White House includes Fil-Am teacher in leading-edge climate meet

Jennifer Cheng with Dr. Laura Petes ,Assistant Director for Climate Adaptation and Ecosystems Office of Science and Technology Policy Executive Office of the President

Jennifer Cheng with Dr. Laura Petes ,Assistant Director for Climate Adaptation and Ecosystems
Office of Science and Technology Policy
Executive Office of the President

By Cecile Caguingin Ochoa
A Special Report for TheFILAMLA and Inquirer.net, Content partners

San Pedro, CA – Science teacher Jennifer Suzara-Cheng from this small coastal town in Southern California sat August 20 at the Eisenhower Auditorium of the White House among some 200 outstanding delegates invited by the Obama Administration to participate in its Back-to-School Climate Education event.

This group included exceptional high school students, educators, and key leaders in the education community from government, academia, philanthropies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

They are the critical lines identified by the U.S. government to integrate climate education in schools and possibly other communities worldwide on how collectively citizens can achieve carbon reduction.

Presentations demonstrated new and innovative ways to increase climate-learning opportunities for students and equipped educators, like Suzara-Cheng, with science-based information and resources.

“I was invited as part of Green schools, Inc. that gave me the award for Green-o-vation Educator Award last May in Boston”, Suzara-Cheng, who immigrated from Camarines Norte some 12 years ago, said in an interview with this writer.

She said not only would she bring the warning signals and prevention of global warning to her classroom but she would also coordinate hands-on science fairs in collaboration with other schools in LAUSD.

“I felt honored and privileged to be part of this consortium at the White House, it was a great group of like-minded people with a common goal to make sure that we disseminate information about the state of our planet.

Meeting Astronaut Dr. Sullivan

For me it was a bonus that I get to witness Dr. Sullivan in person because she is one of my favorite scientists,” she added. Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator, was the event’s keynote speaker.

Dr. Sullivan was one the first six women to join the NASA astronaut corps in 1978 and holds the distinction of being the first American woman to walk in space.

“To be in the same room with her at the Eisenhower auditorium was a dream come true.”

2015 Hottest temperature

Sullivan announced that the year 2015 has the hottest temperature ever recorded and July, was the hottest month. “All of us came out of the event with a strengthened passion to make a difference on our work sites”.

Greenschools representatives attend with Jennifer Suzara Cheng White House Climate Change symposium.

Greenschools representatives attend with Jennifer Suzara Cheng White House Climate Change symposium.

The White House meet underlined that if the world population doesn’t cut down carbon consumption, the earth’s temperature will continue to intensify causing sea levels to rise followed by the continued warming of oceans.

“We’ve seen the effects of global warming in our own home country such as in typhoons Yolanda and Haiyan as well as those experienced in New York City in 2012 in Hurricane Sandy,” said Suzara Cheng.

She is a graduate of Ateneo de Naga and teaches at the second largest public school system in the U.S., the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

Global Warming Initiatives

Suzara-Cheng identified the following examples of actions that the population can take to address global warming or a decrease in fossil fuel burning:

– Reduce “carbon footprint by walking more and less driving. A decrease in gasoline consumption decreases fossil fuel burning.
– Urban Gardening- planting own vegetables / fruits that will decrease demands for food being transported to the cities.
– Pollinator gardening- mini gardens that yield plants meant for providing food and temporary homes to migrating butterflies. This will increase yield of gardens and prevent extinction of butterflies.
– Recycling, Upcycling,Reusing– being resourceful and creative about other uses of things. This will prevent trash build up on the landfills.

The focus of this Climate event, said Suzara-Cheng is to ensure that our educators are empowering the youth as decision makers and leaders creating events where they could network and utilize resources available.

“We have to start thinking about raising a generation of Global Citizens. In our search for common good little things will count and will add up to bigger steps. We are at an opportune time to make a difference where ever we are anywhere on our planet”.

I am looking forward to a global networking with anyone who is interested in spreading Climate Education, and I want to take this opportunity to reach out our Motherland who may be interested to collaborate and do our respective personal commitment to help the environment. It does not matter where we are; we should all be stepping up for our common good”.



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