Greetings from San Francisco! I’m here in CA at the largest meeting of geoscientists in the world: The American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting. It’s an incredible experience to be surrounded by so many people all thinking and discussing what is happening with our planet!
The presentations that have been offered at AGU cover all aspects of Earth Science: there are amazing conversations happening about oceanography, geology, hydrology, climate change and many others. However, one of my favorite conversations happening out here this week is a conversation surrounding climate literacy. In other words, we’re discussing how to effectively teach about climate change in a meaningful way that will have real impacts on the way that our students live their lives.
Working at the farm this semester has allowed my colleague, Sue Mooney, and I to think deeply about climate literacy. For the past few years, we have been teaching a learning community (LC) entitled “The Ethics and Science of Climate Change” which has attempted to teach undergraduates about climate change in a way that goes beyond just filing their heads with facts. As participants in our LC, students enroll in courses on environmental science, environmental ethics, and a seminar that uses community based learning to empower students to make real change in the carbon footprints of local community partners. So far, the results have been encouraging- but I look forward to spending more time at the farm this spring as we continue our quest to understand the best ways to teach about climate change!
~ Kristin Burkholder, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science