The Climate Change Front: Of Summits and Curricula
Don't wait for
someone else to take the next steps after the Copenhagen Climate
summit -- you and your students can begin making a
difference today! As
Tom Kelly of KyotoUSA wrote before the summit, "Regardless of how
things play out in Copenhagen, the real work associated with achieving
dramatic carbon reductions will occur with each one of us."
Third Annual Green California Schools Summit:
In December, about 2,200 teachers, administrators, parents, students and others gathered to discuss how schools can help achieve carbon reductions, and many other environmental issues at the Third Annual Green California Schools Summit in Pasadena, CA. Participants gathered to network, learn how to make their schools more sustainable, and share ideas for how to teach and engage students in making a difference.
A keynote speaker, Alec Loorz - a 15-year-old who started Kids vs. Global Warming - gave a rousing speech about why we must address climate change now. He left the Green Schools Summit to deliver his message directly to delegates at another summit - the Copenhagen Climate Conference.
While the Copenhagen delegates had difficulty reaching consensus about appropriate carbon reduction targets, climate justice, or timetables, delegates at the Green Schools Summit agreed that schools have a very important role to play in both reducing our country's carbon emissions and in engaging the next generation's creativity and talents in helping solve this global problem. Workshops covered ways that schools can become "grid neutral," improve the efficiency of their operations (from energy to purchasing, from green cleaning to waste reduction and recycling), and integrate sustainability into the curricula.
Climate Change Curricula:
As featured speaker Rachel Gutter, of the US Green Building Council said at the Green Schools Summit, "Green schools are about more than lower utility bills. [They are] about our teachers’ ability to raise a new generation of sustainability natives, students who are fluent in the language of green. Green schools can help our children dream big and envision a future for themselves as a generation of leaders ready to take on the challenges that we...are going to leave behind.”
To help you engage your students in exploring, understanding, and addressing the complexities of climate change, check out these excellent curricula:
Alliance for Climate Education: These 6 curricula are available online and free of charge. Developed by nationally-recognized science and education organizations, the curricula are complete, and require no additional resources. Most are appropriate for Grades 9-12.
Facing the Future: Climate Change: Connections and Solutions, for Grades 6-8 and 9-12; free and online. "An interdisciplinary, self-contained two-week unit aligned with national education standards that lays the foundation for understanding some of the forces behind climate change and its connections to numerous social, economic, and environmental factors."
Green Teacher Magazine: Teaching About Climate Change: Cool Schools Tackle Global Warming For Grades K-12, this anthology ($14.95) includes "experiments that demonstrate the greenhouse effect, school energy and waste audits, and hands-on explorations of energy and transportation alternatives from solar cookers to bike-a-thons," along with lists of resources and related organizations.
For more climate change and other sustainability curricula, see: