 14 I wanted to be a writer and called myself Inky because I always got ink on my fingers when I wrote with a fountain pen. Now that I'm grown up I keep finding new things that I want to do.

What can you do for the environment at your school? A special event on October 24 which is the International Day of Climate Action. Talk with your teachers about it. You can get lots of information on this website: www.350.org. You can register your event and it will be counted along with almost 1500 other events in over 100 countries. It doesn't have to be something complicated and difficult.

One requirement for the 350.org International Day of Climate Change is that you produce a photograph with the number 350 in a creative way. You can see examples on the website.

I hope to hear from you about your ideas.

Love, Nana Greta

PS - Robert, a late happy birthday for 9/9/99

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Now that I'm home, what next?

My last week on the road included many interesting sights. I thought these horses, under the trees with the flowers in the foreground, were beautiful.

I watched these girls fishing with their father - they caught three little fishes which they were going to cook up for breakfast the next day. I thought to myself: "These children are two of the grandchildren I'm waling for."

The last day was very rainy and windy, but nothing bothered me because I was so happy. Here we're all laughing because my umbrella turned inside out.

Dear Children,

I'm at home now, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It's a beautiful, sunny day in September and I just did a little work in my garden, which got neglected because I wasn't here to do my share of taking care of it through the summer.

When I came in from the garden I read all the new comments on the blog, and I went back to March to find some of your comments there. I may have missed some so if I don't mention your name please remind me. Today I will write to all of you, whether you have written a comment or not - I appreciate your reading even if you don't respond. Here are the names of children who didn't get on the list last time:

Susan, Barbara, Anya, Anabela, Guilherme, Katie, Rani, David, and Chloe - Thanks for adding your comments. I will try to answer all you said and asked but not by name.

Coins - Unfortunately I didn't keep count of all the coins I collected, including those that others found when they were walking with me and contributed to the collection. Some of the coins are very old and damaged, and I plan to take a picture of them to show you. I think only a bank will accept them. My daughter, Ms. Hart, found a lot of coins, including dimes and quarters. Sometimes other people who were walking with me found bigger coins while I kept finding pennies. My guess is that all in all we collected about $5.00, but I spent some of the coins as I went along, so we'll never know.

New York/New York City - During my walk I didn't get very close to New York City at all. I was walking in the state of New York, through the cities of Binghamton, Syracuse, Cortland, Watertown, Canton and Potsdam, and many other villages, ending up in Rouses Point on the border with Canada and the state of Vermont.

Working for the climate - Many of you are doing good things for the Planet Earth, at home and at school. I like hearing about your efforts to recycle (including recycled art and posters), to use less water and electricity, and to learn more about global warming. It's wonderful when you share what you're doing and what you've learned with other students and with your family. Good job! I hope your student council (STUCO) can do good things for the environment.

When you grow up - I was very moved by your thoughts about what you would like to do when you grow up. I will work hard for you to have a better world to grow up in. Actually, whatever your occupation is - engineer, actress, teacher, nurse or doctor, etc. - you will have many opportunities to fight pollution and global warming. And during your time off you will be able to do things like walking a long distance to call attention to climate change.

I want to thank all of you for your enthusiasm and your kind words about my courage, and your wishes for my safety. You make me want to work all the harder for the Earth.

So what shall we do next? Please tell me what you're thinking and doing. Maybe you want to plan an event for October 24 when people all around the world will be doing things to demonstrate their desire for more action on the problem of Climate Change. I hope to hear from you. (And Happy Birthday to Nani and Anabela!)

Love, Nana Greta


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Today I reach my destination

Dear Children,

Today I'm going to write just a short message to you because I need to walk my last nine miles to get to the end of Route 11. Here I am at the 25 mile mark.

I wanted to show you this photograph of a wind farm in Northern New York State - there were dozens of windmills. Do you remember the video of little windmills down in Alabama? I took a video of these, up close, and I will post it early next week.

And this photo reminds me of a picture of this farm machine I took way back, also in Alabama. This time it has a windmill behind it. I think it's cool!

Please check the blog again soon. I want to answer the questions that you asked me but don't have time today.

Love, Nana Greta

Sunday, August 23, 2009

NICE TO HEAR FROM ALL OF YOU!


A sunflower and some sheep.

A northern barn, built so that the snow can slide off the roof.

A river canyon in Watertown. Remember how there were no rocks down on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. There certainly are rocks in Northern New York State.

I've seen many deer crossings but here is a cow crossing.

Dear Children -

This is a message to all the children who have been reading my blog, especially the new ones who posted so many new messages to me.

I have three dozen messages to respond to so this time I will write to everyone at once.

Luiz H., Cela, Pedro 5B, Sabrina, Lua, Luis, Felipe, Marco Silveira, Omar Abbas, Ana Maria, Bia, Marilia, Susan, Fernanda, Ivan, Juliana, Jaqueline, Maria Miguel, Julia, Larissa, Malu, Rafael, Stephanie, Melissa, Amanda, Alice, Rone, Jose Vitor, Billy and Cris, and Christina:

You all are so wonderful, you give me a great boost, new courage, and hope for the future.

Many of you said you would like to do what I'm doing - you would like to walk, to see the states in the US, to do something for the environment. Some of you thought you wouldn't have the courage or the will to walk so much. Let me tell you something: all of you will be able to something like this some day. You will have energy and courage for the things you really believe in. I hope you will have a safe and diversified world to live in, with animals for you to love and care for, and much beauty and wonder.

Here are some of the animals I've seen: deer, goats, sheep, cows, horses, rabbits, squirrels, dogs, cats, a bear, wild turkeys, many kinds of birds, a snake, frogs, turtles. Unfortunately I've also seen animals that were run over by cars: armadillos, raccoons, opossums, and some of the ones I mentioned above.

I call my motor home a gypsy wagon because I've always liked to wander and I've admired the life of gypsies. I like to pretend that I'm a gypsy. Other things I call it are: motor home, van, RV, truck, vehicle.

About public transportation in Brazil: I can understand that sometimes the buses in big cities are not safe or comfortable. But it is wonderful in Brazil that you can get almost anywhere by bus, much more so than in the US. It's not good for everyone to have to have a car for everything they do, and I hope that we can work to improve public transportation here and in Brazil.

Some of you mentioned things you do at home to help the environment. That's excellent - keep doing what you can. It's good to be aware about not wasting water, electricity, paper, food.

I wish all of you could join me for a day. I'm getting very close to the end of my walk. I will send you some more photos, and I hope to hear from you again.

Love, Nana Greta

Friday, August 21, 2009

A little message

This morning I am leaving the nice place on Lake George where I've spent a short vacation with family members, including my little granddaughter from Brazil. I will walk on Route 11 for the next eight days and arrive at the end of my journey on Saturday, August 29.

I received a wonderful batch of messages from a group of children in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. They put a big smile on my face and I loved their ideas and questions. Children from Bahia, I will respond to you as soon as possible, hopefully this weekend. It's not always easy to get on the internet, but I hope to find a library tomorrow where they have WiFi.

Now I must leave for the six hour trip back to where I stopped walking last Saturday.

Love, Nana Greta

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nana Greta has walked 1000 miles

This is me near Pulaski in New York State, as I complete 1ooo miles of my walk. I have about 170 to go.

Remember the long line of hay bales covered in white plastic? Not far from them I saw this strange sight peeking out from behind the corn. What do you think it is?
Well, well - someone had fun painting this huge caterpillar complete with antennae.

Here is my friend Tim, who walked almost 100 miles with me, some in PA and some in NY. He is peering into a little house, which I think is a shelter for children to wait in for the school bus when the weather is bad.

Love, Nana Greta

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My final State: New York

Dear Children,

See if you can name the eight states I've walked through by now. The list is at the bottom of this posting. Now I'm walking through the last state on my journey, the state of New York. This weekend I'll walk through the city of Syracuse.

This is a busy time in the countryside. These silos are where the harvest is stored in the winter months.

Hay is one of the main crops in this area. It is long grass that is dried and bundled for the cows, horses and pigs to eat in the winter when there is no fresh grass. All those white things are bales of hay covered in plastic to keep them dry.

This machine takes the big rolled up bale of hay and wraps it tight in plastic. See the roll of plastic underneath. The hay has to be cut and dried and put away dry, so it's important to have a few days without any rain. The sunny days of August are perfect.

This cat had such shiny green eyes when I spotted it by the roadside - it was probably looking for a mouse or bird. Farmers often keep cats to hunt the mice that eat away at the corn and other grains.

And these beautiful scarecrows are supposed to scare the birds away so that they won't eat seeds and fruit from the garden.

What are you doing with your August days? Hope it's a great month for you.

Love, Nana Greta

States: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, (a tiny corner of Georgia that I'm not counting), Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

More photos from Pennsylvania

Dear Children -

I'm sure you've seen murals in your towns - this is a mural in Duncannon, Pennsylvania, and I'm trying to climb into the mural so that I can go hiking in that magical place.

This little nest built among the reeds of grass amazed me. When I look closely at the photo I think I see the little head of a baby bird. What do you think?

Remember my husband, Guy? He joined me and walked five days with me.

We saw this sign and wondered how many rooms there are for rent in the little cart. Maybe they're renting rooms to rabbits and birds.

I love the sight of this little town across the Susquehanna River. It looks so peaceful.

I hope you're having a great vacation.

Love, Nana Greta

Monday, July 20, 2009

A long time without posting


My daughter, Sofia, whom some of you know as Ms. Hart, is walking with me now, and she brought me good luck - we've been finding lots of pennies along the road, and a few nickles and dimes. We're in Northeastern Pennsylvania, in a small university town called Bloomsburg. It's on a lovely river called the Susquehanna, one of my favorite rivers in the world.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Some photos from Northern Virginia

Dear Children,

By now you should know that I love animals and flowers and little houses. This cow reminds me of the longhorns I saw in Alabama.


These white flowers line the road like sentinels keeping track of who is passing by.

Who wants to move into this little house with me? I think it didn't cost very much to make it, but I like the way it looks. And see the dog in the cage next to it? He barked loudly at me.

Did you know that you can eat the buds of day lilies, the orange flowers below? My husband taught me that. I picked some and fried them in olive oil, added tomatoes, salt and pepper, and then broke two eggs into the pan. An excellent supper with brown rice!

These flowers remind me of bells; they looked so pretty in front of a little restaurant in a village.

Happy 4th of July!

Love, Nana Greta

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hello there!

Dear Children,

I haven't been able post any photos here for quite awhile because my laptop computer is sick. Please check back now and then and hopefully I'll have something for you soon.

How is your vacation going? Are you helping to fight global warming? Sometimes it's very hard to do, but we have to keep trying.

I'm in Virginia now, almost all the way through, in a town called Stephens City. I've walked 560 miles. Next week I'll be in Pennsylvania, which is where I live. Some of my friends and family will join me to walk a day or more. It will be great to have company.

Love, Nana Greta

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How to be global warming fighters

Summer roses

Dear Children,

Soon you will be on vacation and I hope your days will be fun and relaxing. Last week I suggested that during your vacation you should walk more and take public transportation sometimes in order to use less gas. Today I want to talk to you about electricity in your home.

Maybe you already do this, but if not, try to turn off all the lights in your home that are not being used. Talk to your parents and other members of the household so that they know why you are doing this. Other things that can be turned off when they're not really needed are the TV, air-conditioners, fans, computers, chargers and power strips. 

Sometimes we turn on lights indoors even when we don't really need them. Instead we can use natural light coming in through the window - all we have to do is get closer to the window. 

Why is electricity a problem? Most of our electricity in the East of the United States (that includes Boston) is made by burning coal, which emits a lot of carbon dioxide, adding to global warming. Sometimes electricity is made by using the force of rushing water. That is a cleaner process but we need to be very careful about how we use water because we need it for so many other things and there are places in the world where there isn't enough water to go around. 

Electricity made from the wind with huge wind mills, or from the sun with solar panels is clean and doesn't contribute to global warming. These technologies are fairly new and can be very expensive to get started, but hopefully in your lifetime they will become widely used. I made a little video of some old-fashioned windmills on a farm in Alabama for you. It's posted at the bottom of this page. The noise is an electric mower that the farmer is using to mow his lawn.

Saving water is one more way to fight the climate change problem: be careful to not waste water. Don't let the faucet run more than you need to, give plants only the amount they need, take shorter showers, and pay attention when you wash dishes or clothes to use water wisely.

If all the children in the world would save electricity and water it would make a huge difference. 

Love, 

Nana Greta 
video

Monday, June 1, 2009

The hills and valleys of Virginia

Dear Children,

On Friday I climbed my first real mountain on this journey. Near the top I found this Black Snake right along side the road. At first I thought it was a strip of tire, but then I noticed the small head with a tiny eye watching me attentively. I walked across to the other side to let the snake have its space. Later I learned that while this snake is not poisonous it can be somewhat aggressive and it's better not to bother it.


This is what I saw at the top of the mountain. I think you will find the story interesting.

I really liked this statue in the city of Abingdon - I think it's a statue of the fairy named Ariel.

And here are cattails in a meadow beside the road. 

Next time I write to you I will make another suggestion for your summer.

Love, Nana Greta

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What can you do this summer about climate change?

Dear children,

In just a few weeks American children will be enjoying summer vacation, while children in the Southern Hemisphere, including Brazil, usually have some vacation time in July. Let's think about some of the things you can do to help the planet while you're away from school.

I'll start today with transportation, because driving a car (or a motor home) burns more fossil fuels per person than when you take public transportaion:

Explore the public transportation system in your area. See where all you can go on the local buses or trains. Find routes that will take you to the beach or to parks where you can hike or swim.

Get around without using any fossil fuels - you can walk of ride a bike instead of riding in a car. Walking or biking can be a fun way to spend the day, and it's good for your health too.

Try to help your family use the car less by doing many errands at the same time, or walking instead of driving if it's not too far. You can make suggestions - if your parents don't accept your ideas don't get upset. Just do the best you can.

Report back to this blog in the comment section to share what you do.

Next time I'll write about other ways to enjoy the summer as a good global warming activist.

Love, Nana Greta

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hello children,

This is the photograph that I asked a question about: Why do you think I took this picture? There a a photo of cows above and some of you thought I was asking about the animals. But here there is an important something that helps global warming. Can you tell what it is?


By the way, today I found a penny, a nickel, and dime and a quarter - lucky day!

Love, 
Nana Greta

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Coins and Offsets

First some photographs:

Last week when my knee was injured it also rained every day, making it hard to make progress on my journey. At night it sometimes rained hard, with lightening and thunder. I like storms so that was OK. I took a picture of the drops on my windshield.

But the sun returned as I entered the hilly region of northeastern Tennessee.

I took another photograph showing the rocks pushing up through the ground in this hilly country.

Wouldn't you like to go with me to see where this path leads?

Maybe it would take us to this pretty barn.

One of the fun things I enjoy is finding coins along the road. Yesterday I found a dime, a nickel and a penny. Since the beginning of the trip, including yesterday, I've picked up four dimes, two nickels and sixteen pennies. How much does that make? Do you think I'll be rich by the end of my trip?

Did you ever hear of a carbon offset? When a company or a person burns a lot of fossil fuel (gas, oil, coal and other substances), they are releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is one of the main causes of global warming. But sometimes people haven't found ways to do what they need to do without burning fossil fuels so even though they know better they keep on doing it. They can do something to help fight against global warming by sending money to organizations that are working to improve the situation. They do this by planting trees, educating the public, convincing government to make good environmental laws, and improving technology so that there are better ways to do things without burning fossil fuels. Carbon offset is what we call the money donated to these organizations by users of fossil fuels. That money helps offset, or compensate for, the negative effects of the fuels.

I am one of those people burning too much fossil fuel even though I know better. My motor home (sometimes I call it my gypsy wagon) uses a lot of gas. It has an older motor that doesn't burn fuel efficiently, and it is heavy so it takes more gas to make it run. I decided that I needed to take the motor home along with me so that I would have a place to sleep and eat. So I plan to figure out how much I need to contribute in carbon offsets to make my Climate Walk more correct. I'll let you know when I figure it out.

Love, Nana Greta

PS - I responded to your comments in an older posting, the one about weather versus climate. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Limping along

Hello, dear children -

If you look at the map that shows my progress, you will see that I'm not walking as much as usual. That's because I hurt my knee and I can only walk a little each day. I think it's getting better and I'll be walking more every day now. 

Love, Nana Greta

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Climate versus Weather

Dear Children,

I'm sending you a few more photos from Alabama. But first I want to write a bit about the difference between climate and weather, since I'm walking to bring attention to Climate Change not Weather Change. Do you know the difference?

Weather is what happens at a certain time in a definite place. For example, today it might be raining and warm in Boston, while it is dry but cold in São Paulo. And tomorrow it might be very windy in the morning but calm and gorgeous in the afternoon. 

Climate is about the conditions that prevail year after year in a certain area of the world, such as New England or Southern Brazil. Both Boston and São Paulo can be said to have humid sub-tropical climates, but Boston is quite a bit colder. São Paulo never gets snow, but even if it did snow on a strange weather day it would still have a subtropical climate. However, if it started getting snow every year we would say that the climate changed. 

Now this is actually happening around the world: the climate is changing. But it's not getting colder as the example I made up for São Paulo. It's getting warmer, which is where the term 'global warming' comes from. From our human point of view, it's getting warmer very slowly and some people don't even believe it. It can be hard to notice because it might not seem any warmer in some places. I read that the state of Alabama has actually experienced a cooling trend the last few years. But even if both Boston and São Paulo had unusually cold summers, the average temperature around the Earth would still be warmer. 

So we need to learn to pay attention to the weather where we live so that we know whether to wear a sweater or carry an umbrella, or if we should plan to go to the beach on the weekend. And we need to pay attention to the climate and try to stop the things that human beings do that are making it hotter,  because the heat brings with it some changes that are harmful to people, animals and plants.  

And now to the pictures. If you pay attention you will see something about the weather in Alabama this past week - no blue skies, because it was a very rainy week. 

Notice the stones that make up the walls of this shed. In the beginning of my walk, in Louisiana and southern Mississippi, there were no rocks, only shells and pebbles. But northern Alabama has hills with lots of rocky ridges.

Remember my photos from Mississippi, when the road was lined with pine trees? This looks very different.

Did you ever see dovecotes like this? They are made of gourds that have been painted white. If you look closely you will see little birds that are flying to the nests they've made inside the gourds.

This farm machine and the tree branches are reaching out to each other.

A pretty farm.

Love,

Nana Greta 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Children from Chapel School in São Paulo, Brazil - and all the children that usually read this blog


Dear Children -

Today I am happy to respond to the second-graders at Chapel. First of all, I am so proud of you for celebrating Earth Day and paying attention to Global Warming. Thank you for using some of my photos and calling attention to my WALK. It makes me feel very special and encourages me to keep walking. 

I want to answer your questions:

- "How is the temperature in the state where you are now?" 
It is Spring, and in Alabama the flowers are blooming and the trees have filled out with leaves. I had some very cold nights, below freezing, in the first part of April but now it's in the 50's at night and in the 70's and 80's in the daytime. Soon it will be so hot that I will try to do most of my walking early in the morning and in the late afternoon and evening. 

- "Is there much pollution where you are today?" 
Actually, I haven't noticed much pollution along the way as I've walked. The air seems clear and often I smell the flowers. However usually the streams and rivers look quite dirty and full of litter, and sometimes I worry about all the fumes from the trucks and cars that rush by me.

- "Are you feeling tired?" 
I haven't felt tired. Sometimes, especially the first few weeks, my body would ache after I walked several miles. I had to learn to deal with sore muscles, but now I feel invigorated and energetic. It's wonderful to get up and walk every day.

"What's the most beautiful place that you've passed so far?" 
I'm posting 5 photographs of pretty places I saw as I walked. I can't think of any spectacular place along my journey, but Spring is a beautiful time and I often stop to appreciate flowers and trees, rivers and fields.

(See below) 
Some of my favorite sights:

Pine trees in Mississippi.


 A field in Alabama.


An abandoned home in Mississippi.


A swamp, could be in Louisiana or Mississippi.


The Black Warrior River in Alabama.

A big hug to all of you,

Nana Greta

PS - You can look at other pretty photos I posted on earlier entries.