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
A few new resources you might find useful:
- Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution, by Peter Kalmus. New Society Publishers, 2017.
- Arctic Report Card 2017. NOAA [National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration].
- Keeling Curve – Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 continue to climb, so don’t forget to use the updated curve published by Scripps Oceanographic Institute. As of December 30: 407.35 ppm. A new animated version is also available at the same site.
- ‘Does Climate Change Have A Place In The English Classroom?’ in Council Chronicle, published by National Council of Teachers of English (December 2017).
This article is also available on the authors’ website [PDF].
- English Teachers Concerned about Climate Change blog. Recent posts include ‘Climate Change and the Imagination’, ‘Climate Change and Critical Media Literacy’, and ‘Studying Censorship of Language Related to Climate Change’.
Two new resources for those helping students explore the impacts of global warming & climate change:
- Fourth National Climate Assessment – stand-alone report of the state of science relating to climate change and its physical impacts, prepared by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).
- Bill McKibben. Radio Free Vermont. Penguin-Random House (2017). – Bill McKibben’s new novel follows a band of Vermont patriots who decide that their state might be better off as its own republic.
I’d also like to mention the ‘Climate Change Mixer‘, an important (but not new) resource from A People’s Curriculum for the Earth. (Rethinking Schools, 2014).
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.]
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.
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)
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!
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.