Biology is, of course, a key area for exploring global warming and climate change, especially the growing impacts on people and the ecosystems of which we are part. An inventory of your school’s greenhouse gas emissions [GHG], provides a potential starting point and focus for discussion.
The following are a few example questions that might help initiate or deepen student discussion and exploration –
- In what ways is it helpful to think of the world as having one global ecosystem?
- How will an increased greenhouse effect impact the Earth and its life forms?
- How does climate affect the behavior and other characteristics of various species?
- In what ways can climate affect natural selection?
- What is biodiversity?
- What is happening with bees and other pollinators and why does it concern all of us?
- What is an ‘extinction event’? When was the last mass extinction?
- What is happening with extinction rates today? (Is this the ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’?)
- How do humans and human activity affect the climate?
- Will human biology be affected by climate change if continues on its present course?
- In what ways is climate change likely to impact you and this community?
- Living things exist within environmental contexts, from local conditions to a planetary scope, in which climate plays a major role.
- The life forms that make up a living ecosystem are interdependent.
Additional Resources for Biology
- Calculating the Energy from Sunlight Over a 12-hour Period National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA).
- Climate Tipping Points: Current Perspectives and State of Knowledge, Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting, U.S. Department of Transportation, 2009.
- Confronting Climate Change in California [PDF]. Union of Concerned Scientists, 2013.
- Global Warming. Union of Concerned Scientists website
- Global Warming: Early Warning Signs. Union of Concerned Scientists, 2008.
- How the Tech Community is Combating Climate Change + Free Environmentally Friendly Resources and GitHub Project. University of Texas, Austin. Resources for climate change-related open-source use cases, databases, calculating carbon footprint, reducing carbon footprint, and free application programming interfaces.
- The Mystery of the Three Scary Numbers [PDF]. Bill Bigelow; excerpt from A People’s Curriculum for the Earth. Rethinking Schools, 2014.
- A People’s Curriculum for the Earth, Bill Bigelow & Tim Swinehart, editors. Rethinking Schools, 2014.
- Three Scary Numbers (3-min. video). Bill McKibben.
Resources on the metric system are found on the Metric System (System Internationale) page.