NOAA Planet Stewards Book Club

The NOAA Planet Stewards book club has a great line-up of books slated for discussion for this academic year. Scroll down to see the titles, brief descriptions and dates of each Book Club meeting. Discussion Questions will be posted approximately one week before each meeting.

To see previously selected books and associated discussion questions, have a look at our Book Club Archive Page.

To make sure you receive reminder announcements about our Book Club, sign up to our mailing list.

Here’s the general information for participating in our Book Club. We hope you’ll join us as we explore new and thought provoking topics.

  • All book club meetings begin at 8:00 pm Eastern Time.
  • Anyone can participate. Just read the book prior to the discussion, and on the day of the meeting dial in using our toll free number 1-866-662-7513. Then use the passcode 1170791#
  • Before each meeting we’ll send out a reminder note through our email list along with series of discussion questions the meeting leader will have prepared.
  • There are a limited number of “seats” available for each meeting. Plan to dial in just a few minutes before the official start time.
  • Have questions? Contact: oceanserviceseducation@noaa.gov

Book Club lineup for the 2021 academic year:

Book cover for The World is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean’s are One

Monday, May 17, 2021

The World is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean’s are One by Sylvia Earle

A Silent Spring for our era, this eloquent, urgent, fascinating book reveals how just 50 years of swift and dangerous oceanic change threatens the very existence of life on Earth. Legendary marine scientist Sylvia Earle portrays a planet teetering on the brink of irreversible environmental crisis.

In recent decades we’ve learned more about the ocean than in all previous human history combined. But, even as our knowledge has exploded, so too has our power to upset the delicate balance of this complex organism.

Fortunately, there is reason for hope, but what we do—or fail to do—in the next ten years may well resonate for the next ten thousand. The ultimate goal, Earle argues passionately and persuasively, is to find responsible, renewable strategies that safeguard the natural systems that sustain us. The first step is to understand and act upon the wise message of this accessible, insightful, and compelling book.

  1. The first section of the book The Vision: Limitless Ocean Bounty, Infinite Resiliency discussed how fish and other ocean wildlife have been viewed as commodities rather than as critical components of a system. Also discussed was how treating the ocean as “the ultimate dumpster” is causing damage to sea life and marine ecosystems. What was your reaction to this section of the book, particularly the concept of maximum sustainable yield?
  2. No matter how far inland we live, a single kind of blue-green algae in the ocean (Prochlorococcus) produces the oxygen in one of every five breaths we take. The book is full of similar facts, illustrating the oceans’ critical importance to human survival and making it’s protection a very personal matter. What fact/facts illustrating the oceans’ critical importance to human survival were new to you?
  3. In the second section of the book Sylvia talks about everything we’re doing to the ocean from over-fishing to mining, drilling, dredging and human caused changes to ocean chemistry. What new insights did you gain from this section?
  4. On page 145 there is a picture of a platform that extracts oil and gas from the sea. To see what it looks like below the platform and to learn more about Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary go to https://flowergarden.noaa.gov/about/hi389platform.html
  5. Chapter seven, “Changing Climate, Changing Chemistry” brings the topic of climate change to the forefront. Do you think present climate change policies are focusing solely on the atmosphere and neglecting the ocean, or have policies changed?
  6. In the final section of the text Sylvia tells us why all of this should matter to us; “We will not survive if the oceans don’t survive” and she explains why. How has this section impacted your life?
  7. The Law of The Sea “provides a comprehensive global legal framework that governs human activities on and in the world’s oceans.” Although the United States complies with the provisions of the 1982 Convention, it is the only major maritime power that has not ratified the treaty. The following NOAA sites provide an overview of Law of the Sea.

    In your opinion should the United States ratify the treaty? Why or why not?

  8. Sylvia reviewed the pros and cons of ocean farming and attempted to answer the question, “Is sustainable fishing possible?” What is your response - buying farmed fish or fish that has been sustainably harvested? How can you tell whether or not the fish has been sustainably harvested? In addition to using Seafood WATCH look at the Environmental Defense Fund Seafood Selector.
  9. Can we help make Sylvia’s “One Wish to Change the World” come true? Watch her talk at the 2009 TED Conference. What is one thing we can each strive to do to protect the ocean?

Website links on pages 316-318 in The World is Blue were reviewed prior to the NOAA Planet Stewards Book Club meeting. Amended website URLs are noted below


NOAA Planet Stewards Webinars

Join Us Wednesday April 14, 2021 at 8:00 pm EDT for a special Webinar:

Applying to NOAA Planet Stewards to Fund Your Stewardship Project

Space is Limited! Register and Reserve Your Seat Today.

FY 2021 Funding Webinar promotional banner

Are you an educator focused on building science literacy so your students or members of your community can understand concepts in ocean, atmospheric, and Earth science?; assess the scientific credibility of information?; make informed and responsible decisions?; and most importantly, initiate actions to address pressing environmental issues?

Would $5,000 help you to realize these goals?

Join Bruce Moravchik, Manager of NOAA Planet Stewards, as he presents how formal and informal educators working with elementary through university aged students can apply for funding up to $5000 for their schools and communities to implement stewardship projects that make a measurable impact in their community. Bruce will discuss eligibility, available resources, review the process of, and answers questions about, the application process. Projects must focus on one of the following areas: marine debris, habitat conservation and restoration, carbon footprint reduction, or carbon sequestration.

Educators who have received funding from Planet Stewards in the past are eligible to apply!

Applications are being accepted NOW through June 6, 2021 at the NOAA Planet Stewards Website. Don’t miss this opportunity!

This webinar will be close captioned, recorded and posted on the NOAA Planet Stewards Website following broadcast.

To receive the latest announcements about upcoming distance and face to face learning opportunities, sign up to our email list.


NOAA Planet Stewards Workshops

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Community Resilience to Climate Change: A Virtual Professional Development Workshop for All Educators

NOAA Planet Stewards, Artist Boat and the NOAA Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary welcome you to join us for an interdisciplinary 70% independent learning/self-paced virtual workshop for all educators on climate change impacts to human and natural communities, and the actions you can take to build resilient communities in light of these impacts.

Join us July 5-29, 2021 from anywhere you can Zoom for this exciting opportunity. Formal educators will receive 24 CPE Credit hours. Educators of all subjects are welcome. Give students a voice to empower them, ignite change, and take action!

  • Workshop topics include: How to address climate change controversy; climate change impacts to human health; environmental justice; sustainability in Gulf fisheries; how coastal Texas ecosystems mitigate climate change; and more!
  • Live panel discussions with scientists from NOAA, Environmental Defense Fund, Green Building Resource Center, and more.
  • 70% independent learning with access to a message board to communicate with scientists and your fellow educators.
  • Weekly hands-on activities.
  • Receive NOAA tools and resources for your classroom.
  • Educators in the Galveston Texas area can participate in a 4 hour Kayak Adventure with a local scientist and artist (All Covid-safe protocols are followed, lunch and snacks are provided!)
  • When: July 5-29, 2021. Live panel discussions take place from 9:00 – 11:00 am Central Time on July 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th.
  • Where: Anywhere you can Zoom!
  • Who: Recommended for formal and informal educators working with Middle and High School aged students – but all are welcome!
  • More Information & Register at: https://www.artistboat.org/noaa-professional-development/
  • Cost: Only $20 gets you: 24 CPE credits, vetted educational resources, all presentation videos and slides, 4 hour Kayak Adventure (for attendees in Galveston Texas Area) with coffee, lunch, and snacks – SUCH A DEAL!
  • Questions? Contact: Karissa Laffey (klaffey@artistboat.org) or call: 409-632-0388
planet stewards workshop - lecture on kayaks
planet stewards workshop - classroom setting

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Climate Justice: Exploring the Science of Climate Change in Your Classroom

NOAA Planet Stewards and the Detroit Zoological Society are hosting a three-day workshop for educators to explore how global climate change is affecting the metro Detroit region, and how they can engage their students in taking action to address this global phenomena.

Participants will attend:

This workshop is planned for in-person learning. Depending on Covid-19 safety guidelines at the time of the workshop, an alternate, virtual experience may be required. All registrants will be kept apprised of programmatic changes.

Workshop topics include:

How to incorporate weather and climate change activities that meet state curriculum requirements into existing curriculum; using citizen science projects to connect youth with their local environment; mobilizing youth to take action in their communities.

Workshop features:

  • Opportunities to learn from and interact with subject matter experts.
  • Hands-on learning experiences at the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center.
  • Light continental breakfast, lunch, and snacks are included for each day of the workshop. Beverages and appetizers will be provided at the August 19 evening event.
  • Detroit educators will receive resources for their classrooms, and a fully paid opportunity (including transportation!) to bring their students to the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center for a learning experience.
  • When/Where:

    Tuesday, August 17 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Detroit Zoo.
    Wednesday, August 18, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Belle Isle Nature Center.
    Thursday, August 19, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Detroit Zoo..

  • Who: Teachers in the Detroit area who work with upper elementary, middle or high school students.
  • Cost: $50 includes 14 SCHECHs (State Continuing Education Clock Hours), educational resources, tools and materials for the classroom, a special evening event in the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, Light continental breakfast, lunch, snacks, and a fully paid for field trip for each classroom to visit the Zoo or Nature Center during the school year.
  • To pre-register without obligation and receive more information go to: https://forms.gle/8enHXppH9ckxiw27A
  • Questions? Contact: Claire Lannoye-Hall or Erin Parker