Scientists, Artists, Educators Collaborate to Create Climate-Action Superhero

By Eugene Cordero

A San Jose State faculty-student team is aiming to reduce annual carbon emissions by 1 million pounds using nothing more than a green sword.

Through a campus collaboration, scientists, artists and educators have created the Green Ninja, a climate-action superhero.

The Green Ninja is an educational project designed to help students understand the complexities of climate change and act on solutions that produce real and measurable change.

A series of live action and animated films highlight the adventures of the Green Ninja navigating some of the more challenging areas in climate science.

Although the project is based on firm science led by the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, the effort is being brought to life by faculty and students from the film and animation/illustration departments.

When scientists and filmmakers work together, interesting things happen as seen in their first series of webisodes available at the Green Ninja website.

Educational materials are currently being developed to help K-12 teachers integrate Green Ninja climate science topics into standards-based math and science education.

In addition, a series of web, phone and Facebook tools is being developed to facilitate informal student education.

One of these tools allows students to track their home energy consumption, and using Green Ninja methods, reduce their energy use and carbon emissions.

Impressive Group of Collaborators

The Department of Meteorology and Climate Science has brought together an impressive group of collaborators for this project.

From the  Department of TV, Radio, Film and Theatre come Babak Sarrafan, Barnaby Dallas and Nick Martinez, who are faculty members and directors at Spartan Films.

Babak Sarrafan created the Green Ninja character and, together with his RTVF 130 students, completed “The Green Ninja: Episode 1.”

David Chai, a professor of animation/illustration, is leading a number of student teams on various Green Ninja animation films.

Ellen Metzger, geology professor and director of science education, is helping to develop education materials so that K-12 teachers can use the Green Ninja in their classrooms.

Numerous students are working on aspects of the project including animation development by Marty Cooper, Michael Fong, Michelle Ikemoto, Joelle Murray and Aden Scott.

Software development students include Jay Patel, Srivatsan Srinivasan Vasishta, and Rachana Shaw.

Environmental Studies student Lina Prada works as a research analyst and web content developer.

Cordero is an associate professor of meteorology and climate science.#