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Contemporary “alchemists” transform an oil spill into environmental advances in Brooklyn

This green progress took a long time, but it may well have positive repercussions for generations of young students.  

Four public schools in Brooklyn are starting environmental educational programs with funds generated from a 1970s settlement of an earlier oil spill in their neighborhood.

The “Greenpoint Eco-Schools Project”, developed by the National Wildlife Federation, will provide $1.75 from a settlement with ExxonMobil for a massive oil spill discovered in the Greenpoint section of northern Brooklyn in the late 1970s.

The money will be used to hire “sustainability coaches” who will work with students on environmental projects designed to boost science education and reduce waste and energy use.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the program will create the next generation of environmental stewards out of what he terms, one of the “worst industrial disasters in our city’s history.”

The Greenpoint Brooklyn project is the latest iteration of the internationally-acclaimed Eco-Schools program. The program, started in 1994 by the Foundation For Environmental Education (FEE) provides frameworks to help educators integrate sustainability principles throughout their schools and curriculums. There are now some 59 countries around the world participating in the program.