Why teachers need to take the lead

In these days when government leaders are dropping the ball, it is really critical for schools and teachers to take the lead in raising awareness of global warming and climate change. Recent extreme climate-related events such as more — and more severe — wildfires & hurricanes add urgency & interest.

If you’re a science teacher, you may find some useful resources here—but the idea is is for all teachers to engage students in these critical issues. Climate change, like other sustainability concepts, connects and integrates ideas from many areas—and not all students take courses that deal adequately with global warming and climate change. We need to engage students with these critical ideas in core subjects.

This guide provides context and information so teachers in any subject area can feel comfortable with these topics—background information and sources on global warming’s causes, impacts, and social-justice implications. We also include sample ideas for engaging students in every subject area. [See contents list in right sidebar.] Continue reading

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Climate Science 2017 published!

The new Climate Science Special Report confirms what most people have known for years: that climate change is happening, that it’s largely the result of human activity, and the impacts will be critical. (Catastrophic might be a better word.)

The complete report, executive summary, and individual chapters are all available as downloads from the climate science website.

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‘Stupid Book of Wrongness’

Another great issue from Rethinking Schools! This title article shows that even primary students can understand that climate deniers are wrong. Check out the magazine and A People’s Curriculum for the Earth

We have a duty to provide safe spaces for in-depth discussion of climate & sustainability for children of all ages—and not only in science classes!

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Storms

We are compiling ideas & resources to help teachers & students explore the many dimensions of storms such as ‘Harvey’ & the even-worse storm flooding in Nepal & Bangladesh and in Africa.

In addition to connections to global warming & climate change, we need to consider causes & impacts in environmental, economic, and social-justice dimensions—as well as why we repeatedly fail to learn from history. Will Cuba, Dominican Republic & Haiti, Puerto Rico, & Virgin Islands get same attention as Houston (& Miami)?

Send us your ideas on what to include and resources you have found useful!

[Email to teach-storms@sustainlv.org.]

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My school doesn’t want us to teach about climate.

OK—don’t teach about climate change.

But do use climate change to meet teaching goals — whether you teach youngsters in elementary school or high-school art, chemistry, communication, drama, economics, English, history, government, math, physics, sciences, social studies, or writing. 

Even better, use the free School GHG Calculator to create a hands-on project. And use an interdisciplinary approach to help you engage students and increase retention.

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Artists Making Climate Change Real

This article gives some great examples of what artists can do to help people feel the reality of climate change, in drawing, painting, murals, and performance art.

“These Artists Are Trying to Make Climate Change Visceral – Ten people turning disheartening data into amazing paintings, sculptures, and illustrations”
—(Outdoor Online, 2017)

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Another Great Issue of Rethinking Schools!

The Summer issue of Rethinking Schools focuses on teaching big ideas (even with young children). Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find in this issue (not all related to global warming):

  • Little Kids, Big Ideas – Teaching Social Issues and Global Conflicts with Young Children [Editorial]
  • The (Young) People’s Climate Conference – Teaching Global Warming to 3rd Graders
  • Ed Alert: Girls Against Dress Codes
  • Teaching to the Heart – Poetry, Climate Change, and Sacred Spaces
  • Love for Syria – Tackling World Crises with Small Children
  • Mapping Childhood – How Our Stories Build Community
  • From Many Sides Now – Teaching the Poetry of the Vietnam War

If you aren’t already a subscriber, go to Rethinking Schools to read more. And while you’re there, it’s the perfect time to subscribe!

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How much can students do?

If you’re wondering how to encourage responsible student action, take a minute to read ‘Engaging and Empowering Teens to Create Sustainable Schools: Rochester Youth Climate Leaders Show the Way, on the Green Schools National Network news blog.

…. Rochester Youth Climate Leaders (RYCL) is a youth movement voicing concern for our climate and advocating for a sustainable future. Its members range from middle school students to students attending college as well as teachers and parents.


 

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Interdisciplinary Teaching on Climate & Calculating Your School’s GHG Emissions

by Megan Arnold and Peter Crownfield
[This post also appears on the Green Schools National Network news blog.]

Climate change is in the news, and we’ve seen a huge marches for science and for climate action. In many schools, though, global warming and climate change have been largely ignored, except for brief discussions in some science classes. And, despite the push for more STEM education, the U.S. government is now downplaying science and has deleted most of its factual information on climate change. The Heartland Institute is sending misleading and incorrect climate-denial propaganda to teachers. Clearly, it has become more important than ever to teach the truth about climate change in school.
Continue reading

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Chasing Ice

Now readily available online and in many libraries, Chasing Ice is a dramatic and beautiful film on the Extreme Ice Survey, documenting changes in the ice sheets due to global warming. The film and website include information on climate science and many photographs of actual changes in ice sheets, including rare footage of glaciers calving.

Chasing Ice image

Following is a brief description from the official site:

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.

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