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.
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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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Teaching truth…

It gets a little scary when schools teach ideology in the name of science, but the actions of the new administration indicate this may be an even more serious problem in coming days. When the federal government suppresses research and data, that might encourage more of this sort of pseudo-science thinking.

The following document was found on a school district website last year! Many of the so-called Misconceptions are accurate, while most of the so-called Facts are distortions based upon political ideology. Continue reading

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Info on climate & clean energy being deleted from government sites

ALERT: It appears that the Trump administration has started deleting climate & clean energy info from the site — and has said it will be deleted from other government websites as well.  (This could include EPA, NASA, NOAA, and other important sources!)  I suggest you download and save any pages you need!

(We have started downloading information listed in this site as resources, but we may not be able to get it all.)


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Getting started

We’re setting up this site to share and discuss good ways to teach about climate and sustainability—in every subject, at every grade level.  The goal is simply to help teachers find and share effective ways to integrate climate and sustainability concepts in their classrooms.

Because global warming and climate change are inherently complex and affect all sectors of thought and life, they—like other sustainability concepts—are well-served by interdisciplinary, experiential, and inquiry-based approaches that bring out the complexity of whole systems and the interdependence of the various parts. Some teachers report that integrating climate and sustainability into their subject area helps them meet curriculum goals and that many students nd these discussions relevant to their futures.

As part of this initiative, we published a guide called ‘Interdisciplinary Approaches for Teaching Climate and Sustainability‘, which works with a spreadsheet-based School GHG Calculator so you can measure your school’s greenhouse gas emissions, a practical, hands-on project to engage students. The content of that guide is being added to this site and is also available as a PDF.

We welcome your ideas—comment here or email!

Peter Crownfield, Project Coordinator


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