A Bob Gliner Film  

One Carbon Footprint at a Time

Education is often described as an important tool in designing solutions to environmental problems, but why don’t we see more interest and investment in using education to respond to our greatest environmental threat - climate change?  In One Carbon Footprint at a Time, documentary filmmaker Bob Gliner explores how a particularly successful climate change course offered at a west coast public university is affecting students lives in unexpected ways. How can education be used to help students solve one of society’s most challenging problems, and what would this look like if also offered to much younger kids?   Follow students both at university and in middle school as they attempt to design and implement solutions to our climate crisis, one carbon footprint at a time.  


To rent or purchase the film, please follow the above vimeo link.



Eugene Cordero and Anne Marie Todd were the original professors who designed the university course described in the film. To learn more about their work, please see the following.


Eugene Cordero

Eugene is a professor in the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San Jose State University. Eugene also has a passion for education and climate change as seen in his TedX talk entitled ‘How burritos changed the way I think about climate science”, and through his recognition as a Google Science Communication Fellow. Through Eugene’s work with Green Ninja, he continues to explore how to create unique learning experiences for kids to inspire environmental stewardship and climate action.


Anne Marie Todd

Anne Marie is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at San Jose State University. Anne Marie specializes in environmental communication and her book Communicating Environmental Patriotism: A Rhetorical History of the American Environmental Movement explores the history of environmental patriotism in America through intriguing stories of environmental patriots and the rhetoric of their speeches and propaganda.



Since the film, here are updates from some of the featured university alumni.


Wil Flueweiling

Since the documentary was shot, Wil continued to campaign for the City of Cupertino’s school board seat.  Although he was not successful, he did earn the trust of 13,741 constituents, and more importantly, a passion for policymaking. Now with a campaign under his belt and a good taste for politics, Wil is applying for the appointment to the vacated 5th seat on the school board and will run again in 2020 regardless of the outcome on January  31st. 

You can learn more by visiting www.wil4schools.org.

Kristen Wonder_SJSU.jpg

Kristen Wonder

Kristen continues to encourage faculty, staff and students towards more sustainable actions and policies. Since the film, Kristen has been promoted to campus Sustainability Coordinator and was instrumental in creating the university Sustainability Office. Although Kristen loves the university environment, she’s started looking more closely at larger corporate opportunities as a way to help further scale her sustainability ambitions.


Lolitta Tracy

Lolitta continues to embed sustainability and climate solutions into her personal and professional life. On her instagram account (@greenmusings), she explores the low impact movement through fashion, food, and lifestyle habit shifts. And as a marketing professional, she nudges her workplace towards an understanding that customers want to support values-based companies.  

Middle School Student Films

As featured in the film (via Taylor Elementary School)

Official Selection at the 2018 Green Ninja Film Festival


Academic Research

The film describes student experiences that were in some cases part of academic research on education. Below is a brief summary of some of the related studies.


Comparison of various long-term climate change mitigation strategies with the potential role of education programs as documented in paper.

The role of climate change education on individual lifetime carbon emissions - by Cordero, Todd and Centeno (2019)

This study, which is currently in review at PLOS- ONE, aims to quantify the role that education can have on individual carbon emissions through changes in personal behavior. By researching a cohort of former university students who had previously completed a specially designed course on climate change, we developed estimates for how changes in students’ personal lives affected their annual carbon emissions. The findings, which show that education can reduce carbon emissions as effectively as other well established climate mitigation strategies, may also be of interest to educators, environmentalists, and policy makers.

The Promise of an Energy Tracker Curriculum for Promoting Home-School Connections and Youth Agency in Climate Action - by Walsh, Jenkins and CorderO (2016)

This paper reports on a pilot study of a curriculum designed to support energy behavioral change in an alternative school with a high percentage of students who identify as members of groups traditionally underrepresented in science. We examine the potential for positioning students as agents of change in their families, and explore how students and their families initially change and sustain actions related to climate change in the home during and after a pilot implementation of the Green Ninja Smart Energy Tracker curriculum. We examine what motivated or constrained participation in energy conservation behaviors for students and their families, as well as student engagement in climate change and energy conservation action.

A screenshot of the Green Ninja Smart Meter Energy Tracker interface, where graphs of student data is displayed for the baseline and conservation periods.

As shown in the film, students were guided through a storytelling and filmmaking experience in their science class, and this study examined how such an experience affected their own engagement with climate action.

Youth science expertise, environmental identity, engagement, and agency in climate action filmmaking - by Walsh and Cordero (2019)

This study, which is currently in review at Environmental Education Research, describes an interdisciplinary curriculum development project that examines the efficacy of combining climate science concepts and practices with digital storytelling for middle school youth. We present findings from 2017 (N=296) and 2018 (N=539) iterative enactments of this design-based research project. On average, youth increased scores on pre- and post-assessments of science content and practices while demonstrating competencies in filmmaking and science explanations. Results suggest that integration of creative filmmaking into a climate science curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards can increase engagement and science proficiency particularly for youth who initially show less engagement in environmental science.

Film Produced and Directed By Bob Gliner

Bob Gliner is an independent documentary film director and producer. Gliner’s work focuses on social advocacy and covers topics such as school reforms, developing nations, consumerism, college athletics, the military-industrial complex and the disabled. The authors would also like the acknowledge all the students and faculty who over the years have worked together to make the university class special and impactful, including a special thanks to Bettina Brockmann who has taught this class more times than any other faculty.

Contact Information 

For information about the film, contact bgliner@hotmail.com

For information about the educational programs and associated research, contact eugene.cordero@sjsu.edu