Climate Change in the Classroom ~ Green Moms Carnival

This post is my contribution to the “Greening Back to School” Green Moms Carnival, hosted by Micaela of Mindful Momma.

A recent article on Think Progress, “Attacks on Science Education Intensify: ‘There Seems to be a Lynch-Mob Hate Against Any Teacher Trying to Teach Climate Change,’” by Chris Mooney, hit home for me since I am a science educator.  The whole article is worth checking out, but here’s an excerpt:

“We’re talking about outright climate denial being fed to students—and accurate climate science teaching being attacked by aggressive Tea Party-style ideologues.”

Let me first say that I have never, ever experienced “lynch-mob hate” from a parent, administrator, colleague, or anyone else.  I’ve never had anyone challenge what I teach about climate change, or about any other “controversial” topic like evolution, and I think I know why.

Blue and Green

Connecticut is a largely Democratic state, and the majority of people here are liberal.  Even the Republicans I know (myself included!) are pretty liberal.  Our state was recently designated “green” in a map of “Where States Stand: Environmental Stewardship” based on research conducted by the Pew Center for the States and the Rockefeller Foundation.  People here not only tend to accept that the climate is changing, they are also taking steps to reduce their impact on the environment.

Frameworks and Resources

When I write lesson plans, I’m not just pulling things out of thin air or making them up.  For my environmental science classes, the curriculum is prescribed by the College Board.  There are specific guidelines for teaching about Energy and Climate Change.  In addition, our state Core Science Curriculum Frameworks include climate change.  To enrich the curriculum, I pull from outside resources including current text books and websites like The Environmental Literacy Council, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and Mauna Loa Observatory.  The best scientists and educators put these materials together.  I’m not making this stuff up.

Inquiry and Critical Thinking

Finally, I think a big part of the reason why I’ve never been challenged is due to my philosophy of education.  I’m not dictator in my classroom.  I present data.  I assign readings.  I share information.  Then, my students are encouraged to analyze the information and draw their own conclusions.  I welcome students to question the texts and the data, question the motivation of the scientists and politicians, search for more information outside of what I share, read more articles, watch documentaries.  That tells me they’re thinking and learning! 

One of the most important points in Mooney’s article  is that science and emotion shouldn’t mix.  I agree that students should know that our emotions do not play into our understanding of scientific knowledge.  For example, just because I really like Pluto doesn’t change the fact that it is no longer considered a planet.  Along the same vein, just because I really like all the luxuries that fossil fuels allow me to have doesn’t mean that climate change is not happening.  Just because I don’t want the climate to change doesn’t mean that it isn’t changing.

We are emotional beings and it is very difficult for us to separate our emotions from the data.  However, we need to draw conclusions objectively.  Once we understand the data and the ramifications, I think our emotions are important.  I personally am frightened of a possible future with climate change, and that’s what spurs me to action.

If you’re concerned about the environment, please join the Moms Clean Air Force in our fight to strengthen pollution regulations and protect our children’s health and future.

Be Sociable, Share!


Filed under Sustainable Living

5 Responses to Climate Change in the Classroom ~ Green Moms Carnival

  1. Wow, disturbing stuff. While I’m all for challenging even “the experts,” the wholesale disregard for academia in some political circles is amazing. Also, you sound like an awesome teacher! Last, you might like this t-shirt:
    Betsy (Eco-novice) recently posted..Green Phone Booth: Eco-friendly (and FREE) Party DecorationsMy Profile

  2. It’s mixed results where I live. Last year I helped out a homeschooling family by teaching their Biology course. When we got to the section that was a general overview of the environment/ pollution/ stewardship, I noticed that the receptivity was turned off. It made me really sad because as much as I wanted to take a detour and do nothing but talk about the environment for a few weeks, I knew it was going to fall on deaf ears. My neighborhood is bordered by a large field that was purchased by a church so that it couldn’t be developed. The school across the street still holds onto a tract of land for the same reason. But at the end of that main road there’s a factory. From all the snooping I’ve done, I’ve never seen it mentioned on any of the air quality sites, so I hope I’m safe. Regardless of the fact that I live in a moderately rural area, there’s still pollution going on around me, but because of the economy in this area, no one would dare speak up, even if it were spewing black filth into our skies on an hourly basis.

    Ecology was my absolute favorite class in college and I spent a good deal of time with a team of people fighting for clean water in Tulsa’s rivers, etc. I went to a *very* conservative Christian school and our involvement was highly encouraged by our professors. While I was in college, I felt a community of like-mindedness as my friends and I would troop down to clean up litter on a Saturday morning from Fred Creek. Once I moved back home and continued to attempt to live my life at the same pace, I realized I was going to be living it alone. At this point, the only way I can really make a difference is to get involved with a national group and to educate my children. Maybe someday, then I’ll be able to see them thinking for themselves about alternatives to the lifestyle that’s so readily available.
    Laura recently posted..Bagels and the week in review!My Profile

  3. Abbie, what a wonderful contribution to our carnival! You must be a wonderful teacher, although I must say I find some of the climate change materials for kids positively frightening. I think Scholastic’s Magic School Bus series did a good job with their recent Climate Change book.

    Also, happy to let you know your posts should start showing up very soon at the @GreenMoms twitter feed – sorry it took so long! Thanks for your patience and your great contributions! — Lynn
    Lynn from recently posted..Back to School Shopping: Remembering You Can Still Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose or Recycle!My Profile

  4. I live in one of those red states. Lots of climate change deniers. I get mean comments all the time. It’s sad.
    Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green recently posted..Product Review: Applegate FarmsMy Profile

  5. You sound like a wonderful teacher! It is so frightening that people deny climate change. I’m glad you live in an area that accepts it and is trying to make a difference.

    Thank you for linking up at Green & Natural Mamas Thursday!
    Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama recently posted..Make a Difference in the Life of an Animal in NeedMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge