Teaching Climate Change in the United States 9780367179465, 9780367179472, 9780367179496

This book highlights best practices in climate change education through the analysis of a rich collection of case studie

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Teaching Climate Change in the United States
 9780367179465, 9780367179472, 9780367179496

Table of contents :
Half Title
List of figures
List of tables
List of contributors
1 Teaching climate change in the United States
2 Empowering children to change hearts and minds on climate change against all odds
3 Fostering climate literacy with global climate models in secondary science classrooms: insights from a collaborative partnership
4 Conversations on climate change pedagogies in a Central Texas kindergarten classroom
5 Teaching climate in the humanities classroom: building institutional and educator capacity
6 Climate change professional development approaches ‘MADE CLEAR’: looking back on one project and looking forward to the future
7 Becoming a persistent professional development community for informal educators addressing climate change: a story from two perspectives
8 Working the professional organizations
9 Applied social science to scale climate communications impact
10 Taking back our future: empowering youth through climate summits
11 Engagement for climate action
12 Creative climate communications: teaching from the heart through the arts
13 Science alone will not save us. Civic engagement might
14 Afterword: facing the climate crisis with courage

Citation preview

“Climate change is not just the greatest crisis we face, it’s also a prism through which to understand the world: politics, economics, psychology, you name it.That’s why, as this book makes clear, this can be an exciting if solemn moment for educators willing to take on the real meaning of our moment.” —Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?, USA “Classroom teachers and educators of all types have long understood that teaching climate change can’t stop at the science.Young people are hungry for action. Teaching Climate Change in the United States is the first-of-its-kind effort to show the breadth and depth at which true climate education – education that engages and empowers young people to take on the defining crisis of our time – is already happening across our country.This is a book to encourage and inspire climate educators of all types to know that they are not alone, but are instead one piece of a growing and vital climate education and action community.” —Rebecca Anderson, Director of Education, Alliance for Climate Education, USA “It is encouraging to see a US-based collection address how education can challenge forms of climate denial which limit our collective capacity for action. Research recognizes that climate change education needs to go beyond scientific literacy to also engage learners in psycho-social and behavioral understanding. This book brings this alive through practical examples from settings across the US.” —Marcia McKenzie, Director, Sustainability and Education Policy Network, Canada


This book highlights best practices in climate change education through the analysis of a rich collection of case studies that showcase educational programs across the United States. Framed against the political backdrop of a country in which climate change denial presents a significant threat to global action for mitigation and adaptation, each case study examines the various strategies employed by those working in this increasingly challenging sociopolitical environment.Via co-authored chapters written by educational researchers and climate change education practitioners in conversation with one another, a wide range of education programs is represented. These range from traditional institutions such as K-12 schools and universities to the contemporary learning environments of museums and environmental education centers.The role of mass media and community-level educational initiatives is also examined.The authors cover a multitude of topics, including the challenge of multi-stakeholder projects, tensions between indigenous knowledge and scientific research, education for youth activism, and professional learning. By telling stories of success and failure from the field, this book provides climate change researchers and educators with tools to help them navigate increasingly rough and rising waters. Joseph Henderson is a lecturer in the Department of Environment and Society at Paul Smith’s College of the Adirondacks in Upstate New York, where he teaches courses in the environmental social sciences. He is trained as an anthropologist of environmental and science education, and his research investigates how sociocultural, political, and geographic factors influence teaching and learning in emerging energy and climate systems. He completed a PhD at the University of Rochester, where he conducted ethnographic analyses of science learning, sustainability education, and educational policy. His post-doctoral work at the University of Delaware examined the emerging field of climate change education from a learning sciences and educational policy perspective. Andrea Drewes is an assistant professor in the Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling at Rider University, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, where she teaches courses in teacher education. She is trained as a learning scientist, and her research has focused on teacher preparation for climate change instruction and student learning outcomes in climate science education. She completed a PhD at the University of Delaware, where she investigated personal, professional, and political influences on science teacher identity development for teaching climate change through a narrative inquiry with climate change educators.

Routledge Advances in Climate Change Research

Regenerative Urban Development, Climate Change and the Common Good Edited by Beth Schaefer Caniglia, Beatrice Frank, John L. Knott Jr., Kenneth S. Sagendorf, Eugene A.Wilkerson Local Activism for Global Climate Justice The Great Lakes Watershed Edited by Patricia E. Perkins Political Responsibility for Climate Change Ethical Institutions and Fact-Sensitive Theory Theresa Scavenius Insuring Against Climate Change The Emergence of Regional Catastrophe Risk Pools Nikolas Scherer Climate Justice and Community Renewal Resistance and Grassroots Solutions Edited by Brian Tokar and Tamra Gilbertson Teaching Climate Change in the United States Edited by Joseph Henderson and Andrea Drewes For more information about this series, please visit: www.routledge.com/Routledge­ Advances-in-Climate-Change-Research/book-series/RACCR


Edited by Joseph Henderson and Andrea Drewes

First published 2020 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park,Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 selection and editorial matter, Joseph Henderson and Andrea Drewes; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Joseph Henderson and Andrea Drewes to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-0-367-17946-5 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-367-17947-2 (pbk) ISBN: 978-0-367-17949-6 (ebk) Typeset in Bembo by Apex CoVantage, LLC

For Ellie and Will.You deserve a beautiful and humane future. – Dad For Tanner and his cousins Amelia and Nora.Thank you to my family for the inspiration and support – A.D.


List of figures List of tables List of contributors 1 Teaching climate change in the United States Joseph Henderson and Andrea Drewes 2 Empowering children to change hearts and minds on climate change against all odds Kathryn T. Stevenson, Danielle F. Lawson, M. Nils Peterson, and Starr Binner 3 Fostering climate literacy with global climate models in secondary science classrooms: insights from a collaborative partnership Cory Forbes, Mark Chandler, Devarati Bhattacharya, Kimberly Carroll Steward, James Blake,Veranda Johnson, Mary (Burke) Morrow,Wally Mason, and Tony DeGrand 4 Conversations on climate change pedagogies in a Central Texas kindergarten classroom Fikile Nxumalo and Libby Berg

xi xii xiii 1






5 Teaching climate in the humanities classroom: building institutional and educator capacity Alana Siegner and Natalie Stapert 6 Climate change professional development approaches ‘MADE CLEAR’: looking back on one project and looking forward to the future Andrea Drewes, Melissa J. B. Rogers, and Christopher Petrone 7 Becoming a persistent professional development community for informal educators addressing climate change: a story from two perspectives Cathlyn Davis Stylinski, Joe E. Heimlich, Lesley Bensinger, Sharon Bowen, Sarah Milbourne, Bart Merrick, Christopher Petrone, and Mark Scallion




8 Working the professional organizations Don A. Haas and Eric J. Pyle


9 Applied social science to scale climate communications impact William Spitzer, John Fraser, Julie Sweetland, and John Voiklis


10 Taking back our future: empowering youth through climate summits Jen Kretser and Erin Griffin 11 Engagement for climate action Nicole Barbara Rom and Kristen Lee Iverson Poppleton 12 Creative climate communications: teaching from the heart through the arts Patrick Chandler, Beth Osnes, and Maxwell Boykoff

143 153


13 Science alone will not save us. Civic engagement might Peter D. Buckland, Brandi J. Robinson, and Michael E. Mann


14 Afterword: facing the climate crisis with courage Laura Faye Tenenbaum





2.1 3.1 3.2 3.3 5.1 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 10.1 11.1 11.2 11.3

11.4 11.5 12.1

12.2 12.3

Cultural worldview groups as related to climate change perceptions EzGCM Run Simulations Screenshot EzGCM Post-Processing Screenshot EzGCM Visualizations Map Screenshot Climate Curriculum Web of Support Members of a NNOCCI Study Circle training program Mean responses to a NNOCCI community-wide social

network survey NNOCCI’s Theory of Change NNOCCI’s Logic Model Youth Climate Program Values Framework Climate Generation Humanities Module (2019) Climate Convenings Toolkit (2016) Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) interviews a Climate

Generation program participant for broadcast on MPR News

Climate Cast program Climate Generation’s Talk Climate Institute features

visual drawings Climate Generation’s MN is Still In: Leadership on Climate

Action features visual Uli Miller, Casey Middle School student (right), brings

attention to recycling though her spirited embodiment

in this photo Map of Honduras Satellite image of Hurricane Mitch




















5.1 5.2 5.3 6.1 8.1 8.2

8.3 9.1

Climate Knowledge by Grade Level Response to Attitude/Engagement Questions by Grade Level 6th Grade Response to Attitude/Engagement Questions, 2018 vs. 2019 MADE CLEAR Professional Development Format Models Examples of member-benefit professional associations that are also 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organizations Generalized descriptions of NSTA and NAGT with selected resources that support the teaching of climate science and climate change Selected position statements from other professional organizations A comparison of climate change framing traps vs. NNOCCI’s strategic framing technique

61 63 67 82 107

109 118 130


Lesley Bensinger, Education Coordinator, Delaware Nature Society, Delaware,

USA Libby Berg, Kindergarten Teacher,Wholesome Generation School,Texas, USA Devarati Bhattacharya, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Natural

Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska, USA Starr Binner, Science Teacher, Camden County Middle School, Camden, North Carolina, USA James Blake, EdD, K-12 Science Curriculum Specialist, Lincoln Public Schools, Nebraska, USA Sharon Bowen, Education Manager, Maryland Zoo, Maryland, USA Maxwell Boykoff, PhD, Associate Professor, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies, University of Colorado, Colorado, USA Peter D. Buckland, PhD, Academic Programs Manager at the Sustainability Insti­

tute and Affiliate Faculty in Educational Theory and Policy, Pennsylvania State University, former chair of the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors Kimberly Carroll Steward, Graduate Research Assistant, School of Natural

Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska, USA Mark Chandler, PhD, Associate Research Scientist, Columbia University/NASA Goddard Institute for Space Science, New York, USA



Patrick Chandler, Environmental Studies PhD Student, Cooperative Institute for

Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Colorado, USA Tony DeGrand, Science Teacher, Lincoln Public Schools, Nebraska, USA Andrea Drewes, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Graduate Education,

Leadership, and Counseling, Rider University, New Jersey, USA Cory Forbes, PhD,Associate Professor, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska, USA John Fraser, PhD, President and CEO, Knology, New York, USA Erin Griffin, Climate and Communities Coordinator,The Wild Center, New York,

USA Don A. Haas, PhD, Director of Teacher Programs, The Paleontological Research Institution, New York, USA Joe E. Heimlich, PhD, Co-Director, COSI Center for Research and Evaluation and Ohio State University, Ohio, USA Joseph Henderson, PhD, Lecturer, Department of Environment and Society, Paul Smith’s College, New York, USA Veranda Johnson, Science Teacher, Lincoln Public Schools, Nebraska, USA Jen Kretser, Director of Climate Initiatives,The Wild Center, New York, USA Danielle F. Lawson, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University, North Carolina, USA Michael E. Mann, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and

Director of the Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University, Penn­ sylvania, USA Wally Mason, Science Teacher, Lincoln Public Schools, Nebraska, USA Bart Merrick, Education Coordinator, NOAA Environmental Science Training

Center, Maryland, USA Sarah Milbourne, Park Manager, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Rocky Gap State Park, Maryland, USA



Mary (Burke) Morrow, Science Teacher, Lincoln Public Schools, Nebraska, USA Fikile Nxumalo, PhD,Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum,Teaching and

Learning, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada Beth Osnes, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, Univer­ sity of Colorado, Colorado, USA M. Nils Peterson, Associate Professor, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, North Carolina, USA Christopher Petrone, Director, Marine Advisory Service, College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, University of Delaware, Delaware, USA Kristen Lee Iverson Poppleton, Director of Programs, Climate Generation, Min­

nesota, USA Eric J. Pyle, PhD, Professor, Department of Geology and Environmental Science, James Madison University,Virginia, USA Brandi J. Robinson, MS, Assistant Teaching Professor of Energy and Sustainability Policy, Pennsylvania State University, USA, and Chair of the Ferguson Township Climate Action Committee Melissa J. B. Rogers, Science Curriculum Developer, Smithsonian Science Educa­ tion Center,Washington, DC, USA Nicole Barbara Rom, Executive Director, Climate Generation, Minnesota, USA Mark Scallion, Center Director, Pickering Creek Audubon Center, Maryland, USA Alana Siegner, PhD Candidate, Energy and Resources Group, University of Cali­

fornia, Berkeley, California, USA William Spitzer, PhD, Vice President of Programs, Exhibits, and Planning, New England Aquarium, Massachusetts, USA Natalie Stapert, Humanities Coordinator, Lowell School,Washington, DC, USA Kathryn T. Stevenson, PhD,Assistant Professor, Department of Parks, Recreation,

and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University, North Carolina, USA Cathlyn Davis Stylinski, PhD, Principal Agent,Appalachian Laboratory, University

of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Maryland, USA



Julie Sweetland, PhD, Senior Advisor, FrameWorks Institute, Washington, DC,

USA Laura Faye Tenenbaum, Former Senior Science Editor, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and freelance science writer John Voiklis, PhD, Researcher, Knology, New York, USA


“We don’t know how this movie is going to end, because we’re in the writers room right now. We’re making the decisions right now. Walking out is not an option.We don’t get to give up.” – Mary Annaïse Heglar, September 2019 “Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking. We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling.” – Greta Thunberg,April 2019

Our home is on fire It’s a weird feeling to work on climate change education in the United States these days. Each waking day brings some kind of fresh horror juxtaposed with glimmers of hope and the steady emergence of previously unimaginable forms of social soli­ darity. We write this introduction shortly after millions of school children around the world conducted an educational strike, drawing political inspiration from Greta Thunberg, a previously unknown Swedish teenage activist who just sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to support her American counterparts. Meanwhile, a revanchist and increasingly fascist Republican Party controls most federal government institu­ tions and is actively hostile to any kind of political action that might mitigate the effects of climate change.And so it goes: the society tacking back and forth between the intentional rollback of carbon pollution regulations and the emerging green shoots of a youthful countermovement fighting for a chance at a flourishing future. Meanwhile, physics does what physics does and the earth continues to warm. What, then, is the role of education during a time of climate emergency? Education itself has become a cultural and political battlefield, as the struggle


Joseph Henderson and Andrea Drewes

between a carbon-soaked status quo and a more equitable and sustainable future plays itself out in the halls of learning.We have witnessed well-funded oil-y “think tanks” flood public schools in this country with propaganda explicitly designed to spread confusion among teachers (Dunlap and Jacques, 2013). We see climate change science standards challenged in conservative statehouses around the country in order to cultivate the ignorance of their citizens (Colston and Ivey, 2015). Social scientists have documented a well-funded and organized campaign of disinforma­ tion and misinformation aimed at both the nation’s educators and the news media with the goal of sowing doubt in the population (Oreskes and Conway, 2011; Farrell, 2016a, 2016b). The agents of the carbon-dependent status quo are clearly not giving up without a fight, but as climate writer Mary Annaïse Heglar (2019) reminds us, acquiescing is not an option for the rest of us. While stories of the outright climate science denial machine abound in the literature, there’s an additional and more pernicious form of denialism at work in the culture: the apathy and malaise of those who accept climate change science but who have yet to actually do anything of consequence to address the issue.We see this inaction across the educational domain too, from the professional communities that have been slow to take up climate change as a priority issue (Henderson et al., 2017) to average citizens who continue about their days knowing that something is amiss, but doing little about it because acknowledging the totality of climate change would mean resurfacing much of how they currently structure their lives (Norgaard, 2011).This is a book primarily for the latter crowd. We’re not really interested in addressing the outright climate science deniers anymore given their dwindling numbers and decreasing influence (Hamilton et al., 2019).The climate science community has wasted too much time and energy try­ ing to convince an increasingly marginalized and minor subset of the overall popu­ lation on the implications of climate science.We see, over and over again, that their denial is not driven by principled differences or by honest skepticism. Rather, it is driven by the need to maintain social and material power at all costs (McCright and Dunlap, 2011; Henderson, 2019).While it is important to understand the con­ tours of the climate countermovement and its impediments of change, we simply acknowledge in this book that there are far greater numbers of people – including Republicans – who accept climate science and want to make change (Hamilton et al., 2019). Nor is this a book merely about climate literacy.While we collectively celebrate broad attempts to teach people about the principles of climate change science (e.g., United States Global Change Research Program, Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science, 2009), we are most interested in education that will shift social and material conditions in ways that lead to a tangible decline in car­ bon emissions and toward increased forms of resilience and flourishing for both humans and the more-than-human world. As one of the authors in this book put it to us recently, “An education ‘about’ is an education of mere acquaintance. An education that draws down CO2 is an education of, by, and for the wresting of power for a more just and verdant world” (P. Buckland, personal communication,

Teaching climate change


October 19, 2019).A growing body of research acknowledges the limits of climate science literacy education, as it turns out that it is possible to know a great amount of knowledge about climate change while still acting in ways that perpetuate the problem (Kahan et al., 2012; Moser and Kleinhückelkotten, 2018). Climate change education must be able to affect change at a scale commensurate with the problem. Actually shifting the social and material conditions of climate change means confronting entrenched systems of power on the one hand while also working to stimulate calcified and ambivalent educational institutions that – while sympa­ thetic – continue to promulgate milquetoast responses inadequate to the scale of the problem.You will notice that many of the chapters in this book do not focus their educational activities on small scales of action. Instead, they recognize that climate change is a collective-action problem only solved by educational interven­ tions capable of shifting institutions, professional organizations, policy, law, systems, and the overarching discourse that currently supports an unsustainable status quo. The days of small-scale climate actions, while important, are over.This is not a book about using fewer plastic straws.This is a book about confronting calcified historical practices and entrenched power – of both the hostile and ambivalent kinds – and shifting structures accordingly. Despite all the political chaos and social upheaval in the United States right now, it remains a social fact that the population is very slowly coming to the realization that our house is on fire and that perhaps we might consider sounding the alarm (Hamilton et al., 2019). Educators must capitalize on this fact, for there are now majorities of people in the country who are primed for action (Ballew et al., 2019). Our intention in writing and editing this book is to provide a kind of marker of where the climate change education community is at this critical juncture. Like many of you, we too find ourselves trying to make sense of the magnitude of the climate emergency while also trying to find ways of living that actually make a positive difference in our world and in the worlds of our students and colleagues. This is a book, then, for the educators who want to change the world.

The United States as educational context This is a book about teaching climate change in the United States.We locate our descriptions and analysis in this context for a few reasons. First, it is where we live and where we have the most expertise in climate change education.We are heart­ ened by the recent rise in scholarship on climate change education work around the world (e.g., Læssøe and Mochizuki, 2015;Trajber and Mochizuki, 2015; Bieler et al., 2017; Chang and Pascua, 2017) and hope this book adds something to this growing community of practice. Second, have you seen the United States lately? Let’s just say that we are currently in the process of sorting out some things when it comes to climate change science.This is especially true after the 2016 presidential election and the subsequent assault on climate change science capacity in the fed­ eral government.Third, the United States has been, and continues to be, one of the largest carbon emitters in the world.We know that wealth is the primary driver of


Joseph Henderson and Andrea Drewes

carbon emissions (Oxfam International, 2015), and the United States is the wealthi­ est country in the world (Credit Suisse, 2018).While the causes of carbon pollution are not equitably distributed in our own population, we nevertheless have one of the highest levels of carbon pollution per person per year via the structures of our complex social existence (World Bank, 2019). Finally, the United States remains one of the most powerful geopolitical players on the world stage despite recent backsliding toward nationalism and related threats to the liberal international order (Ikenberry, 2018). Like it or not, we remain the global hegemon. For now. The United States also continues to experience an organized, well-funded, and sustained political attack on teaching climate change in our public schools (Branch et al., 2016). Our educational system is really a patchwork collection of smaller state bureaucracies, an artifact of a federalist constitutional system that distributes power and control over education to individual state legislatures. For good or naught, what happens in schools is largely the purview of each individual state, including local community school boards who also exert some democratic control over the form and function of public schooling. Given that climate change science is enrolled in larger political contests (Dunlap et al., 2016), this means that more traditionally conservative geographies are less likely to teach climate change science and are more openly hostile toward efforts to include it in the curriculum (Colston and Ivey, 2015). As a result, the climate change education landscape in formal public schooling is a mishmash, with some places spending large amounts of educational time on it, and other places not teaching it at all (Plutzer et al., 2016). The United States also has a small but powerful network of private schools from pre-K to undergraduate levels where students are educated outside the public system for a myriad of reasons, mainly related to religious beliefs or securing class advantage. Not much is known about the nature of climate change education in these places, although they are often schools with fewer state curriculum require­ ments and are sometimes more likely to innovate their curriculum in ways that take ecological issues seriously (Henderson, 2014).We also have approximately 2 million students who are home-schooled in the United States, again often for religious or ideological reasons (Murphy, 2012). Even less is known about the nature of cli­ mate change education in these contexts given the ethical complexities involved in studying intimate home life (see Lawson et al., 2019 for one strong example of quality research in these settings). While many of the chapters in this book focus on formal schooling, there are many other sites of learning where Americans may or may not learn about climate change.We know from studies of informal learning that most human learning hap­ pens outside formal educational institutions anyway (National Research Coun­ cil, 2009), and that informal settings (i.e., museums, summer camps, educational signage, television shows, the Internet, etc.) are influential educational contexts in shaping the broader public’s understanding of issues. Many of the chapters in this book emerge from these settings, and you will find that the authors of these chapters have interesting things to say about teaching climate change to sometimes unknown and quite culturally diverse audiences.

Teaching climate change


Finally – and zooming out toward the global educational context – we want to acknowledge the interplay between the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) programming and climate change education here in the United States.We recognize that the UN SDGs are important conceptual frameworks for many nations around the world.While some educators in the United States engage the UN SDGs, they simply do not have much purchase in our broader educational complex given the diffuse nature of educational policy under a federalist system of governance. Moreover, American culture contains a long-standing suspicion of the United Nations that sometimes borders on paranoia and conspiracy theoriz­ ing (Uscinski et al., 2017). Where the UN SDGs have been somewhat influential is in post-secondary higher education programming, perhaps as a result of a more cosmopolitan ethos in these places. But we are speculating now and cannot say for certain how UN climate change educational policies move into United States edu­ cational contexts. A small raft of comparative educational policy work (see Læssøe and Mochizuki, 2015; Aikens et al., 2016;Van Poeck et al., 2018) is beginning to examine these policy contexts, and we look forward to reading their findings when they are ready. Anecdotally, we note that we almost never come across UN SDG language or programming in our climate change education work, and we suspect that this too is a result of the country’s current role as global hegemon. The United States is a settler colonial nation established by violently seizing land from indigenous peoples and accumulating wealth by extracting both labor and resources from other places in the so-called “developing” world (Whyte, 2017).This includes carbon-based fuel sources that are used to power our society, what some scholars refer to as a pet­ rostate (Haluza-Delay, 2012). Like other colonial nations in the “developed” world, life in the United States is soaked through and through with oil and coal. While climate change education has a decent history of teaching the physical mechanisms of climate change, it lacks much of an analysis of social or political power and is often unwilling to engage those crucial aspects of life (Drewes et al., 2018; Hender­ son, 2019).We welcome the chapters in this book that realize that climate change education must fundamentally address the inequitable social conditions that have produced the problem in the first place: namely settler colonialism and its intimate relationship with a model of economic growth that prioritizes continued growth over sustainable limits (Klein, 2015).

A diversity of educational approaches Climate change is a collective action problem and needs to be dealt with by many different kinds of people working at various scales of influence (Ostrom, 2010). This book represents one such collective project for educators and edu­ cational researchers. As editors we see this book as a cultural artifact of a par­ ticular moment in American history as our nation continues to grapple with climate change in our educational structures and practices. The purpose of the book, then, is to highlight best practices in climate change education, as well as


Joseph Henderson and Andrea Drewes

explaining the ongoing challenges that hinder progress toward climate mitigation and adaptation. We therefore present here a collection of unique educational case studies detail­ ing a diversity of climate change education activities and programs from across the United States. Chapter authors are embedded in educational practices and pro­ grams that teach diverse audiences about climate change with a focus on informed action at various scales, from the individual and community levels to state and federal policies. Each case study is a co-authored venture, written by educational researchers and climate-change education practitioners in conversation with one another. We believe that good practice must be rooted in solid research and vice versa, and this book is our attempt to better connect these two educational com­ munities in the field of climate change education. We showcase a variety of educational programs, from formal institutions such as K-12 schools and universities, to informal institutions such as museums and environmental education centers, to nonformal environments like mass media and community-level educational initiatives.There are few other books in the emerg­ ing area of climate change education (e.g., Kagawa and Selby, 2010; Hung, 2014; Zabel et al., 2017), and those that do exist focus almost entirely on conceptual issues in climate change science education (e.g., Shepardson et al., 2017) or on other specialized disciplinary contexts (e.g., Siperstein et al., 2016;Young, 2018).We aim to provide a broader conceptualization of climate change education beyond merely scientific information literacy while also providing tangible examples of programs and practitioners who are using social science and educational research to inform their practice across a variety of settings. This book does not assume a fair amount of specialist knowledge in climate change science or related educational research related to the topic. Rather, we bring research and practice into conversation so that the book is broadly accessible to both academics and practitioners who are interested in the subject, as educators of all kinds are increasingly integrating climate change concepts and topics into their courses, but uptake has been sluggish and uneven (Plutzer et al., 2016). Climate change education research is slowly emerging and lags behind other domains of social science research (Henderson et al., 2017). While climate change education research has been slow, climate change educational programming is starting to be more broadly incorporated at many levels and across diverse educational contexts.

The structure of this book Climate change education is a broad and complex set of related concepts and prac­ tices. Imposing any kind of organizational scheme onto this work is difficult given the sheer number of issues involved (Zabel et al., 2017). Nevertheless, we have categorized chapters based on the nature of the educational context the authors are working within. Our chapters therefore fall into a few broad categories: formal K-12 educational settings, formal higher education settings, and informal educa­ tional settings.We draw inspiration here from the educational research in learning

Teaching climate change


in informal settings (National Research Council, 2009) that reminds us that human beings learn in a multitude of social contexts, with formal schools being but one small but important locus of learning. Each co-authored chapter utilizes case study method (Stake, 1978) to relate its practices to the broader terrain of educational and social science research in climate change education. Cases were selected to showcase a diversity of educational contexts, political and cultural geographies, and ideologies at work in climate change education. Our intention is to provide a broad approach across both institutional type and within the wider educational sector.Additionally, many of these cases are widely viewed as “best practice” cases within the small but growing climate change education profes­ sional community, and thus we have decided to showcase them. In our experience, climate change education fails to gain purchase because it remains too close to tra­ ditional science education.We aim to intentionally disrupt this pattern by branch­ ing into other educational contexts beyond the traditional confines of the field. We have asked authors to describe why they conduct their educational activities in particular ways and how those are related to research in the field. Additionally, we have asked authors to spend time discussing both successes and failures in their programming. We are inspired here by Heath and Sobol’s reminder (2013) that we should spend more time thinking through why projects fail in order to bet­ ter understand the sociocultural and political assumptions undergirding our work. While each chapter deals with empirical and peer-reviewed research, we have also tried to not weigh the book down with too much research.We seek a broad audi­ ence for this project and wish to engage both researchers and practitioners alike.We leave it to our readers to gauge how well we have threaded this needle.

The task ahead Climate change is a global phenomenon and perhaps one of the greatest issues facing humanity.While we have bound this edited collection to the United States given our expertise and the current political moment, we acknowledge and cel­ ebrate the growing body of literature around the world (e.g., Armstrong et al., 2018 and the aforementioned books) and look forward to a broader collaborative global climate change education project. We focus on the United States because our society in particular wields disproportionate ecological and political power in world affairs and is also currently governed by the leaders of one major political party that overwhelmingly denies climate change science and actively works against actions that might mitigate its effects.While climate change science deniers are cur­ rently in power in the United States, such denialism is not an inherently American phenomenon (Washington and Cook, 2011) and we suspect that our colleagues in other countries could learn from our successes and challenges here in the States. Educators of all kinds are soldiering on with climate change education despite this increasingly hostile social and political environment. Given the aforementioned challenges, this book will hopefully represent a bea­ con of hope for educators who are persisting in the conviction that climate change


Joseph Henderson and Andrea Drewes

is one of the dominant issues facing society and that learners are therefore entitled to a sound climate change education. By telling stories of success and failure from the field, we hope to provide future educators with a tool to help them navigate increasingly rough and rising waters. We draw final inspiration from the philoso­ pher Hannah Arendt (1961) who conceptualized education as: the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token save it from that ruin which, except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and young, would be inevitable.And education, too, is where we decide whether we love our chil­ dren enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world. (p. 196) Living through the shared and increasingly fraught climate change emergency that we now find ourselves in will involve elders passing along the best of our knowl­ edge traditions to a younger generation that will increasingly also have to recreate our shared world anew. This is one such project, as we pass along what we know about this nascent field of climate change education research and practice. Onward. We have a world to win.

References Aikens, K., McKenzie, M., & Vaughter, P. (2016) ‘Environmental and sustainability education policy research:A systematic review of methodological and thematic trends’, Environmen­ tal Education Research, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 333–359. Arendt, H. (1961) ‘The crisis in education’, in Between past and future: Six exercises in political thought, pp. 173–196. New York, NY:Viking. Armstrong, A. K., Krasny, M. E., & Schuldt, J. P. (2018) Communicating climate change: A guide for educators. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Ballew, M.T., Leiserowitz, A., Roser-Renouf, C., Rosenthal, S. A., Kotcher, J. E., Marlon, J. R., Lyon, E., Goldberg, M. H., & Maibach, E.W. (2019) ‘Climate change in the Ameri­ can mind: Data, tools, and trends’, Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Develop­ ment, vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 4–18. Bieler,A., Haluza-Delay, R., Dale,A., & Mckenzie, M. (2017) ‘A national overview of climate change education policy: Policy coherence between subnational climate and education policies in Canada (K-12)’, Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 63–85. Branch, G., Rosenau, J., & Berbeco, M. (2016) ‘Climate education in the classroom: Cloudy with a chance of confusion’, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 72, no. 2, pp. 89–96. Chang, C. H., & Pascua, L. (2017) ‘The curriculum of climate change education: A case for Singapore’, Journal of Environmental Education, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 172–181. Colston, N. M., & Ivey,T. A. (2015) ‘(un)Doing the next generation science standards: Cli­ mate change education actor-networks in Oklahoma’, Journal of Education Policy, vol. 30, no. 6, pp. 773–795.

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Credit Suisse. (2018) ‘Global wealth report’. Retrieved from: www.credit-suisse.com/media/ assets/corporate/docs/about-us/research/publications/global-wealth-report-2018-en.pdf Drewes, A., Henderson, J., & Mouza, C. (2018) ‘Professional development design considera­ tions in climate change education:Teacher enactment and student learning’, International Journal of Science Education, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 67–89. Dunlap, R. E., & Jacques, P. J. (2013) ‘Climate change denial books and conservative think tanks: Exploring the connection’, American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 57, no. 6, pp. 699–731. Dunlap, R. E., McCright, A. M., & Yarosh, J. H. (2016) ‘The political divide on climate change: Partisan polarization widens in the US’, Environment: Science and Policy for Sustain­ able Development, vol. 58, no. 5, pp. 4–23. Farrell, J. (2016a) ‘Corporate funding and ideological polarization about climate change’, Pro­ ceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 113, no. 1, pp. 92–97. Farrell, J. (2016b) ‘Network structure and influence of the climate change counter- move­ ment’, Nature Climate Change, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 370–374. Haluza-Delay, R. (2012) ‘Giving consent in the petrostate: Hegemony and Alberta oil sands’, Journal for Activist Science and Technology Education, vol. 4, no. 1. Hamilton, L. C., Hartter, J. N., & Bell, E. (2019) ‘Generational aspects of US public opinion on renewable energy and climate change’, PLoS One, vol. 14, no. 7, p. eo217608. Heath, S., & Sobol, D. (2013) ‘When literacy brings too many risks: A successful lesson in failure’, in Literacy and numeracy in Latin America: Local perspectives and beyond, pp. 127–143. New York, NY: Routledge. Heglar, M.A. (2019) ‘Home is always worth it’, Medium Environment, September 12. Retrieved from: https://medium.com/@maryheglar/home-is-always-worth-it-d2821634dcd9 Henderson, J. A. (2014) ‘“Not for everyone, but kind of amazing”: Institutional friction and the nature of sustainability education’, PhD thesis, University of Rochester, New York. Henderson, J.A. (2019) ‘Learning to teach climate change as if power matters’, Environmental Education Research, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 987–990. Henderson, J.A., Long, D., Berger, P., Russell, C., & Drewes,A. (2017) ‘Expanding the foun­ dation: Climate change and opportunities for educational research’, Educational Stud­ ies, vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 412–425. Hung, C. C. (2014) Climate change education: Knowing, doing and being. New York, NY: Routledge. Ikenberry, G. J. (2018) ‘The end of liberal international order?’ International Affairs, vol. 94, no. 1, pp. 7–23. Kagawa, F., & Selby, D. (Eds.) (2010) Education and climate change: Living and learning in interest­ ing times. New York, NY: Routledge. Kahan, D. M., Peters, E., Wittlin, M., Slovic, P., Ouellette, L. L., Braman, D., & Mandel, G. (2012) ‘The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks’, Nature Climate Change, vol. 2, no. 10, p. 732. Klein, N. (2015) This changes everything: Capitalism vs. the climate. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. Læssøe, J., & Mochizuki,Y. (2015) ‘Recent trends in national policy on education for sus­ tainable development and climate change education’, Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 27–43. Lawson, D. F., Stevenson, K. T., Peterson, M. N., Carrier, S. J., Strnad, R. L., & Seekamp, E. (2019) ‘Children can foster climate change concern among their parents’, Nature Climate Change, vol. 9, no. 6, p. 458. McCright,A. M., & Dunlap, R. E. (2011) ‘Cool dudes:The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States’, Global Environmental Change, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 1163–1172.

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Moser, S., & Kleinhückelkotten, S. (2018) ‘Good intents, but low impacts: Diverging impor­ tance of motivational and socioeconomic determinants explaining pro-environmental behavior, energy use, and carbon footprint’, Environment and Behavior, vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 626–656. Murphy, J. (2012) Homeschooling in America: Capturing and assessing the movement. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. National Research Council [NRC]. (2009) Learning science in informal environments: People, places, and pursuits.Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Norgaard, K. M. (2011) Living in denial: Climate change, emotions, and everyday life. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Oreskes, N., & Conway, E. M. (2011) Merchants of doubt: How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing. Ostrom, E. (2010) ‘Polycentric systems for coping with collective action and global environ­ mental change’, Global Environmental Change, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 550–557. Oxfam International. (2015) ‘Extreme carbon inequality’. Retrieved from: www.oxfam.org/ en/research/extreme-carbon-inequality Plutzer, E., McCaffrey, M., Hannah, A. L., Rosenau, J., Berbeco, M., & Reid, A. H. (2016) ‘Climate confusion among US teachers’, Science, vol. 351, no. 6274, pp. 664–665. Shepardson, D. P., Roychoudhury,A., & Hirsch,A. S. (2017) Teaching and learning about climate change:A framework for educators. New York, NY: Routledge. Siperstein, S., Hall, S., & LeMenager, S. (Eds.) (2016) Teaching climate change in the humanities. Taylor & Francis. Stake, R. E. (1978) ‘The case study method in social inquiry’, Educational Researcher, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 5–8. Thunberg, G. (2019) ‘You did not act in time’, Speech at House of Parliament, Lon­ don, April 23. Retrieved from: www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/23/ greta-thunberg-full-speech-to-mps-you-did-not-act-in-time Trajber, R., & Mochizuki,Y. (2015) ‘Climate change education for sustainability in Brazil: A status report’, Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 44–61. United States Global Change Research Program [USGCRP]. (2009) ‘Climate literacy:The essential principles of climate science’. Retrieved from: http://downloads.globalchange. gov/Literacy/climate_literacy_highres_english.pdf Uscinski, J. E., Douglas, K., & Lewandowsky, S. (2017) Climate change conspiracy theories.

In Oxford research encyclopedia of climate science. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Van Poeck, K., Lysgaard, J. A., & Reid, A. (Eds.) (2018) Environmental and sustainability educa­ tion policy: International trends, priorities and challenges. New York, NY: Routledge. Washington, H., & Cook, J. (2011) Climate change denial: Heads in the sand. New York, NY: Earthscan Taylor & Francis Group. Whyte, K. (2017) ‘The Dakota access pipeline, environmental injustice, and US colonialism’, Red Ink: An International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, & Humanities, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 154–169. World Bank. (2019) ‘CO2 metric tons per capita’. Retrieved from: https://data.worldbank. org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC Young, R. L. (2018) Confronting climate crises through education: Reading our way forward. Lan­ ham, MD: Lexington Books. Zabel, I. H., Duggan-Haas, D. A., & Ross, R. M. (Eds.) (2017) The teacher-friendly guide to climate change. Paleontological Research Institution.

2 EMPOWERING CHILDREN TO CHANGE HEARTS AND MINDS ON CLIMATE CHANGE AGAINST ALL ODDS Kathryn T. Stevenson, Danielle F. Lawson, M. Nils Peterson, and Starr Binner

Introduction Climate change education for children is often positioned as the responsible thing to do. The most recent special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that the worst of climate change impacts will be felt as early as 2050, including 0.76 meters of sea level rise, losing 10% of available land for farming and livestock production, and increased storm frequency and intensity caus­ ing hundreds of trillions of dollars in damage and untold loss of human life (IPCC, 2018). The report emphasizes that immediate and sweeping collective action to decrease global carbon emissions by 45% is needed to avoid these impacts.Although global initiatives such as the Paris Agreement are encouraging, agreement and action on the level called for by scientists and within the timescale required to avoid seri­ ous impacts is now unlikely.Accordingly, today’s youth will be faced with enormous economic, political, and social challenges related to climate change as they move into adulthood. In response to this reality, climate change educators express a moral imperative to equip today’s children with the knowledge and skills they will need to adequately address and respond to the considerable burden they will bear. As researchers and practitioners, we agree with this view, and suggest climate change education for children may simultaneously prepare young audiences for what is to come and make considerable progress in bringing current decision mak­ ers together to take action now. A large body of research has established that per­ ceptions and behaviors, including policy stances, related to climate change have much less to do with how good people are at understanding science and almost everything to do with worldviews and politics. Accordingly, barriers to the collec­ tive action needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change are heavily tied to socio-ideological polarization around the issue, with people digging in their heels instead of coming together toward solutions.We offer that children may represent

12 Kathryn T. Stevenson, et al.

a novel and effective pathway to overcoming these social barriers to collective action on climate change. Specifically, we suggest children may help adults set aside ideological biases and unite in a collective response to climate change.This process of different generations learning from one another is referred to as intergenerational learning (IGL). Although many assume IGL is typified by adults imparting wisdom to younger generations, numerous examples of social change movements (e.g., civil rights, Black Lives Matter) suggest younger generations can incite action among older generations to move toward a more sustainable and just future.We suggest the same may be true in the context of climate change. In this chapter, we describe what we have been learning about how children engage with climate change, how that engagement translates into action, and how children can influence their parents’ engagement with climate change. Interspersed in this narrative, we also offer perspectives of researchers and teachers on what it is like to engage in climate change education and associated research. Climate change is a scientific issue heavily couched in a complex socio-political context; accord­ ingly, so is the research. Herein lies a summary of what we have found over the last eight years of research in North Carolina, USA, as well as where we see this research taking us in the future.

Children think differently than adults when it comes to climate change Climate change may be the most challenging environmental issue faced by humanity because perceptions of climate change and associated support for action rest almost entirely on social factors that are extremely difficult to change. Political ideology is consistently one of the major drivers of climate change perceptions (McCright and Dunlap, 2011a), regardless of direct personal experiences with weather extremes caused by climate change (Marquart-Pyatt et al., 2014) or scientific literacy (Kahan et al., 2012). In the case of other global environmental challenges such as ozone depletion (Mäder et al., 2010) or sulfur oxide related acid deposition (Brady and Selle, 1985; Stavins, 1998), society coalesced around collective action as both the scientific and general communities became more informed about the associated risks and refused to accept them (Beck, 1992). In the case of climate change, how­ ever, political ideologies and worldviews sometimes cause people to ignore risks (McCright and Dunlap, 2010). This may be because politics influence the types of information we seek out (e.g., socio-ideologically framed news casts or politi­ cal messaging: Hamilton, 2011) as well as how we interpret it (e.g., accepting only socio-ideologically compatible information: Kahan et al., 2011; Druckman and McGrath, 2019). For example, people who are better at science and interpret­ ing numbers are actually more polarized on climate change, suggesting that indi­ viduals utilize scientific information to reinforce their own ideologically-formed viewpoints rather than come to shared conclusions based on scientific evidence (Kahan et al., 2012). Similarly, McCright and Dunlap (2011b) refer to a conserva­ tive white-male effect in which conservative Caucasian males are consistently less

Empowering children on climate change


concerned about and more skeptical of climate change, as compared to members of other social groups. Like political ideology, gender identity is relatively stable once formed, and reflects cultural constructs that can shape how individuals interact with the world (McCright and Dunlap, 2011b). As these characteristics that influence one’s climate change perceptions are engrained in personal identity, they are diffi­ cult, if not impossible, to change.Accordingly, these factors pose a significant barrier to the collective action needed to avoid catastrophic climate change impacts. We began our research with children and climate change, hoping children were sufficiently flexible to overcome the ideological and identity-related barriers to addressing climate change. Political ideology and cultural worldviews are still form­ ing among adolescents and do not solidify until early adulthood (around age 25) (Vollerberg et al., 2001). However, parents have a significant influence on children throughout adolescence (Vollerberg et al., 2001), suggesting parents’ ideologicallydriven viewpoints may impact how children engage with climate change. We set out to understand in what ways cultural worldviews may shape how children engage with climate change. Cultural worldviews are similar to, but a little different from political ideology. One way to describe worldviews is to place individuals on spectrums of hierarchy to egalitarianism and individualism to communitarianism (Douglas and Wildavsky, 1983; Kahan et al., 2011; Figure 2.1). Research shows

Hierarchists: opportunities, rights &  resources distributed according to  social characteristics (e.g., gender,  race, class, merit)

Hierarchical individualists

Hierarchical communitarians

Individualists: people 

should secure their needs  without collective  assistance

Egalitarian individualists

Egalitarian communitarians

Communitarian: society  should ensure all are  provided for

Egalitarians: opportunities, rights & 

resources should be equally distributed


Cultural worldview groups as related to climate change perceptions. Adapted from Kahan et al. (2011) and Douglas and Wildavsky (1983). In general, we expect hierarchical individualists to be more skeptical of anthropogenic climate change and opposed to policies to mitigate it. We expect egalitarian communitarians to be more accepting and more sup­ portive of associated mitigation policies.

14 Kathryn T. Stevenson, et al.

hierarchical-individualists are more skeptical and dismissive of climate change whereas egalitarian-communitarians are more accepting and concerned (Kahan et al., 2011). Further, as mentioned, being good at science and numbers may drive people further apart, rather than helping them reach consensus on scientifically supported facts (Kahan et al., 2012). In our study, we were interested to understand whether climate change knowledge had similar polarizing impacts among children. We believed this would have important implications for how we talk about climate change with children. A direct education-focused approach would work best if children were relatively free of ideological filters to climate knowledge informa­ tion, but if children exhibited the same ideological biases as adults, more nuanced and indirect models (e.g., strategic framing) would be needed. Our findings with this initial study were refreshing because they suggested that children are able to parse climate science from its political context. We surveyed middle school students in coastal North Carolina, measuring their cultural worldviews, climate change knowledge, acceptance of anthropogenic global warming, and climate change concern.We found that climate change knowledge predicted accept­ ance of anthropogenic global warming, which in turn predicted climate change concern (Stevenson et al., 2014). Different worldviews still predicted initial differ­ ences in student concern about climate change, but knowledge overcame that divi­ sion. When children had low levels of climate change understanding, worldviews predicted whether they accepted anthropogenic climate change or not, just like with adults. Individualist children were more skeptical and dismissive of climate change whereas communitarian children were more accepting and concerned. But as climate change understanding increased, the effect of worldview disappeared.This is opposite the trends found among adults, offering our first glimmer of hope that children may be different from adults in the exact ways we need. That is, children may able to think and act about climate change in ways that are motived by scien­ tific consensus, rather than adhering to positions that are consistent with the cultural worldviews or political ideologies held by adults. Climate change is a scientific issue deeply embedded in social context (Druckman and McGrath, 2019). But, as children may not have developed strong identities around cultural worldviews or political identities, they may be better equipped to respond to the reality of climate change, its anthropogenic roots, and the already-felt and projected impacts (IPCC, 2018).

Children can learn about climate change in ways that inspire action Once we established that children think differently than adults on climate change, we wanted to understand if climate change education had the potential to encour­ age children toward greater climate change engagement and action. Because research suggests that most climate change communication and education efforts only resonate with distinct groups of the population depending on their socioideological stances (Hornsey et al., 2016), the possibility that diverse groups of children could learn about climate change and reach conclusions similar to those of the scientific community was exciting.

Empowering children on climate change


The first step in this project was designing a climate change curriculum, which we titled Wildlife, Weather, Climate and Change (go.ncsu.edu/wwcc). When we started this work in 2012, there were few options for climate change curricula (fortunately, more exist now; for example, see cleannet.org for resources).We mod­ eled our curriculum after an environmental education curriculum called Project WILD, an internationally distributed curriculum that focuses on terrestrial and aquatic wildlife biology, ecology, and conservation (see projectwild.org). We did this for several reasons. First, curricula like Project WILD have been shown to build environmental literacy, particularly related to cognitive skills like issue analysis and action planning among middle schoolers (Stevenson et al., 2013).This is likely due to its hands-on, engaging nature, which has been linked to building climate change concern and commitment to action among adolescents (Flora et al., 2014). Sec­ ond, some research has suggested that individuals are less influenced by worldviews when considering climate change impacts on biodiversity and wildlife than when considering impacts on people (Smith and Leiserowitz, 2014; Stevenson et al., 2015).Worldview does seem to influence adolescents’ climate change perceptions at low levels of climate change understanding (Stevenson et al., 2014). Perhaps more importantly (see the following), teachers, school administrators, textbook authors, parents, and lawmakers determine what is taught in classrooms, and these parties are heavily influenced by worldview (Wise, 2010; Román and Busch, 2015; Plutzer et al., 2016). Accordingly, we settled on a wildlife-based curriculum to provide a more ideologically neutral vehicle for climate change education.We worked with a large team to complete the curriculum. We modified existing climate change education resources, relying on the State Climate Office of North Carolina, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, and faculty from the Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology program at NC State to ensure that the cur­ riculum was factually accurate in terms of climate science, causes, and observed and projected impacts on wildlife. We also worked with teachers to link the activities to the lives of North Carolina K-12 standards and ensure the activities were usable and accessible to classroom teachers and middle school students.The resulting cur­ riculum included four activities focused on local wildlife species, emphasized both individual and collective action, and was linked to both state and national teaching standards for middle school students (see Stevenson et al., 2018).

THE POLITICS OF TEACHING AND RESEARCHING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE Researcher perspective: When we started this work, North Carolina state politics were not friendly to climate change education. The newly elected governor had just ordered that all mention of climate change be removed from all state-sponsored

16 Kathryn T. Stevenson, et al.

museums and aquaria, and the legislature had just passed a law prohibiting coastal planning boards from using sea level rise modeling data to plan for future development. This mandatory head-in-the-sand approach to urban planning landed North Carolina in a host of popular news articles about how the state “outlawed sea level rise.” Similarly, although North Carolina had been identified as a lead partner in the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards in 2011, the standards have not been adopted, partially because of their inclusion of climate change. This context certainly affected our work. One of the biggest challenges to writing the climate change curriculum was finding partners who were allowed to work with us. Originally, we planned to work with a different curriculum, but because it was housed in the state’s Department of Environ­ ment and Natural Resources, our contact was told she could not attend our meetings if she wanted to keep her job. Employees of the other state agencies that did work with us had to be careful how they discussed the project with their employers. When we did complete the curriculum, obtain­ ing permission to train teachers proved to be challenging in some areas. In one county, the science specialist provided us with climate denial websites as evidence for why we needed to be careful to present “both sides” of climate change to students. On the whole, however, we found a large community of science teachers who deeply cared about climate education and were com­ mitted to bringing it into their classrooms. Teacher perspective: My involvement in climate change education began for several different reasons. I had been absent from the teaching profession for about seven years. I needed the professional development to be current and meaningful. During my pre-service years, I had participated in Project WILD and related environmental professional development. My previous experience led me to trust the source of the information that would be presented and also the quality of training that I would receive. I also have a personal inter­ est in meteorology, climate, and interactions in the earth system, so I was looking to expand my own knowledge base. Last but not least, as a middle grades science educator, I feel a duty and obligation to develop students that will grow up to become informed decision-makers for our community. This includes providing them with knowledge, but also connecting them to the concepts to build meaning and relevance. Participation in this project met all of those criteria. When I first participated in the project, I did not receive any pushback. My district and school level administration trusted me as a professional and

Empowering children on climate change


gave me permission to participate with no questions asked. For the most part, our small rural community had no problem with the climate change activities being taught in the classroom. I had a student tell me, “Since this is through NC State University, my parents won’t have any problems.” Since I began teaching in northeast North Carolina almost 20 years ago, I have never been questioned about the content or subject matter that I have taught in the classroom. I teach our state standards and am very transpar­ ent with my parents, students, and district where my information and les­ sons come from. In recent years, our administration has changed within our school and district. Their biggest concern about the project has not been the content, but only the collection of information and maintaining the privacy of the students and parents.

After building the curriculum, we tested it and found that it built children’s knowledge about climate change, which may help encourage action. We trained teachers in the curriculum and then conducted a pre-post/treatment-control evaluation of how it influenced students’ climate change knowledge, concern, hope, and behavior.We had already found that climate change knowledge is posi­ tively linked to concern among children (Stevenson et al., 2014). Research with adults also suggests that concern can lead to action (Tobler et al., 2012; Lee et al., 2015). However, other research, including among children, suggests that hope is needed to prevent concern from morphing into debilitating despair (Ojala, 2012b). Hope is a combination of both self-efficacy (I/we can do something) and response efficacy (my/our action will have the desired effect) on both the individual and collective levels (Stevenson et al., 2018).We hypothesized that our curriculum would primarily build knowledge, and then equipped with knowl­ edge, students would also build concern for climate change while maintaining hope, and that together hope and concern would inspire action. This had been supported with a few other studies (Ojala, 2016), including one other pre-post study (Flora et al., 2014), but ours was one of the first to test this theory with a full experiment.We found partial support for our hypotheses.The curriculum did drive knowledge, but only those who increased knowledge increased concern and hope. Further, only those who increased concern and hope took more action. In essence, we found a link between all these different constructs, but found that our curriculum did not drive the whole system alone.We cannot be sure of why this was exactly in our study, because we did not ask why people decided or decided not to engage in more robust climate change mitigation behaviors (e.g., giving up meat as a dietary option, voting for politicians who support climate change action). However, research around how knowledge may (or may not) promote

18 Kathryn T. Stevenson, et al.

behavior is likely helpful in this regard. In general, knowledge gain alone does not lead to behavior change (Kollmuss and Agyeman, 2002; Heimlich and Ardoin, 2008), and this seems to hold true in the context of climate change education (Drewes et al., 2018). This is not to say that knowledge of climate change is not important in building capacity and motivation for action, but rather that behavior (both individual and collective) is complex, and it depends on contextual factors that education does not immediately change (e.g., current availability of public transportation) (Callison, 2014). Climate change education research has only begun to understand drivers of climate change action among adolescents, but our research and that of others has uncovered some helpful insights. First, we know that knowledge does seem to play a role (Shepardson et al., 2012; Niebert and Gropengiesser, 2013; Hestness et al., 2016), but it is certainly not the primary driver.We know that concern and hope are linked to action (Ojala, 2012b; Stevenson and Peterson, 2015; Stevenson et al., 2018), but links to worldviews and social context (Stevenson et al., 2014; Hestness et al., 2016), belief (Shealy et al., 2017), attitudes (Dijkstra and Goedhart, 2012), gender (Ojala, 2012a), socio-economic status (Stevenson et al., 2014), and race (Leiserowitz and Akerlof, 2010) suggest that other social and cultural factors likely shape how children engage with climate change. For instance, children’s cli­ mate change concern and behaviors are likely influenced by social norms set by their friends and family (Stevenson et al., 2016;Valdez et al., 2018).They may also be influenced by trusted messengers including teachers (Stevenson et al., 2016). However, one common thread throughout this research is that children do seem to be able to learn about climate change; the more they know, the more they are concerned and motivated to act.This link seems to be robust to the viewpoints of their friends, parents, and teachers and the ideological drivers that are so powerful among adults.

Maybe children can help adults come together on climate change As we learned more about how children think differently than adults on cli­ mate change, we began to wonder if children might help adults think differently. Research on intergenerational learning (IGL) holds promise. Adults are known to influence children in a variety of ways, including student academic achievement (Davis-Kean, 2005), their approach to future marital relations (Axinn and Thorn­ ton, 1993), and the choice to stop smoking (Varcoe et al., 2010). However, research also suggests that children can influence their parents. Notable examples include children convincing their parents to purchase high-sugar cereals (Flurry and Burns, 2005), encouraging their parents to use modern technology such as computers (Baily, 2009), and changing parental views on sexual orientation (LaSala, 2000). Environmental education (EE) programs directed at children, but designed with IGL in mind, also result in the successful transfer of environmental knowledge, attitudes,

Empowering children on climate change


and behaviors to adults. Empirical research of EE programming reveals successful child-to-adult IGL, including waste education behaviors (Maddox et al., 2011), flood education knowledge (Williams et al., 2017), energy conservation behaviors (Boudet et al., 2016), and general environmental conservation knowledge (Leem­ ing et al., 1997). In summary, it is clear that child-to-adult IGL is possible, and provides an effective avenue to environmental change that engages both younger and older generations. In light of this research on IGL, we hoped children might help adults recognize the crisis posed by climate change. Children think differently about climate change, and their views are more strongly aligned with fact and reason than politics and ide­ ology. Children are also among the most trusted and ideologically neutral sources of information for parents. For example, in the context of sex education, parents reported being uncomfortable talking about sexuality generally and were more willing to talk to their children about the subject than other adults in their lives, independent of which party initiated the conversation (Morawska et al., 2015). This suggests that the bond between parent and child helps facilitate conversations around uncomfortable topics. In the case of climate change, this unique relation­ ship between parents and children may create a context in which children are well positioned to overcome the socio-ideological barriers that normally dissuade peo­ ple from engaging with climate change. For example, a former US Congressman and climate change denier, Bob Inglis, noted that his son was the reason he chose to change his climate change perceptions, and now fights for effective climate poli­ cies (Sausser, 2018). In summary, children appear to be the ideal conduit for climate change communication to their parents, as they are capable of understanding and acting on the subject more effectively than parents and are more trusted by parents than other information sources.

Children can teach their parents, even in the most unlikely cases In order to test the possibility that children could impact their parents’ views and motivation for action on climate change, the first step was to ensure our climate change curriculum was designed to maximize that possibility. Research around IGL suggests that it is the most likely to occur when several conditions are met. Inter­ ventions should: 1) focus on local issues (Sutherland and Ham, 1992; Ballantyne et al., 2001), 2) include in-depth lessons over a long period of time (preferably with repeated contact, lasting a few weeks or more), 3) incorporate hands-on projects, 4) involve enthusiastic teachers, and 5) encourage parental participation (Percy-Smith and Burns, 2013). Many of these aspects were already captured in the aforementioned Wildlife,Weather, Climate and Change curriculum, but we added 1) engagement with parents through an interview conducted by students, 2) a field-based service-learning project in conjunction with a community partner, and 3) a reflective blog post.

20 Kathryn T. Stevenson, et al.

STORIES FROM THE FIELD: A TEACHER’S PERSPECTIVE For our service project, we decided it was best to get the students outdoors to experience firsthand the impacts of climate change on one of the most delicate yet dynamic ecosystems in our state, the Outer Banks. We first worked with The Nature Conservancy at Nags Head Woods Preserve. After a site visit, we determined their location would be too small to host 150+ eighth grade students and four activity buses. We then reached out to Jock­ ey’s Ridge State Park. They agreed to host us, and the Nature Conservancy brought in other environmental agencies to help plan our event. The other agencies included North Carolina Aquariums, North Carolina State Parks, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and North Carolina Coastal Federation. These agencies all volunteered their time to plan and share with our students. We planned to have students rotate and spend time with each agency working through mini-activities that connected to the lessons that were previously taught with the curriculum in the classroom. Some of the activities included hiking through the maritime forest to identify impacts of climate change, role-playing migratory bird populations as their ecosystem changed due to climate change, investigating alligator populations as temperatures change, and exploring shore erosion with sea level rise. After working through each station, students then got time to make observations at the site and wit­ ness the impact of the low profile oyster sill in restoring the marsh habitat on the shoreline. Even though our students only live about 50 miles from Jockey’s Ridge, this was a first trip and new experience for many of them. The students were inspired by this trip. They got to see with their own eyes the effects of climate change on a local ecosystem.

We again used a treatment-control, pre-post experimental design in which we tested the impact of the curriculum on the climate change concern of children and their parents, and our results included four major findings. First, children who participated in our curriculum showed increased climate change concern. Second, children in the treatment group fostered more climate change concern among their parents than was the case for the control group across both years.Third, changes in parents’ climate change concern were most pronounced among the groups typi­ cally most resistant to climate change communication – political conservatives and men. Fourth, girls were more effective than boys in fostering climate change con­ cern among their parents. We were blown away by these results and identified several implications for using intergenerational learning to address climate change. We see enormous opportunity in designing climate change education specifically for IGL. Children (especially girls) can effectively build concern on climate change

Empowering children on climate change


among parents, which we feel educators and children should both know and feel empowered by.As one teacher put it: What we are doing matters and can have an impact. We always want to believe, as teachers, that we are preparing for the future; training up students to be positive contributors to our society when they grow up. However, . . . we don’t have to wait for our students to “grow” up to [create] change; the impact could occur now within their families . . . that is the inspiring part. From our previous research, we knew the curriculum would build concern among children, but we learned that it could also reach parents. This was expected as we followed best practices to encourage IGL, but this study represented the first time those guidelines were tested in a climate change context. In particular, we think the field-based service-learning portion of the curriculum likely supported the sense that climate change impacted local areas as well as increased engagement among children (Monroe et al., 2017). We also found that increased family discussion around climate change was a key factor in predicting changes in parents’ concern levels, which suggests that the adolescent-conducted parent interview embedded in our curricula helped foster the child-to-parent IGL we observed. If climate change educators would like to have similar results, we suggest finding ways for children to have conservations with their parents around climate change. Our version of that was an interview in which children asked their parents to reflect on how they have seen the weather and climate change over time and used that as a way to have a conversation about what they had been learning in school. Perhaps most remarkably, IGL in this context seemed to reflect the robustness of the parent-child relationship to socio-ideological threats typically associated with climate change perceptions among adults. Contrary to trends in climate change social science research, parents who identified as male or conservative more than doubled their concern levels between pre- and post-tests – a larger increase than their female and liberal counterparts.This is surprising, as our own pre-test results and decades of research suggest conservatives and men are typically the least con­ cerned about climate change and most resistant to interventions designed to pro­ mote concern (McCright and Dunlap, 2011a). However, high levels of parental trust in their children often leads to parents being willing to listen to or accept their child’s views on complex topics (Kerr et al., 1999). As such, leveraging children as a neutral communication pathway capable of overcoming longstanding socioideological barriers to climate change action should be a key strategy in future climate literacy efforts. Finally, girls seem particularly effective at building climate change concern (more so than boys).This may be because girls were more concerned than boys by the end of the treatment, or it could reflect research suggesting that girls are better at communicating information than boys (Jenson and Nutt, 2015).We also noticed that parents’ concern levels at the pretest were lower when information was com­ ing from daughters than when coming from sons.We found this dynamic troubling.

22 Kathryn T. Stevenson, et al.

Our data does not offer much in way of explanation, but other research documents how parents tend to talk less with daughters than sons about science. It could be that sons delivering the pretests may trigger parents to think about the topic more if they associate science with sons over daughters. Regardless of the mechanisms, our results seem to suggest that empowering girls to communicate about climate change with their parents may serve the dual purpose of working against typi­ cal gender roles that exclude girls from science and being particularly effective at building climate change concern among parents.

TEACHERS’ PERSPECTIVES ON STUDENTS’ REACTIONS TO THE CURRICULUM It seems there is always at least one student who insists that climate change is not real, that it is just a “government left-wing conspiracy.” Usually, this proclamation occurs when I first mention the unit and introduce the topic. Once we begin our study and work through the activities in the curriculum, I do not hear this statement again. Our community is comprised of many who farm, hunt, and/or fish. With that, I think there are many that want to protect those natural resources and do their part to take care of the envi­ ronment we live in, so we can continue those same activities in the future. The other reaction is of course, “This is a global issue, so what can I do about it?” I believe the activity that leads students to calculate their eco­ logical footprint really helps them to understand that there are many daily decisions that they make that can have a huge impact over a lifetime. Usu­ ally, once we complete this activity, students really start to question and ask, “What else can I do?”

Conclusions Mitigating the projected impacts of climate change requires widespread collective action, and our results suggest that children may be the key spokespersons needed to create change now and in the future. Climate change education in the K-12 class­ room works toward both immediate and ultimate goals for education. Specifically, teaching climate science provides a highly salient case that helps teachers share prin­ ciples linked to weather, climate, chemistry, ecology, and a host of other core scien­ tific standards students must master to successfully participate as adults in modern economies.The compulsory nature of most K-12 education ensures climate educa­ tion reaches a diverse and representative audience. Furthermore, climate education rooted in intergenerational learning empowers children, who will experience the brunt of climate change impacts, to push broader society toward mitigating and

Empowering children on climate change


responding to climate change now. In addition to preparing children to address the unavoidable climate challenges they will face, child-to-parent IGL provides children with means to promote collective action needed to safeguard their future. Not surprisingly, public criticism of children serving as intergenerational teach­ ers in the climate change domain have only come from sources espousing political and ideological views associated with climate change denialism. These critiques have focused primarily two themes: that we are advocating “using children to get to their parents” and that child-to-parent education threatens social norms of parents controlling children. In the sense that we are suggesting that children should have a voice in their own futures and that they are an untapped resource for galvanizing public support for climate change action, they are correct.And perhaps the climate denialism industry should feel threatened. Our research suggests parents believe scientific facts shared by their children even when facing carefully designed disin­ formation campaigns. Further, as noted by Curren (2009) environmental education is a social right. Climate change education in particular helps children understand future challenges and solutions to them. Understandably, many children are alarmed at the prospect of the future painted by current understanding of climate change impacts.We offer that climate change education that equips children with the tools they need to communicate their concern with parents and other adults, and may simultaneously equip children with avenues for action. Academic critics of IGL-based approaches worry they may inappropriately burden children (e.g.,Thompson, 2014); however both research (Stapleton, 2018) and recent child-led efforts offer a counterpoint (e.g., Wells, 2014). Although younger generations cannot vote, numerous examples show they are working toward solutions to make large political impacts. Across the United States, move­ ments such as Black Lives Matter (Black Lives Matter, 2018) and the March for Our Lives protests (The New York Times, 2018) echo other youth-led social movements around child labor laws and civil rights (Center for Community Change, 2014). In environmental contexts, a Change.org petition on behalf of fourth and fifth graders successfully convinced Dunkin’ Donuts, Inc. to stop sell­ ing Styrofoam coffee cups on Earth Day 2015 (Wells, 2014). At the time of this writing, twenty-one adolescents aged 10 to 21 from Oregon are suing the United States government for failure to address climate change in the landmark court case, Juliana v. US (Our Children’s Trust, 2018). Children’s voices are also call­ ing for solutions to combat environmental degradation and taking active roles in advocacy-based endeavors globally (UNICEF, 2007), including those on climate change (PLAN International, 2015). These examples suggest that children are eager and able to take an active role in combating climate change, and are poised to transform society in ways that will be necessary to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change (Center for Community Change, 2014). This change may not be smooth or immediate, but as history has shown, change can and will result from these youth-based efforts. IGL research can highlight their success and uncover ways to ensure they are given the best chance to lead us into a future that overcomes challenges posed by climate change.

24 Kathryn T. Stevenson, et al.

Challenges and next steps Climate change research is certainly not without its hurdles. In addition to the typi­ cal challenges related to survey response rates, guarding against various sources of bias and doing our best to ensure our research methods capture social phenomena accurately, climate change education has unique issues related to the social context of climate change.As outlined in this chapter, we have faced pushback at every stage of this work, including convincing collaborators and partners that climate change education is a worthy endeavor, ensuring that teachers feel equipped to address potential administrator and parent concerns, being rigorous about understanding how these challenges may be impacting our results, and respectfully but reason­ ably responding to ideologically-driven backlash when our results were published. Regardless, we believe in this work and are excited about the very quickly emerging future where children participate more in climate change educational efforts.That in of itself can present challenges to the work, in that we want to let the data lead us in our future research efforts, rather than looking for the results that we want to see. We hope others will join us in both studying and implementing a form of cli­ mate change education where children are viewed and respected as climate change educators.We are interested in understanding mechanisms of IGL, and we have a few follow-up studies planned that involve interviewing parents and examining social media posts around reactions to our work.We also plan to examine how IGL may work in key cultural contexts (e.g., in agricultural communities, among first genera­ tion immigrant families in which children are the primary English translators) as well as how far it may reach within families and communities. For instance, did IGL pro­ mote climate concern among parents because of the unique parent-child relationship, or will this work with other adults? If we empower children to have conversations about climate change, can they shift thinking in entire communities? Others within this book can undoubtedly add to this conversation, and we are excited to learn more.

Acknowledgements We would like to thank the dozens of teachers without whom this work would have been impossible. In particular, we would like to thank Jordan McEwan who offered her perspective on this chapter and provided additional stories behind the research.We would also like to thank our funder, NC Sea Grant, and the numer­ ous community partners that supported this work.Thanks also to the hundreds of parents who agreed to engage with their children on this important topic, and to the thousands of students who participated and continue to inspire us.

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3 FOSTERING CLIMATE LITERACY WITH GLOBAL CLIMATE MODELS IN SECONDARY SCIENCE CLASSROOMS Insights from a collaborative partnership Cory Forbes, Mark Chandler, Devarati Bhattacharya, Kimberly Carroll Steward, James Blake, Veranda Johnson, Mary (Burke) Morrow, Wally Mason, and Tony DeGrand Introduction Arguably, there is no more pressing challenge in the Anthropocene than that of global climate change (GCC). Education is crucial to prepare members of con­ temporary global society with the knowledge and skills to confront and address Earth’s changing climate. Formal classroom settings, particularly those in science, can afford productive opportunities for learning about Earth’s climate system, evolving climatic patterns, and how both are studied scientifically (Finley, 2014). In the US, this has been emphasized even more so through the Next Generation Sci­ ence Standards (Next Generation Science Standards [NGSS] Lead States, 2013).The NGSS are science content standards created through a joint effort by the National Research Council, the National Science Teaching Association, American Associa­ tion for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve, that describe the foundational scientific understanding recommended for all K-12 students. The NGSS, for the first time, emphasizes GCC in core outcomes for student learning, particularly at the secondary level. However, Earth science education is increasingly deemphasized in the K-12 curriculum (Banilower et al., 2018), resulting in limited opportunities for teaching and learning about the earth’s climate system and GCC, particularly by high school. Additionally, a growing body of research has illustrated obstacles educators face teaching about Earth’s climate and GCC (e.g., Fortner, 2001; Shep­ ardson et al., 2011; Hestness et al., 2014; Plutzer et al., 2016; Drewes et al., 2018) and the challenges for students engaging with and developing understanding of this large, complex Earth system (e.g., Koulaidis and Christidou, 1999; Andersson and Wallin, 2000; Pruneau et al., 2003; Shepardson et al., 2011;You et al., 2017).

30 Cory Forbes, et al.

In particular, secondary students have almost no experience with the data-driven, computer-based models used by climate scientists or purposefully designed curric­ ular resources that support model-based sense-making.As such, the limited empha­ sis on Earth’s climate system and GCC in secondary classrooms does not afford students robust opportunities to engage with and learn about the processes and tools (i.e., epistemology) with which scientists generate claims about Earth’s climate and GCC. Hence, supporting students to use authentic climate models and engag­ ing them in these epistemic dimensions of climate science is critical for students in developing their own understanding of the phenomenon. To address this need, and with funding from the National Science Foundation (DRL 1720838 and 1719872), we are engaged in a four-year project to investi­ gate classroom use of EzGCM, a web-based climate modeling suite (www.ezgcm. org) designed for non-scientists that uses authentic NASA global climate data. At its core, the High School Students’ Climate Literacy through Epistemology of Scientific Modeling (CliMES) project involves a collaborative partnership between scientists, educators, school district officials, teachers, and researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Columbia University/NASA, and Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) in Lincoln, Nebraska.We have leveraged the unique expertise of our contributors to develop, implement, and refine a three-week climate science mod­ ule for secondary geoscience classrooms. Our project-developed curriculum affords students opportunities to use EzGCM for engaging in scientific practices of climate science, with a particular emphasis on scientific modeling, which is a critical science and engineering practice foregrounded in NGSS. In this chapter, we report on this collaborative work from four unique perspectives – the science education research and development team, climate scientist, school district science leadership, and sci­ ence teachers – to highlight the challenges and opportunities we have faced in this process.We hope that in doing so, we might shed light on certain intricacies of this effort to advance climate education at the secondary level that may help others with similar efforts, both now and in the future.

The view from science education research and development The science education research and development team includes science educa­ tion faculty (Forbes), postdoctoral researcher (Bhattacharya), and a graduate stu­ dent (Carroll Steward). Our role in the project thus far, other than overall project coordination, has been to lead curriculum development, education research, and professional development. In describing our efforts, we emphasize the critical role of Design-Based Implementation Research (DBIR; Collins et al., 2004) in the overall organization and implementation of the project. DBIR is an educational research method where development and research are conducted concurrently, iteratively, and longitudinally through collaboration between practitioners, participants, and researchers. Rather than viewing research as a form of external evaluation of pro­ ject activities, empirical processes and results are vetted and used in iterative cycles

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to directly inform other domains of project work. In the description that follows we explain the challenges integral to the CliMES project and how the use of DBIRguided curriculum development and assessment of CliMES learning outcomes. First, the focus of the project evolved naturally out of a synergistic alignment between district needs and research and development interests. LPS was begin­ ning a process to revise its ninth grade geoscience course in anticipation of new state science standards that emphasized teaching of GCC. Forbes and Chandler had been collaborating on a climate education project proposal that embraced the idea of making realistic climate modeling tools available to teachers and students. This context provided a natural partnership underlying the CliMES project. There are two critical ingredients in this collaborative context. NGSS, with its new emphasis on climate education, has opened the door for directly addressing anthropogenic change in Earth’s climate system through disciplinary core concepts. Equally as important, the NGSS emphasis on the science and engineering practice of mod­ eling at the secondary level has facilitated our focus on the use of global climate models and epistemic dimensions of climate science using a suite of web-based tools designed for this purpose (EzGCM). Influence from NGSS is also felt strongly in our recently adopted state science standards (approved in 2017), which support teaching and learning of these concepts and practices. Additionally, the semesterlong ninth grade geoscience course at LPS is a relative rarity in the United States, where Earth science is not typically required or may not even be offered at the high school level. All of these factors, which are larger-scale, systemic features largely beyond the control of our immediate project, have had a significant role in making the CliMES project possible. Second, developing a new curriculum and the associated resources from the ground up is difficult, even with an array of design heuristics and curricular guid­ ance available to the field. One tension revolves around EzGCM itself. Ultimately, EzGCM is a tool (Figure 3.1) with which students can develop a more robust understanding of Earth’s climate system and, in particular, how climate scientists use global climate models to make claims about GCC. However, we have found that significant time must be devoted to learning to use EzGCM itself, leaving relatively less time in the curriculum module for students to use it to answer pressing ques­ tions and model specific climate-related scenarios. This is a question of efficiency in broader curricular and course contexts where instructional time is at a premium. We have also found relatively little guidance in the literature for strategies and approaches to foregrounding epistemic dimensions of scientific modeling.While a critical component of theoretical perspectives on model-based teaching and learn­ ing, there are few concrete examples or strategies for shifting students’ attunement to the how of models and modeling.This leaves teams such as ours in the position of not only developing curricular and instructional approaches for engaging students in these epistemic dimensions of scientific modeling, but also developing ways to measure and assess them.While relatively straightforward to measure students’ con­ ceptual understanding and collect observational data of instruction and curriculum implementation, it is much more difficult to design and use student tasks as data


EzGCM Run Simulations Screenshot


EzGCM Post-Processing Screenshot

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EzGCM Visualizations Map Screenshot

that reflect a robust theoretical conceptualization of the epistemology of modeling. As a project team, and particularly our research and development team, we con­ tinue to wrestle with these challenges as we move into the next phase of the project. Third, the use of DBIR afforded an approach to continual improvement of the CliMES curriculum and intervention through collaboration with all stake­ holders. From its onset, the project has involved regular, day-long work sessions with contributions from all project participants. Teachers, district leaders, the cli­ mate scientist, and our research and development team have worked together to navigate national and state standards, informally explore the utility of EzGCM, develop curriculum materials and research instruments, implement the curricu­ lum and collect evidence of teaching and learning, analyze this data to understand both teachers’ and students’ experiences, and modify the curriculum accordingly based on these findings. Through classroom-based research, in which our team members are present in teachers’ classrooms nearly every day during the imple­ mentation period, we have sought to document affordances and constraints of the CliMES intervention for both teachers and students. In this way, DBIR ensures that the voices of teachers, students, and researchers are considered equally during the research and development process. Thus far, we have been through two cycles of

34 Cory Forbes, et al.

curriculum implementation and revision and are anticipating a third set of revisions in 2020. From our perspective, this approach has led to a more robust curriculum, an improved version of EzGCM, and has been a productive experience for all collaborators. Fourth, as part of the DBIR experience, we have found our role as brokers between other team partners to be particularly important in advancing project goals. While each collaborative partner brings essential expertise to the project, there are times when partners do not communicate using the same language and do not operate from the same set of assumptions and/or experiences.This is to be expected from a diverse array of voices, and it presents an opportunity for individ­ ual and collective growth and helps codify the collaborative nature of the work by establishing a shared discourse. One example of this brokerage was observed while teaching about our core phenomenon in context – “the global increase in average surface temperatures.” Describing the statistical processes involved in assessing the temperature trends was initially deemed critical for students to understand how sci­ entists separate trends from background noise. However, when enacted during the pilot implementation, this level of instruction was time-consuming and conceptu­ ally challenging for ninth grade students. Realizing that this procedural knowledge was still critical for students to validate climate data, the teachers and scientists together refined this idea, separated it from the climate content, and developed a new lesson that solely focused on data literacy (i.e., what constitutes good data, trends in data, and making estimates using trend lines). Hence, the use of DBIR not only facilitated this ongoing review but also was able to capture the complexity that is inherent to teaching and learning about GCC. Members of the research and development team, while not scientists, school administrators, or teachers, possess a moderate level of expertise with climate-related concepts, the daily work of teach­ ers, and district-level processes that put us in a position to help the broader team more easily navigate the nexus of our work together.We strongly suggest that this is a critical role for any similarly oriented science education project team.

The view from climate science As the climate scientist on the project (Chandler), my primary role has been to provide disciplinary expertise to team endeavors and to support the integra­ tion of EzGCM and other computer-based technologies into the curriculum and instruction. I begin developing EzGCM and its higher education predeces­ sor, EdGCM, two decades ago. Although the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013) have more recently codified a three-dimensional approach to sci­ ence learning and have explicitly emphasized GCC and the use of models in K-12 curricula, the fundamental goals of scientific learning embodied by our project have existed far longer. The National Science Education Standards empha­ sized instructional strategies that employed inquiry teaching and learning so that students would be able to “experience the richness and excitement of knowing about and understanding the natural world,”“use appropriate scientific processes

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and principles in making personal decisions,” and “engage intelligently in pub­ lic discourse and debate about matters of scientific and technological concern” (NRC, 1996). Some significant efforts have since been made to promote climate literacy (US Global Change Research Program, 2009, 2017), but there have also been extensive misinformation campaigns waged simultaneously that have slowed progress toward national climate literacy. Climate scientists have been involved in educational efforts as well, but many (particularly climate modelers) work outside of traditional education settings (e.g., in national labs) and many have focused on the comprehensive international assessments that regularly update the scientific forecasts due to the potential urgency of the climate change situation (IPCC, 2001, 2007, 2013). Notwithstanding the long-term problems that have delayed climate science reaching the classroom, the most practical matter that we are attempting to address with this project is that teachers don’t have access to, or familiarity with, the mod­ eling tools used ubiquitously by scientists to study Earth’s climate and GCC. Of course, complex 3-D global climate models have been overwhelming even the world’s fastest supercomputers for decades as the sophistication of Earth system models has advanced at a rate that even exceeds the rapid advancements seen in computers during the same time frame. The result has been that an area of sci­ ence that impacts almost every human on the planet has become reliant on two scientific fields (climate science and computer modeling) that have evolved at a break-neck pace, creating the unenviable situation where only teams of specialists can operate these models. Consequently, critical data required by governments, businesses, and other stakeholders is being generated using methods that are a black box to most people. This has led to unwarranted skepticism (or even denial) of key scientific findings, which delay decisions and actions that would otherwise greatly help people mitigate or adapt to the types of dangerous climate changes that are already occurring. This lack of familiarity has also engendered apprehension amongst educators, who are understandably cautious about embracing the use of tools and techniques that require training that eats into instructional time. Regard­ less, computer-modeling skills have never been in more demand throughout the science disciplines or within the 21st century workforce in general, and finding ways to deliver such tools to students in a way that effectively addresses multiple key learning standards is paramount. But there are ways that this can be done with far less impact than might be expected. At the outset it’s important to recognize that supporting students to use climate models is itself achieving a learning objective, as long as the methods being learned are authentic to the process actually used by working scientists in the field. However, to minimize the training time in the classroom means that the tools must be both authentic and user-friendly, which requires that the design is at least overseen by scientists knowledgeable about how the research is actually done in the lab and by tool developers who make the tools intuitive across multiple steps. In addition, the tools have to be embedded in a curriculum that contains guidelines to aid teachers in the implementation of an epistemologically-oriented curriculum. Therefore, the

36 Cory Forbes, et al.

tools we are developing must be much more than models with a graphical user interface – in fact, in the authentic research projects we envision, EzGCM will be used for students to not only analyze the results of complex 3-D global climate models, but to do so in a way that ushers them through a significant portion of the scientific process, including: 1) running computer simulations, 2) post-processing model output into meaningful scientific data, 3) learning how to create useful sci­ entific visualizations, and 4) analyzing their self-created maps and plots to improve comprehension of key climate literacy concepts. Our approach with EzGCM in the CliMES project is really one of democratiza­ tion of complex modeling techniques, where advanced tools must be: • • • •

Highly intuitive, to allow students to rapidly begin using the tools while simul­ taneously learning about them Free of jargon, except where the intent of the jargon is to instruct users about key terminology Usable on computing resources available to most schools (something that is also changing rapidly in school districts) Inexpensive or free to allow for broad dissemination and to equally advance teachers and students in resource-strapped districts

Keeping these points in mind, we have sought to produce a curriculum and toolset combination where students conduct projects that organically flow from the initiation of experiments to the final analysis of results. In addition, the climate experiments in EzGCM are actual simulations created by NASA and have been published in some of the most highly respected scientific journals.We also under­ stand that scientific tools billed as “authentic,” but which become disconnected from current events and evolving scientific practice, can undermine the amount of time spent teaching the methods.To avoid this pitfall, our project plans to continue to make new simulations available, particularly those that are used for cutting-edge research and national climate analyses. Instruction and materials that are tied to active high-profile projects at NASA, in the National Science Foundation, and at international organizations such as the United Nations, help students recognize a powerful connection between the real world and their own scientific research in the classroom. At the same time, students begin to experience the excitement of being part of “big data” research that forms the basis of the most pressing science of our times. In general, we think many of the challenges are more than surmountable, and tools like EzGCM are a very good fit for the emerging “connected classroom” (even beyond science classrooms and into the social studies classroom). But there are continuous challenges. One of the best examples has emerged in the last few years where, nearly simultaneously with the release of the NGSS, we’ve seen the deployment of Chromebooks and tablet computers in K-12 school districts. While a boon for many educational practices, they have actually made it more difficult to incorporate a bevy of authentic scientific tools and techniques, at a

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time when such practices are being promoted by the new standards and empha­ sized by researchers and industry alike (Collins and Halverson, 2009).This tension between deployment of limited-CPU devices and scientific tools occurs because authentic scientific computing often requires a level of CPU-intensive computing that inexpensive Chromebooks and tablets cannot provide. Even “the tools that build the tools,” high-level programming languages such as Java, C++, Python, and Fortran, which thrive in desktop/laptop environments (Windows, MacOS, Linux), will not run on most Chromebooks. This is actually a fundamental rea­ son why hardware, such as Chromebooks, is less expensive for school districts – they simply have removed the processing capacity of the computer from the local hardware to the cloud. This, of course, increases costs in both the need for Internet bandwidth, cybersecurity, and, in the case of scientific computing, the expense of paying for cloud-based CPU resources. For many courses that do not require significant CPU-related resources there are free or inexpensive cloudbased solutions (the best examples being Google’s and Microsoft’s suite of tools). However, there is far less availability of similarly inexpensive scientific comput­ ing resources on the cloud.Therefore, although much scientific computing does take superb advantage of the parallelization allowed by the cloud-computing, this type of cloud access is rarely free, and in fact scales with need for CPU cycles; and there are few scientific tools in existence that require more CPU-cycles than climate modeling.

The view from school district administration Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) is committed to helping students become scientifi­ cally literate. As district-level science curriculum lead (Blake), my role has been to ensure alignment between project activities and district priorities, particularly as related to the ninth grade geoscience course. By partnering with UNL and Columbia/NASA on this project, we feel better equipped to reach the goal of science literacy for all students. We are excited to be involved with the development and implementation of a science curriculum module through which students use an innovative computational climate-modeling tool – EzGCM. It is designed to pro­ vide students with rich experiences involving modeling, the science of GCC, and instruction in the processes and practices of science. The sustained effort over multiple years has brought LPS high school geosci­ ence teachers together with the project team to design, test, and refine the module through project evaluation, which has provided teachers with professional develop­ ment and in-class implementation support throughout the project period. In each year of the project, researchers have collected and analyzed evidence of students’ model-based reasoning about climate, including pre-/post- measures of students’ domain-specific content knowledge, curriculum-embedded modeling artifacts, clinical interviews, and video-recorded observations of instruction. Our hope is that the well-developed, research-based curriculum module can be used in LPS and nationwide to support all learners to develop science literacy about Earth’s climate,

38 Cory Forbes, et al.

a critical component of the NGSS and Nebraska State Science Standards. Specifi­ cally, the project will support new standards in geoscience: •

HS-ESS3-5 – Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems. HS-ESS3-6 – Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.

As we look in LPS at what we can currently offer as an opportunity for students to use the Science and Engineering Practice (SEP) of Computational and Mathemati­ cal Thinking, LPS falls short without partnering with UNL and Columbia/NASA on this NSF-funded project.To illustrate, the indicators (bullet points) of this SEP that are difficult to support with the typical curriculum for ninth- to twelfth-grade students are: • •

• •

Create and/or revise a computational model or simulation of a phenomenon, designed device, process, or system. Use mathematical, computational, and/or algorithmic representations of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations. Apply techniques of algebra and functions to represent and solve scientific and engineering problems. Use simple limit cases to test mathematical expressions, computer programs, algorithms, or simulations of a process or system to see if a model “makes sense” by comparing the outcomes with what is known about the real world. Apply ratios, rates, percentages, and unit conversions in the context of compli­ cated measurement problems involving quantities with derived or compound units (such as mg/mL, kg/m3, acre-feet, etc.).

While some of these indicators are within reach, the application of computerbased climate modeling tools to teaching and learning about Earth’s climate is a very novel approach only made possible through the tools provided in the project. By engaging students in computational climate modeling tools to understand cli­ mate science, we can make the claim that they have had opportunities to reach the rigor outlined in this SEP that would not otherwise be within the scope of our ninth- to twelfth-grade program. Therefore, we continue to support teachers in the implementation of curriculum during the research and development phase. In the last year of the project, we anticipate a district-wide professional development workshop for all LPS high school geoscience teachers where the developed cur­ riculum and the climate model will be introduced and available for use throughout the district.

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The view from secondary science teachers A critical aspect of the early stages of this project involved curriculum development and piloting of the curriculum in ninth-grade geosciences classes. As teachers of the ninth-grade geoscience course, we (Johnson, DeGrand, Mason, and Morrow) have worked with the project team to design and implement the EzGCM-based experience for our secondary students. Having access to a thoughtfully written curriculum that we helped shape has been crucial to its success.Through this work, we have found that, first, EzGCM is a useful tool around which to develop the cur­ riculum and engage in instruction about Earth’s climate and GCC.We have found EzGCM to be very helpful in bringing “big data” to our classrooms and an integral component in instruction about GCC. GCC is a complex topic, and the use of this model facilitated an opportunity to teach about data, data analysis, representation, and validity in the context of Earth’s changing climate. Some benefits of students engaging with “big data” were that they were able to think about the phenomenon of average increase in surface temperatures across long scales of time – both past and future. Therefore, students develop an understanding about not only whether average surface temperatures were changing, but also if the change was happening at a particular rate. Additionally, with teacher guidance, students were able to grasp the idea of cause and effect, feedback loops, and cascading effects of changing tem­ peratures on other ecosystem processes. However, one challenge we observed is that EzGCM and the modeling activities can feel disconnected from the social, political, and economic issues that are relevant to the students. Therefore, the curriculum needs to incorporate stories and issues about how Earth’s changing climate impacts them and their day-to-day experiences.Without this element, students themselves may not be able to take ownership and think about their individual role in this global phenomenon (e.g., “Why should I care?”). This remains an important area of ongoing work on the curriculum module and the designed experiences for students. Second, students had mixed reactions to working with an interface that was used by NASA scientists. On the one hand, they felt excited and challenged by engaging with the modeling interface. Creating a variety of visualizations of GCC was very meaningful for students as they saw it as an immediate source of feedback from the model. They were motivated by the authenticity of working with real NASA data and a tool that is used similarly by scientists to study GCC. However, learning about Earth’s climate system and GCC through the use of climate models felt timeintensive for students, who are, on average, users of Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube.While students were able to overcome the complexity of using the com­ putational interface, they often want to engage with the model in the fastest possible way to generate outputs. An important learning outcome that we had for students was that they developed an understanding of the nature of climate science. In particu­ lar, we wanted students to grasp that science is not certain, that new data is actively being collected, and that scientific evidence evolves as we learn about this complex

40 Cory Forbes, et al.

phenomenon.We felt that it wasn’t easy to take the science presented by the model and directly integrate it in our teaching because it was very complex for students and required a lot of instructional time to build the competency of all students in learning about using the model first before teachers could teach the science. As a result, comprehending the changes that may happen with Earth’s climate two or three years from now, let alone eight decades from now, was challenging for these students. These observations point to the importance of having adequate avail­ able instructional time for students to first learn how to use EzGCM and then to use it to reason about climate-related concepts.While our geoscience course cur­ riculum supports this through target standards and learning outcomes, the course also emphasizes a variety of Earth science concepts that are not climate-related. So, while this points to the need for a well-developed and efficiently designed curriculum, it also highlights the importance of alignment between curriculum, instruction, and standards. Third, teaching this curriculum and supporting students to use EzGCM is not easy. However, we feel lucky in that each of us has a strong Earth science back­ ground and is fortunate to teach in a district that requires students to take an Earth science course at the high school level. However, we know this is not the norm in our state or nationwide, where students have relatively limited opportunities for learning core geoscience concepts beyond middle school and where very few teachers in our state have Earth and geoscience endorsements.This begs the ques­ tion of where the project-developed, EzGCM-based curriculum module would best fit in the high school curriculum if a similar Earth and geoscience course does not exist.We feel that there are a couple of important ways to address this. Embed­ ding the use of EzGCM-based scenarios in real-world issues that connect to other subjects may be particularly important. For example, students could use EzGCM to investigate the growing impact of pine beetles on pine trees in North America, making a connection to biology. Similar modules could be developed for other subject areas. Also, not all teachers who use EzGCM in their classrooms will ben­ efit from the experience of being part of the project team. For those teachers who do implement EzGCM-based curriculum, there will be a need for instructional support, such as professional development and thoughtfully designed curriculum resources. Given the emphasis NGSS places on both climate-related concepts and the use of models, we feel like these are learning opportunities students must be afforded. It will be critical to continue to explore how and where to best address these high school standards in creative and innovative ways, with EzGCM being one of them. Finally, we want to emphasize that developing students’ understanding about Earth’s climate and GCC is our moral responsibility. Students will very possibly never take another geoscience course again after our class, so it is our last best shot to make an impact on their learning.We all possess a deep desire to help students learn how climate scientists use data as it relates to the past, present, and future of Earth’s climate.We feel strongly that if we don’t teach these concepts and skills, then who will?

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Conclusion Interest in teaching about Earth’s climate system and GCC, along with support from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013), provides a renewed impetus for integrating climate education in formal K-12 science learn­ ing environments. However, the decisions about what to teach, how to teach, and where to integrate GCC are complex and will differ from state to state. Hence, establishing multi-level partnerships between various stakeholders like teachers, scientists, researchers, school district leaders, and curriculum developers is critical for incorporating various perspectives during curriculum design and implemen­ tation. Currently, most information about GCC is taught in Earth science class­ rooms. However, with the relative de-emphasis of Earth science in both teacher education and the K-12 science classrooms (Banilower et al., 2018), finding room in the science curriculum for these NGSS-supported topics will be challenging. Therefore, science educators must continue to find innovative and creative ways to afford students opportunities to learn about Earth’s climate system and GCC wherever in the curriculum these opportunities occur. Our findings so far dem­ onstrate that teachers feel a moral responsibility for teaching about GCC. Hence, ongoing professional development focusing on building teachers’ conceptual and pedagogical knowledge while addressing their moral and ethical concerns about teaching GCC is critical (Drewes, 2018). The project described here (Bhattacha­ rya et al., 2018) provides one example of the kind of collaboration necessary to foster climate literacy in all students. We have observed that students struggle in comprehending changes over vast scales of time and multiple complex pro­ cesses.Traditional practices of teaching these concepts no longer develop in-depth understanding and are unable to address misconceptions about GCC that remain persistent among both students and educators (Visintainer and Linn, 2015; Plutzer et al., 2016;Walsh and McGowan, 2017;You et al., 2017).Therefore, complex sci­ entific issues like GCC that are socially and environmentally relevant require addi­ tional emphasis on content and pedagogy.The use of global climate models is one such approach that helps in making these complex ideas accessible to non-Earth science teachers and educators. By accessing processes and tools used by climate scientists, learners can be effectively engaged in using knowledge specific to the discipline of climate science for investigating the Earth’s climate systems and the phenomenon of GCC. It is therefore imperative that we explore how leveraging the use of models and model-based learning in formal settings impacts climate literacy for all.

Acknowledgements This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1720838 and 1719872 (DRL). Any opinions, findings, and con­ clusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

42 Cory Forbes, et al.

References Andersson, B., & Wallin, A. (2000) ‘Students’ understanding of the greenhouse effect, the societal consequences of reducing CO2 emissions and the problem of ozone layer deple­ tion’, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, vol. 37, no. 10, pp. 1096–1111. Banilower, E. R., Smith, P. S., Malzahn, K. A., Plumley, C. L., Gordon, E. M., & Hayes, M. L. (2018) Report of the 2018 NSSME+. Chapel Hill, NC: Horizon Research. Bhattacharya, D., Carroll Steward, K., Sutter, A., Chandler, M., & Forbes, C. T. (2018) ‘Cli­ mate literacy: Insights from research on K-16 climate education’, Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly, vol.V, no. 4, pp. 26–35. Collins, A., & Halverson, R. (2009) Rethinking education in the age of technology: The digital revolution and the schools. New York, NY:Teachers College Press. Collins,A., Joseph, D., & Bielaczyc, K. (2004) ‘Design research:Theoretical and methodologi­ cal issues’, Journal of the Learning Sciences, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 15–42. Drewes,A. (2018) ‘Personal, professional, political:An exploration of science teacher identity development for teaching climate change’, PhD thesis, University of Delaware, DE. Drewes, A., Henderson, J., & Mouza, C. (2018) ‘Professional development design considera­ tions in climate change education:Teacher enactment and student learning’, International Journal of Science Education, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 67–89. Finley, F. N. (2014) ‘The Anthropocene and the framework for K – 12 science education’, in D. Dalbotten, G. Roehrig, & P. Hamilton (Eds.), Future earth, advancing civic understanding of Anthropocene, pp. 9–17. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. Fortner, R. (2001) ‘Climate change in school: Where does it fit, and how ready are we?’ Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, vol. 6, pp. 18–31. Hestness, E., McDonald, E. R., Breslyn, W., McGinnis, J. R., & Mouza, C. (2014) ‘Science teacher professional development in climate change education informed by the next generation science standards’, Journal of Geoscience Education, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 319–329. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]. (2001) Climate change 2001:The scien­ tific basis: Contribution of working group I to the third assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, J.T. Houghton,Y. Ding, D. J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P. J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K. Maskell, & C. A. Johnson (Eds.). Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press, 881 pp. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]. (2007) Climate change 2007:The physi­ cal science basis: Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovern­ mental panel on climate change, S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K. B. Averyt, M.Tignor, & H. L. Miller (Eds.). Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press, 996pp. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]. (2013) Climate change 2013:The physi­ cal science basis: Contribution of working group I to the fifth assessment report of the intergovern­ mental panel on climate change,T. F. Stocker, D. Qin, G-K. Plattner, M.Tignor, S. K.Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels,Y. Xia,V. Bex and P. M. Midgley (Eds.). Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1535pp. Koulaidis,V., & Christidou,V. (1999) ‘Models of students’ thinking concerning the green­ house effect and its teaching implications’, Science Education, vol. 83, no. 5, pp. 559–576. National Research Council [NRC]. (1996) National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Next Generation Science Standards [NGSS] Lead States. (2013) Next generation science stand­ ards: For states, by states.Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Plutzer, E., McCaffrey, M., Hannah, A. L., Rosenau, J., Berbeco, M., & Reid, A. H. (2016) ‘Climate confusion among U.S. teachers’, Science, vol. 351, no. 6274, pp. 664–665.

Fostering climate literacy


Pruneau, D., Gravel, H., Bourque, W., & Langis, J. (2003) ‘Experimentation with a socio­ constructivist process for climate change education’, Environmental Education Research, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 429–446. Shepardson, D., Niyogi, D., Roychoudhary,A., & Hirsch,A. (2011) ‘Conceptualizing climate change in the context of a climate system: Implications for climate and environmental education’, Environmental Education Research, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 323–352. US Global Change Research Program. (2009) ‘Climate literacy: The essential principles of climate science, a guide for individuals and communities’. Retrieved from: www.climate. gov/teaching/essential-principles-climate-literacy/essential-principles-climate-literacy US Global Change Research Program.(2017)‘The climate science special report:Fourth national climate assessment’, Vol. I. Retrieved from: www.globalchange.gov/browse/reports/ climate-science-special-report-fourth-national-climate-assessment-nca4-volume-i Visintainer,T., & Linn, M. (2015) ‘Sixth-grade students’ progress in understanding the mech­ anisms of global climate change’, Journal of Science Education and Technology, vol. 24, no. 2–3, pp. 287–310. Walsh, E. M., & McGowan,V. C. (2017) ‘Let your data tell a story: Climate change experts and students navigating disciplinary argumentation in the classroom’, International Journal of Science Education, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 20–43. You, H. S., Marshall, J. A., & Delgado, C. (2017) ‘Assessing students’ disciplinary and inter­ disciplinary understanding of global carbon cycling’, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 377–398.


Introduction Our collaborative work with a class of kindergarten students in Austin,Texas over the past two years is part of a larger international research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Climate Action Net­ work: Exploring Climate Change Pedagogies with Children, 2017).This project is a response to the lack of early childhood education that attends to the specific climate change-related challenges that children face in their particular geographic regions. We are collectively examining possibilities for the development of cur­ riculum and pedagogies for young children that are responsive to local environ­ mental issues. In conversation with this international research collaboration, our research questions include the following: How do young children engage creatively to address climate change-related impacts within their own local contexts? What roles do early childhood educators play in working with children to creatively and locally respond to climate-related issues? How might we improve early childhood educators’ engagement so that they focus on supporting children’s participation in creating life-sustaining environmental relations that are informed by interdiscipli­ nary perspectives, including those from the environmental sciences, environmen­ tal humanities, and Indigenous knowledges? How can children’s responses to and understandings of climate change be used to create new pedagogies? Working from the premise that young children are capable of engaging with socio-environmental issues, a key interest is in gaining further insights into children’s relations with their local environments, including responses to climate changerelated issues. Our particular focus is on children’s relations with water. Water is a key matter of concern with respect to the effects of climate change (United States EPA, 2016). In our context of Central Texas, both extreme flooding events and drought are already causing human and more-than-human vulnerabilities. Our

Conversations on climate change pedagogies


focus on water is also part of an interdisciplinary climate change research initiative at the University of Texas at Austin whose aims include foregrounding commu­ nity narratives of climate change including narratives on water-related precarities (Planet Texas 2050, 2018). We are also interested in pedagogical strategies that could be helpful in shift­ ing toward environmental learning that weaves together multiple ways of ways of knowing and relating, including Western science, Indigenous knowledges, and creative approaches. Fikile has been working as a participant-researcher alongside Libby, a kindergarten teacher, and graduate research assistants Marleen Villaneuva and Nnenna Odim, to co-construct pedagogical provocations focused on chil­ dren’s learning. Once a week, we spend time with the children at a creek that borders the suburban school, documenting children’s relations with the more-than­ human world in and alongside the creek.We also document our engagements with different emergent water pedagogies and curriculum (see also Saint-Orens and Nxumalo, 2018; Nxumalo and Villaneuva, in press-a, in press-b for more on this ongoing work). In this particular context, we work with two main understandings of emergent curriculum.The first is that curriculum emerges from paying atten­ tion, in repeated encounters, to children’s relations with the creek, the surrounding land, and its more-than-human inhabitants.The second is that emergent curricu­ lum also refers to curriculum-making that is political, intentional, and emerges from the ethico-onto-epistemological (Barad, 2007) orientations that guide this research-practice collaboration. Working with ethico-onto-epistemological ori­ entations means that we work from the premise that epistemology (knowing), ontology (being/becoming), and ethics are not separate; they are co-constituted (Barad, 2007). Feminist science studies scholar Karen Barad (2012) explains this entanglement of knowing, becoming, and ethics as follows: [K]nowing is a direct material engagement . . . There is not this knowing from a distance. Instead of there being a separation of subject and object, there is an entanglement of subject and object, which is called the “phenomenon.” Objectivity, instead of being about offering an undistorted mirror image of the world, is about accountability to marks on bodies, and responsibility to the entanglement of which we are a part. (p. 52) This matters for our climate change pedagogies because these pedagogies are also an attempt to trouble the theory/practice divide as well as the devaluation and simplification of the work of early childhood educators (Taguchi, 2010; Nxumalo, 2019; Nxumalo and Brown, 2019). In so doing, we understand research and peda­ gogical practices as always already imbued with theories; including theories about who children are and what they should learn. Early childhood education is for us complex work that requires a material engagement with theories and knowl­ edges (Taguchi, 2010; Pacini-Ketchabaw et al., 2014). Put another way, our early childhood research and teaching practices are material and discursive enactments

46 Fikile Nxumalo and Libby Berg

of particular theories, knowledges, values, and ethical commitments (Kuby, 2017; Nxumalo et al., 2018).

Radical relationality as ethico-onto-epistemological orientation An important guiding orientation of this work is the necessity for climate change education for young children that disrupts extractive, human-centered ways of learn­ ing about the more-than-human world. This disruption includes turning toward pedagogies that foreground radical relationality and reciprocity with more-than­ human beings, including water, animals, plants, and land (Kimmerer, 2013; Recollet, 2015; Nxumalo, 2019).We draw our understandings of relationality and its impor­ tance toward generating more livable worlds, from multiply situated Indigenous knowledges that foreground an intrinsic interconnection between humans and more-than-human relatives, and that recognize the agentic sociality of land and waters and their inhabitants (Cajete, 2000;Todd, 2016).Working with an ethos of radical relationality is foundational to this work for two key reasons. First, extrac­ tive and capitalist structuring of relationships with the more-than-human world are deeply implicated in the current era of unprecedented anthropogenic damage and its asymmetrically distributed effects, including across racial and socio-economic demographics as well as disproportionate impacts on the Global South (Vergès, 2017). Put another way, viewing humans as separate from and superior to nature has been instrumental in producing the ecological challenges we now face (Plumwood, 1993, 2002; Kimmerer, 2002). Therefore, learning to respond to these challenges requires a paradigm shift in how we think about ourselves, the environment, and our relationships within it (Gibson et al., 2015; Hird, 2017).This suggests that it is necessary to cultivate radically different ways of relating to the more-than-human world. Here relating is both epistemological and ontological as embodied ways of “becoming-with” more-than-human others. Radical relationality is an ethical ori­ entation that requires reciprocity and obligation between current and future gen­ erations, lands, water, and animal and plant life (Tuck et al., 2014;TallBear, 2016). Importantly, when brought to the context of early childhood education, an ethos of radical relationality unsettles the dominance of child-centered curriculum that is focused on the individual academic development of each child according to universalized norms. Instead the focus is on learning as relational, on what hap­ pens between children and more-than-human beings, where all of these beings are encounters as active participants in children’s meaning-making rather than passive recipients of their “nature” discoveries (Nxumalo, 2019). In this orientation, chil­ dren’s relations within their local environment are seen as always interdependent, relational, and interactive – and include relations of environmental damage and vulnerability. As we discuss further in the chapter, these are challenging pedagogies to enact, but as a key orienting framework for this project, they are seen as an important part of teaching environmental education that is situated in and responsive to children’s

Conversations on climate change pedagogies


uneven inheritances of human and more-than-human vulnerabilities caused by climate change and its related impacts.An orientation toward radical relationality is also to signal that Western science, while important, is inadequate to the immense task of teaching young children about the ethical obligations of learning to live in relation with ecologically damaged landscapes. Put another way, this project works from the contention that pedagogy is a political project and is therefore always underpinned by a theory of change, whether that theory is made explicit or not (Freire, 1996;Tuck, 2009). Delgado Vintimilla (2019) powerfully expresses the political intentions of pedagogy that are resonant with this project in stating: Pedagogy is always interrogating (and responding to) the conditions of our time and its status quo. It does this at the same time it poses the question, “What kind of human might we need to consider to respond to the condi­ tions of our times?” Pedagogy asks this question because pedagogy is not only interested in teaching and learning. It is also interested in what conditions are enabled through particular educational processes and curriculum making. What idea of the human do they enable? What subject formations are legiti­ mized and delegitimized? What relational logics do they enact? (para. 7) In this project then, ethical and political choices have been made to work with the challenging task of trying out pedagogies that are intended to create movement toward children’s subjectivities that enact relational, caring, and reciprocal ways of knowing and becoming-with rather than those that reinforce human-centered and extractive relations. Such pedagogies also aim to trouble the view of outdoor places as passive sites of children’s academic and physical development (Nxumalo, 2019). An ethos of relationality also includes working with the fraught relations between children and anthropogenic landscapes and the things therein, such as the discarded waste at the creek that has emerged as a recurring focus of attention for teachers and children. This ethos also does not see children as innocent participants in the damaged more-than-human worlds that they co-inhabit.

Refiguring presences in climate change education The project’s guiding orientations also include refiguring Indigenous presences through pedagogies that foreground Indigenous land, life, relations, and knowledges in the spaces and places that young children are learning. As a political orienta­ tion, such pedagogies refuse the relegation of Indigenous peoples to the spectral past (Simpson, 2011; Nxumalo, 2019).“Refiguring presences” is conceptualized as follows: I draw inspiration from Anishinaabe scholar Leanne Simpson’s . . . call for presencing as anti-colonial acts that resist the erasures of Indigenous presences from settler colonial places and politicize engagements with place. I use the

48 Fikile Nxumalo and Libby Berg

concept refiguring to emphasize orientations to research that re-animate, re­ think and relate differently to absent presences in everyday place encounters, and that resist the normative practices and taken-for-granted understandings therein. (Nxumalo, 2019, p. 39, emphasis in original) Refiguring presences (Nxumalo, 2016, 2019; Nxumalo and Cedillo, 2017) is an important pedagogical orientation for our engagements with climate change educa­ tion because it is an intentional resistance to dominant discourses of the Anthropo­ cene, the name given to the current epoch as one of unprecedented human-caused environmental change (Steffen et al. 2007).These discourses include the universal­ izing of human-caused effects on the planet, without careful situated attention to Indigenous people’s place relations and the pedagogical possibilities they offer for responding to climate change with young children. As we discuss, a key pedagogi­ cal tactic of refiguring presences is the use of situated place stories that are aimed at interrupting the absent presences imposed by settler colonialism in pedagogical encounters with outdoor places on stolen Indigenous lands and on lands marked by long histories of extractive racial capitalism, to the detriment of historically margin­ alized communities (Nxumalo, 2019). Resisting dominant Anthropocene discourses in climate change education then means not shying away from engaging with issues of social justice and equity, including the reality of unequal responsibility for and vulnerability to climate change and related events thereof. Another pedagogical tactic is to bring forward to children the Indigenous ontologies that recognize the vibrancy and agency of lands and waters, disrupting extractive relations with nature as a mute background for young children’s discoveries and meaning-making (Bang and Marin, 2015; Nxumalo, 2015, 2019). This is an important interruption of Anthropocene discourses that are implicated in “subsuming or suturing over the ways in which Indigenous ways-of-knowing-in-being have been thinking and practicing co-constitutive relations to other than and more-than-human worlds since time immemorial” (Higgins and Madden, 2019, p. 295). Refiguring pres­ ences also aims to counter the dominance of Western science in learning about cli­ mate change. In this project, Indigenous place stories and arts-based practices have emerged as important pedagogical and curricular provocations for climate change education. This is not to say that we have not engaged with Western science, but rather that we are engaging in multiple ways of knowing aimed at opening up what counts as important in learning with and about climate change in young children’s everyday worlds. For the remainder of this chapter we engage in a dialogue about both the pedagogical challenges and potential of this work. Fikile:

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the recent activisms of youth around the world in bringing attention to the urgency of the need to respond to climate change. I was just wondering if you could share your thoughts on this in relation to the work we have been doing with the kindergar­ ten children in your class. I’m thinking in particular about the ways that

Conversations on climate change pedagogies






younger children’s perspectives on climate change are important and are also worthy of attention and response. I think often children’s ideas on topics such as climate change are dis­ missed, or these topics are avoided altogether because there is the notion that young children are not capable of understanding or having any knowledge on what is happening. Also, their voices are not important because they are “too young.” However, we have seen in our encounters with the creek how the children speak so powerfully about their con­ cerns about the environment – for example, in our particular case their attention to what happens at the creek after heavy rainfalls and the con­ nections they make to heavy flooding events in Austin and other places in Texas.That has been really inspiring to me as an educator and I think counters the idea that these children are too young to have an active voice in “big” issues. I think also part of that attitude comes from the sense that it’s such a vast problem that these minor activisms don’t matter. You already touched on how our water pedagogies at the creek have been very much entangled with the constant presence of discarded waste. I wondered if there’s been anything else in this waste-climate-water inquiry with kindergarteners that’s been surprising or inspirational to you in relation to their understandings, or responses, or interpretations of environmental issues? The children are constantly guiding me to shift my perspectives. For example, when we first started our creek encounters, I felt a strong urgency to clear the waste both because of my concern for the health of the creek and because of issues of safety for the children with some of the discarded items.We did several cleanups where we would collect the waste and separate out what could be recycled. One of the children said that the items that we put in the waste were just going to end up back in the earth and asked why we were removing it just to put it in a landfill. So many interesting dialogues amongst the children on discarding and the flows of waste followed.This is just one example of the ways that the children have brought disruptive attention to the large amount of waste that heavy rains continually bring to the creek; in this case that the waste is a constant presence in our creek encounters and that we should be questioning the notion that the “problem” of waste can be simply fixed by our individual efforts at cleanup. It is so interesting that the children are expressing in their own way, what discard studies scholars are also saying, which is that we need to trouble and complicate the dominance of “out of sight-out of mind” approaches to waste management. Their critiques include underlining that such approaches deflect attention away from the bigger problem of capitalist driven proliferative consumption and the fact that much of this waste never really goes away.The work of Alex Zahara and Myra Hird (2015) is one example that comes to mind. I think then that these profound

50 Fikile Nxumalo and Libby Berg






conversations by the children on waste flows provide support for the contention that early childhood education is a relevant and important place to begin investigating possibilities for local waste relations that make waste management practices more visible and subject to interrogation. Yes, and also this close noticing of waste by the children has generated so many interesting theories from them including theories about where the waste is coming from and what its effects are on the water, deer, crawfish, trees, and other more-than-human life in and around the creek. We’ve seen the children come up with creative ways to bring attention to this issue within the community. There have also been several conversations about and experimentations in engaging with the waste in creative ways. So, all of this has unsettled my need to clear the waste; instead I am sitting still with the children as they are encountering this particular issue. Thinking with the focus of the book that our conversation will appear in, which is climate change education in the United States, I was wondering, coming from our context in Texas, what are some of the ways you see climate change addressed in the TEKS for kindergarten (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), which are the state standards for public schools from kindergarten—for instance, in the standards or in any kind of learn­ ing documents that you would have to draw on in your teaching. The standards that come from TEKS in relation to approaches that deal with current environmental issues are quite limited. For instance, there is no inclusion of current environmental teachings in the Texas state stand­ ards for science until grade 3, and even there it speaks simplistically to ideas such as “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” I would like to see curricular invitations to children to actively participate in the natural world and actively engage in dialogues on topics such as climate change and pollu­ tion. I would like to see movement beyond a focus on individual respon­ sibility such as the current focus on conservation and recycling choices. Socio-cultural aspects of environmental issues are missing and there is an implication that children are “too young” to have voice. As you know, one of the purposes of our project has been to gain insight into children’s relations with their local environments. I wonder if there are particular things that have stood out for you in paying attention to these relations. One thing is the way in which children seem to be attuned to the liveli­ ness of both the water and plant species. I’ve been noticing and doc­ umenting these encounters. For instance, I have documented amazing moments where children were whispering secrets to each other because the “trees are listening.” Also, there have been several moments where children actually speak to the trees and even to the waste that flows into the creek area. I found this really interesting, since this connects to the relationality focus of the project. I think this speaks to what has been so inspiring about being at the creek with the children; that they have such

Conversations on climate change pedagogies




an open and broader perspective on non-human life. In some ways more than I do as an adult with mostly pre-set perspectives on things. It’s also interesting that their relations also connect to the Coahuiltecan Indig­ enous teachings about and with water that Marleen [Pame co-researcher and educator] brought to the children, such as the water as relative, water as spirit; water as life (see Nxumalo and Villaneuva, in press-a; in press-b). The connection that you just made with the relational Coahuiltecan water teachings that Marleen brought to the children is a great way to shift to discussing more explicitly the idea of radical relationally as an ethical, ontological, and epistemological orientation of our work together with the children. It definitely is connected to what you just mentioned in relation to taking seriously the liveliness of the more-than-human world. So the work with Marleen in her bringing situated Coahuiltecan water stories and water songs to the children and in her teaching the children how to honor water – these are examples of enactments of radi­ cal relationally that bring a markedly different way of “knowing” water and relating to water, than say our water-testing inquiries, which are also important. So part of this ethos of radical relationality has been to think together, guided by Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies of water relationality, about how we have mutual responsibility – so it’s not about what water does for us and the more-than-human world but also what we can do for water. I think this unsettles in a small way perhaps, the human­ centeredness of climate change discourses. I wondered if you could share more about how you saw this actualized or not in the everyday creek encounters with the children. So, more on your thoughts on radical rela­ tionality as climate change pedagogy and curriculum-making. I love what Marleen shared and especially when she taught the children about asking the creek waters for permission. I think is a really beauti­ ful example of radical relationality, and it started a new practice for us with the children, which was a big shift and something we’d never done before. The children also created wonderful drawings where many of them depicted the water as alive, smiling because of the water songs that they had sung to it. I also am now more aware of the language that I use – catching myself with language such as “our creek” – I have to take pause. Nnenna [graduate research assistant] and I said it just the other day and as we each caught ourselves, we asked the children,“Does the creek belong to us?”And the children all agreed,“No.”When we asked who it belongs to, some said, “Mother Earth,” others talked about the animals and plant species that share the creek. It reminded me of a quote by Robin Wall Kimmerer (2013) that says, “Our lands were where our responsibility to the world was enacted, sacred ground. It belonged to itself; it was a gift not a commodity, so it could never be bought or sold” (p. 17). Like Mar­ leen, Robin Wall Kimmerer also teaches the importance of asking for permission and then listening. So this is something we’ve tried to keep

52 Fikile Nxumalo and Libby Berg


going with the children, including questioning the idea of ownership, which often comes up (for example) with sticks that some want to bring home or into the schoolhouse; and some of the children often articulate this in different ways, for instance saying that the sticks belong to the forest. Yes, and those examples – while they are minor and seemingly mun­ dane – from my perspective, are necessary and profound shifts that are a needed part of climate change education; teaching and learning how to live in non-extractive relations with the more-than-human world and trying out pedagogies that shift attention from human-centered way of relating. These are such hard pedagogical shifts to make. I want to turn again to my dear colleague Cristina Delgado Vintimilla (2019) and fellow pedagogist, who I think speaks to this difficulty while underlining the necessity of ethical, political, and intentional pedagogy in early child­ hood education – our approaches to climate change pedagogies are never neutral: Pedagogical thought lives within the tension between theory and practice, between what happens and the reflection on what hap­ pened. I find that one of the key pedagogical struggles is how not to identify pedagogical thought with only theory or practice. Ped­ agogy attends to and locates this tension in situated and contextual ways (in the everyday). Pedagogy is not interested in universalisms or objectivist views of knowledge creation. (para. 4)


So, I think we’ve already implicitly discussed refiguring presences in talk­ ing about our work with Marleen, who worked with us to bring situated Indigenous knowledges to our curriculum-making at the creek. In dis­ cussing this further, for me climate change education also means inten­ tional pedagogical attunement toward presencing Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies; not only as a way of troubling colonial erasures that would relegate Indigenous peoples and knowledges to the past, but also because as I just alluded, I think that Western science is not enough and does little to teach us about living in good relations with more-than­ human world; including the damaged waterways and landscapes in which the children are unevenly situated. I’d be interested in more of your per­ spectives on refiguring presences as a pedagogical orientation for our work together. Euro-Western cultures predominantly operate within a dominant social paradigm, that [certain] humans are superior, and the earth will pro­ vide unlimited resources for them.Whether individuals actually hold this belief or unknowingly participate within the consumer-driven neolib­ eral world, I believe a paradigm shift is needed in how we understand, communicate, and live with the more-than-human world. I believe

Conversations on climate change pedagogies




bringing forth other kinds of relationships to these dominant ways of knowing through intentional pedagogies, such as refiguring presences, is one important response to current times. It has been really amazing to engage with these perspectives in practice with the children, especially in our work with Marleen on Coahuiltecan water stories and relations. Children often recall the stories and knowledges that she has shared, relating it to our encounters at the creek. I’ve been thinking about that lately as well in terms of how to work respectfully with these knowledges and practices on an ongoing basis both inside and outside the classroom. Often in classrooms it seems there is a relegation of Indigenous knowl­ edges to the past. Yes, and it is hard work to resist this erasure, and there is not one way to go about doing this work. For example, at my other research site, which is at an Indigenous summer camp, part of what refiguring presences looks like in this context is that we are working with Coahuiltecan elders and an artist to do digital storytelling with the children that is focused on their relational and pedagogical experiences during the camp with ajehuac yana (Spring Lake in San Marcos) alongside Coahuiltecan water pedagogies. For me, these water stories, which are a form of situated decolonizing pedagogies, are also a form of climate change education. I also think that speculative storytelling about possible climate futures with the children is also an important in climate change education. For example, I’ve recently written with my colleague Kihana Ross about speculative fictions as a way to disrupt the erasure of Black land relationships and Black child­ hoods from dominant environmental education paradigms (Nxumalo and ross, 2019). So still keeping with the importance of creative literacies in climate change education, this was present in the storytelling we have done with the children. For example, when we shared the book The Water Walker (Robertson, 2017), which tells the real-life story of the late Jose­ phine Mandamin, an Ojibwe elder who walked around the Great Lakes and the banks of several other rivers and lakes to bring attention to the need for the protection of water for all life, including future generations. The children drew wonderful speculative images in response to this book that spoke to the liveliness and vulnerability of water, but also to hopeful futures of living relationally, rather than extractively with water. I also see these intentional multi-modal literacy practices as a form of refiguring presences; in making intentional choices to bring contemporary Indige­ nous stories of water relations to children and in inviting them to respond in creative ways. Yes, The Water Walker book is a great example of storytelling that high­ lights ecological teachings from Indigenous elders. I think it particularly resonated with the children because it is a true story of a journey to bring awareness and change to the water relations, shared in a beautiful way. It is an amazing life story that gives power to female voices. Our discussions

54 Fikile Nxumalo and Libby Berg




included the meanings and roles of an elder, the meanings and effects of making offerings to water, and the current human-caused damage to waterways such as the creek where we spend time each week. In my teaching experience, sharing children’s books such as The Water Walker sets a powerful stage for further in-depth discussions with young people about environmental issues. A question that I find helpful as I reflect on these critical literacy pedagogies is how can children learn with the sto­ ries to consider ways to approach futures differently? I wonder if you can speak to what you see as some of the challenges of doing this work in engaging with water pedagogies that are different from the ways in which water is engaged in early childhood classrooms, as primarily an object of scientific knowledge or as tool for children’s physical development.There is also this very instrumentalist and humancentered approach to water conservation that is so common in books about water targeted to young children. I agree that water conservation and use tends to be commonly approached as human-centered which relates to the idea of a dominant social paradigm that I mentioned before. These ideas and perceptions often follow, perhaps subconsciously, children and educators into the classrooms that hold power in our lessons and conversations about water. Additionally, as you stated, there are few children’s books that invite a learning of the shared use and respect of water through a more-than­ human approach. For example, when we were following inquiries and further discussions of flooding after several heavy rainfalls in our area, I looked for children’s books to supplement our conversations and build on scientific knowledge of rain, flooding events, and water movements. Each book I found told of the experiences from a human-centered approach and, although this didn’t adequately represent our encounters, I shared some in the classroom. However, I noticed after engaging with these books, the journal entries by the children mirrored the approaches described in the books. I feel grateful for our experiences at the creek to observe and entangle ourselves in messy co-existence with the water, waste, and the many plant and animal species that share the space. I also find appreciation in my own growth as an educator through these expe­ riences with the children. Although I pride myself in being a mindful individual in my actions and words, I was educated in a system that did not allow for the same openness for engagement and learning with the more-than-human world. One interesting aspect of working on climate change education is the potential to approach this area from multiple cross-disciplinary perspec­ tives, as it is an inherently interdisciplinary issue that extends beyond Western science (Busch et al., 2018). I wondered if you could say more about working in an interdisciplinary way in climate education with young children.

Conversations on climate change pedagogies




I think what helps is that we work with inspiration from the Reggio Emilia approach, which has a strong focus on working in inquiry-based ways that take seriously the interests and curiosities of the children. So, as we are working with an inquiry, where alongside teacher’s questions and children’s interests, it becomes a larger inquiry where the ideas build into an ongoing project that incorporates several subjects of learning. So, for example, our inquiries on the waste and pollution at the creek have incorporated climate and environmental education that engages multimodal literacies, math, scientific investigations, engineering (designing a “trash trap”), art, and Indigenous knowledges on water relations. With the example of the trash trap, we discussed ideas of how the waste was arriving at the creek, which children journaled [about]. Build­ ing from this, we then investigated the children’s theories of waste and water flows.The children collectively decided to design and make a trash trap, a structure made of wire and filled with waste collected from the creek.They placed it near the road, where it would be visible to the com­ munity.This investigation was a wonderful way of disrupting out-of-sight approaches to waste management (Zahara and Hird, 2015). Children are now in the process of using some of the items from the trash trap to create an art installation – the children want to create a “trash tree” to represent creek area and the waste they encounter there. Thank you Libby. I think our discussion has illustrated the generative potential of interdisciplinary approaches to climate change education, where in this particular place,Western science, Indigenous knowledges, and multimodal literacies, design thinking, and more have not been separated in our pedagogical encounters. Instead they have come together to bear in how children relate to and learn “with” the creek, including with regards to climate change-related flooding events, plants, animals, and waste.

Concluding perspectives In these dialogues, we have engaged with some of the potentials and challenges that have emerged from our collaborative work.We have focused on our ongoing efforts to put to work interdisciplinary and de-colonial climate change pedagogies with young children, with a particular focus on water relations. This is situated work that has emerged within the material and social conditions in the particular place of an urban creek in Austin, Texas. These conditions include unevenly dis­ tributed inheritances of environmental precarity and settler colonialism, including their entanglements with anti-blackness. We are therefore not offering this work as a prescriptive approach to be followed in other settings.We do however offer it as an illustration of what we have come to see as an imperative in climate change education. This imperative is the necessity of an intrinsic interdisciplinarity that places Western science into conversation with ethico-onto-epistemological orien­ tations, which are better positioned to engage difficult questions surrounding life

56 Fikile Nxumalo and Libby Berg

in current environmentally challenging times.These questions require pedagogical and curricular engagements with what it might look like to (re)imagine and enact more relational, less human-centered practices that are committed to Black and Indigenous futures.

References Bang, M., & Marin, A. (2015) ‘Nature – culture constructs in science learning: Human/ non-human agency and intentionality’, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 530–544. Barad, K. (2007) Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Barad, K. (2012) ‘Matter feels, converses, suffers, desires, yearns and remembers’, in R. Dol­ phijn & I. van der Tuin (Eds.), New materialism: Interviews & cartographies, pp. 48–70. Ann Arbor, MI: Open Humanities Press. Busch, K. C., Henderson, J. A., & Stevenson, K. T. (2018) ‘Broadening epistemologies and methodologies in climate change education research’, Environmental Education Research, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 955–971. Cajete, G. (2000) Native science: Natural laws of interdependence. Santa Fe, NM: Clear Light Publishers. Climate Action Network. (2017) ‘Exploring climate change pedagogies with children’, SSHRC Partnership Development Grant. Delgado Vintimilla, C. (2019) ‘What is pedagogy?’ March 26. Retrieved from: https:// ceeycc-cepege.ca/provincial-en/2019/03/26/what-is-pedagogy/ Freire, P. (1996) Pedagogy of the oppressed, trans. M. B. Ramos. New York, NY: Penguin. Gibson, K., Rose, D. B., & Fincher, R. (Eds.) (2015) Manifesto for living in the Anthropocene. Goleta, CA: Punctum. Higgins, M., & Madden, B. (2019) ‘Refiguring presences in Kichwa-Lamista territories: Natural-cultural (re)storying with Indigenous place’, in C. Taylor & A. Bayley (Eds.), Posthumanism and higher education: Reimagining pedagogy, practice and research, pp. 293–312. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Hird, M. J. (2017) ‘Waste, environmental politics and dis/engaged publics’, Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 34, no. 2–3, pp. 187–209. Kimmerer, R. W. (2002) ‘Weaving traditional ecological knowledge into biological educa­ tion:A call to action’, BioScience, vol. 52, no. 5, pp. 432–438. Kimmerer, R.W. (2013) Braiding sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teach­ ing of plants. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions. Kuby, C. R. (2017) ‘Why a paradigm shift of “more than human ontologies” is needed: Putting to work poststructural and posthuman theories in writers’ studio’, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, vol. 30, no. 9, pp. 877–896. Nxumalo, F. (2015) ‘Forest stories: Restorying encounters with “natural” places in early childhood education’, in V. Pacini-Ketchabaw & A. Taylor (Eds.), Unsettling the colonial places and spaces of early childhood education, pp. 21–42. New York, NY: Routledge. Nxumalo, F. (2016) ‘Towards ‘refiguring presences’ as an anti-colonial orientation to research in early childhood studies’, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, vol. 29, no. 5, pp. 640–654. Nxumalo, F. (2019) Decolonizing place in early childhood education. New York, NY: Routledge. Nxumalo, F., & Brown, C. P. (Eds.) (2019) Disrupting and countering deficits in early childhood education. New York, NY: Routledge Education.

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Nxumalo, F., & Cedillo, S. (2017) ‘Decolonizing “place” in early childhood studies:Thinking with Indigenous onto-epistemologies and Black feminist geographies’, Global Studies of Childhood, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 99–112. Nxumalo, F., Delgado, C., & Nelson, N. (2018) ‘Pedagogical gatherings in early childhood education: Mapping interferences in emergent curriculum’, Curriculum Inquiry, vol. 48, no. 4, pp. 433–453. Nxumalo, F., & Ross, K. M. (2019) ‘Envisioning Black space in environmental education for young children’, Race, Ethnicity & Education, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 502–524. Nxumalo, F., & Villaneuva, M. (in press-a) ‘Listening to water: Situated dialogues between Black, indigenous & Black-indigenous feminisms’, Invited peer reviewed book chapter in J. Ulmer & C. Taylor (Eds.), Transdisciplinary feminist research practices. New York, NY: Routledge Education. Nxumalo, F., & Villaneuva, M. (in press-b) ‘(Re)storying water: Decolonial pedagogies of relational affect with young children’, International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education. Pacini-Ketchabaw,V., Nxumalo, F., Kocher, L., Elliot, E., & Sanchez,A. (2014) Journeys: Recon­ ceptualizing early childhood practices through pedagogical narration.Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press. Planet Texas 2050. (2018) ‘Planet Texas 2050’. Retrieved from: https://bridgingbarriers. utexas.edu/planet-texas-2050/ Plumwood,V. (1993) Feminism and the mastery of nature. London, England: Routledge. Plumwood,V. (2002) Environmental culture. London, England: Routledge. Recollet, K. (2015) Glyphing decolonial love through urban flash mobbing and walking with our sisters. Curriculum Inquiry, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 129–145. Robertson, J. (2017) The water walker.Toronto, Canada: Second Story Press. Saint-Orens, L., & Nxumalo, F. (2018) ‘Engaging with living waters: An inquiry into chil­ dren’s relations with a local Austin creek’, Journal of Childhood Studies, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 68–72. Simpson, L. (2011) Dancing on our turtle’s back: Stories of Nishnaabeg re-creation, resurgence, and a new emergence.Winnipeg, MB:Arbeiter Ring Publishers. Steffen, W., Crutzen, P. J., & McNeill, J. R. (2007) ‘The Anthropocene: Are humans now overwhelming the great forces of nature?’ Ambio, vol. 36, pp. 614–621. Taguchi, H. L. (2010) Going beyond the theory/practice divide in early childhood education: Introduc­ ing an intra-active pedagogy. New York, NY: Routledge. TallBear, K. (2016) ‘Failed settler kinship, truth and reconciliation, and science’. Presentation retrieved from: www.kimtallbear.com/homeblog/category/democratizing%20science Todd, Z. (2016) Relationships. Cultural Anthropology website. Retrieved from: https:// culanth.org/fieldsights/799-relationships Tuck, E. (2009) ‘Suspending damage: A letter to communities’, Harvard Educational Review, vol. 79, no. 3, pp. 409–427. Tuck, E., McKenzie, M., & McCoy, K. (2014) ‘Land education: Indigenous, post-colonial, and decolonizing perspectives on place and environmental education research’, Environ­ mental Education Research, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 1–23. United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]. (2016) ‘Water resources’. Retrieved from: www.epa.gov/learn-issues/learn-about-water Vergès, F. (2017) ‘Racial capitalocene’, in G. T. Johnson & A. Lubin (Eds.), Futures of Black radicalism, pp. 72–82. Brooklyn, NY:Verso Books. Zahara, A., & Hird, M. J. (2015) ‘Inhuman colonialism and unsettling cosmologies’, Environ­ mental Humanities, vol. 7, pp. 169–190.



Building institutional and educator capacity Alana Siegner and Natalie Stapert

Why the humanities classroom? Teaching climate change is an increasingly pressing mandate for K-12 schools, and a practice that is supported by 78% of Americans and 86% of teachers (Marlon et al., 2018; Kamenetz, 2019a). While the academic literature on climate change educa­ tion (CCE) currently comprises examples primarily from science classrooms, there is growing evidence in practice of innovative climate education strategies adopted in humanities classrooms across the country (Harmon, 2017; Siegner and Stapert, 2019).These strategies include climate art projects (Harmon, 2017), reading “cli-fi” (climate fiction) novels (Kamenetz, 2019b), model UN climate negotiations (Climate Generation, 2018), and climate-friendly diet or cooking activities taught in health, nutrition, and/or garden-related classes (Siegner, 2018). Taken together, humanities activities aid in deconstructing a common response cited by teachers for not engaging in CCE:“It’s not related to the subjects I teach” (Ipsos/NPR poll, 2019). Humanities CCE instruction helps illuminate the myriad ways in which climate change is transdisciplinary, spanning all subjects with ample opportunity for teacher engagement. Increasingly, academic scholarship is recognizing and emphasizing that CCE should be holistic and included in cross-curricular projects (see Schreiner et al., 2005; Climate Generation, 2018). But what does that look like in practice? And what advantage does the humanities classroom have in addressing the problem of and solutions to climate change? This chapter takes a research-into-practice approach to exploring these important questions through a case study of the Low­ ell School humanities-focused, climate-change curriculum pilot, launched in the 2017–2018 school year and continued for a second year in 2018–2019. Humanities is the study of the strengths and challenges of human society through literature, art, history, geography, civics, and economics.The term humani­ ties is used at the school of study to refer to the integrated social studies-language

Teaching climate in the humanities


arts curriculum. Applying the humanities framework to climate education builds on recommendations to bring a human face to climate communications via story­ telling, narrative, and community-building processes in order to increase engage­ ment and hope, rather than to provoke negative and detached emotional reactions (Moser, 2007; Nisbet, 2009; Somerville and Hassol, 2011; Wolf and Moser, 2011; Westerhoff and Robinson, 2013). Approaching climate education through social studies and language arts promotes student engagement, climate literacy, and action and highlights the human connection to climate change (Henderson et al., 2017; Climate Generation, 2018). According to a recent review of the climate commu­ nications literature by Susanne Moser, transitioning from awareness and concern into action remains a persistent challenge for the US population as a whole (Moser, 2016). Employing strategies like narrative frames, trusted messengers (e.g., skilled teachers), experiential learning pedagogy, and hands-on projects or site visits are more effective in motivating climate action than solely focusing on retention of climate science information (Nisbet, 2009; Siegner, 2018). The humanities context allows for the full exploration of the anthropogenic nature of climate change, from information to human actors. What conditions in our history, politics, and economies led to the climate changes that people cur­ rently experience? How might these challenges be addressed through current or future social systems, policies, or economic models? The social studies inquiry arc, advanced by the National Council of Social Studies, outlines 21st-century goals for student learning in its document, C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards: Now more than ever, students need the intellectual power to recognize societal problems; ask good questions and develop robust investigations into them; consider possible solutions and consequences; separate evidence-based claims from parochial opinions; and communicate and act upon what they learned.And most importantly, they must possess the capability and commit­ ment to repeat the process as long as is necessary. (National Council of Social Studies, 2017, emphasis added) Humanities studies are central to creating an educated citizenry prepared for lead­ ership in mitigating and reversing climate change. Humanities inherently incorpo­ rates real world contexts, social and political histories, and opportunities for human engagement between students and their surrounding community. Approaching CCE from a purely science educational framework risks overlook­ ing the necessary economic, social, cultural, and behavioral adaptation and mitiga­ tion strategies human societies could adopt. Recognizing this reality after attending a workshop on A People’s Curriculum for the Earth (Bigelow and Swinehart, 2014), the Lowell Middle School curriculum director began working on a plan for a new kind of CCE at Lowell. Lowell’s vision of a humanities-focused climate change curriculum, building up to a middle school-wide focus on climate change, is “truly groundbreaking” in the K-12 education world (NOAA Climate Education Pro­ gram Manager F. Niepold, personal communication, November 2016).

60 Alana Siegner and Natalie Stapert

Lowell school: context and curriculum development process The Lowell School in Washington, D.C. is a small, progressive independent school that promotes active, collaborative learning with curricula that are “integrated across subjects, draw on powerful, relevant content and student interests, and sup­ port the development of internal motivation and a strong voice” (Lowell School website: www.lowellschool.org/). As members of the staff became aware of the education “gap” in addressing climate change, interest in incorporating CCE arose alongside an opportunity to revise the middle school curriculum. The curriculum development process began with the Director of the Middle School planning to revamp the middle school curriculum to focus more on global perspectives. He wanted the middle school experience to serve as a springboard for students to feel empowered to take action on global issues, both in middle school and later in high school (K.Yee, personal communication, May 18, 2018). The curriculum is the result of broad-based collaboration, involving internal as well as external partnerships. The Web of Support around the curriculum project is summarized in Figure 5.1. Each of the supporting elements played a crucial role in enabling the curriculum to come into being and serve as a platform for research, evaluation, and information-sharing. Partnership with outside groups helped make this one-year curriculum devel­ opment turnaround possible, from idea to implementation. There was a sense of

School Admin Academic and government research groups

Key teachers Climate change curriculum

Community organizations

Parent leaders Climate education non-profits


Climate Curriculum Web of Support

[Source: Alana Siegner]

Teaching climate in the humanities


urgency among the school leadership, who believed that climate change represents a crucial issue that the world is facing and therefore schools should waste no time in delivering meaningful instruction on this topic to students. Partnership also ena­ bled curriculum evaluation and dissemination of results: by collaborating with an outside researcher, Lowell staff found co-authorship and presentation opportuni­ ties where both partners are able to play to complementary strengths in terms of uniting the broader research motivations for the curriculum work with a practical understanding of what it takes to get such curricular changes implemented success­ fully in the school context. The curriculum maps onto each trimester, with books, lessons, and topics falling within three themes: 1) energy, 2) movement, and 3) collective action. A growing set of humanities curriculum resources is becoming available through the Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy website (www.climategen.org/ take-action/teach-climate-change/curriculum/humanities-content-for-your­ classroom/). Curriculum resources as well as evaluation data were made available to humanities educators at the first-ever humanities-focused CCE professional development (PD) offering, a three-day summer institute hosted at Lowell School in August 2019.

Year 1: Advancing sixth-grade climate literacy During the first year of curriculum implementation in 2017–2018, the authors of this chapter collected data on student climate literacy and engagement, teacher reac­ tions to the curriculum, and classroom activities. Students completed a 15-question survey comprised of nine content knowledge questions and six attitude/engage­ ment questions, and responses were analyzed in Google Forms (sharable link to form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1G4C3OzV0QETUQU1z8pqruNPXC RxuyWLDUmCWhd1heng/). The survey was also given to fifth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at Lowell for comparison. The sixth-grade teachers and middle school administrators were interviewed in hour-long, semi-structured interviews. The chapter authors recorded notes from ongoing classroom observations and con­ versations with students throughout the year and extracted themes from the inter­ views and observation data. The sixth graders outperformed their fifth- and seventh-grade peers in content knowledge questions and came in equal to their older eighth-grade counterparts (see Table 5.1).They particularly excelled at certain questions related to curriculum

TABLE 5.1 Climate Knowledge by Grade Level

Average % Correct # of students Source: Alana Siegner

5th grade

6th grade

7th grade

8th grade

60.4 30

74.4 36

69.5 27

74.8 23

62 Alana Siegner and Natalie Stapert

activities. For example, one question asked about the global temperature rise limit agreed upon at the UN Conference of the Parties in 2015,“well under 2C” (COP 21, 2015), which related to a mock-UN climate negotiation activity. Sixth graders answered this question correctly more frequently than any other grade. Sixth graders were also able to list unique climate mitigation activities at the same rate as the eighth graders, and sixth was the only grade where someone listed as the most impactful individual climate action: have fewer children (Wynes and Nicholas, 2017).Although the curriculum focused more on energy than other sec­ tors that impact climate, students also listed activities like not cutting down trees, reducing meat consumption, and finding alternatives to tilling the soil as ways to reduce CO2 emissions. On the attitude and engagement questions, the eighth graders had the high­ est levels of concern about climate change and its impacts on future generations, according to the first four questions, which were borrowed from the YPCCC shortened Six Americas Survey (SASSY; Chryst et al., 2018). On the remaining two engagement questions, which asked how often students had looked up information on climate change and talked to friends or family about it in the past year, the sixthgrade students had the highest response rates.This bears significance for hypotheses around the intergenerational learning (IGL) that can occur when climate education experiences are memorable and shared with friends or family (Lawson et al., 2019). This is also a hypothesis-generating observation around the increased communica­ bility of humanities-based CCE. Responses to attitude and engagement questions are summarized in Table 5.2. The students themselves were eager to talk to curious adults about their climate education experiences. Students articulated the difference between climate change and global warming, something they had not previously been able to do, and shared their “Climoji” art projects, based on a Washington Post article (Chiu, 2018) about this new creative form of expressing climate change emotions. When asked what they were hoping to do about climate change based on their newfound knowledge, students responded with ideas such as spreading awareness, creating more things from plant materials (biofuel, degradable plastics, food, etc.), farming in a way that supports the environment, and putting more plants in the ground. Many students seemed to have clear ideas around how to take action and expressed feelings of hope and empowerment when describing their collective “climate solutions.” The teacher and staff interviews revealed key themes such as: middle school student readiness for climate education, positive parental response, importance of external partnerships, need for community action projects, the intent to develop a stronger solutions focus, the potential for increased integration between science and humanities curriculum, and the need for further teacher preparation and profes­ sional development. Parental support forms a key piece of the enabling context for implementing CCE. The conversation has spread throughout the whole school among parents who are aware of what’s going on and who are motivated to keep their students at Lowell because of the new curriculum focus. It is additionally used as a recruitment

Teaching climate in the humanities


TABLE 5.2 Response to Attitude/Engagement Questions by Grade Level

How important is GW * to you personally? (Extremely/Very) How worried are you about GW personally? (Very) How much do you think GW will harm you personally? (A great deal) How much do you think GW will harm future generations? (A great deal) How many times in past year have you looked up info on CC** that you haven’t learned in school in the past year? (Weekly/monthly) How many times in past year have you talked to friends/family about CC in the past year? (Every day/weekly)

5th Grade

6th Grade

7th Grade

8th Grade

























GW = Global Warming CC = Climate Change Climate change is used in the last two questions of the “engagement” survey written by the study team, while the first four questions using the term global warming are borrowed directly from the Yale Six Americas Survey (SASSY).The survey instrument explains the difference in terminology to students so that they are familiar with both terms and how they relate to each other. See Appendix A for original survey instrument. *


tool to attract new families – 2018–2019 sixth-grade recruitment gains are related to the new curriculum, according to staff.This reinforces administrative support to devote the resources and time to continue and improve the curriculum (N. Stapert, personal communication, May 7, 2018). One key growth point identified in several interviews was the need to expand and improve the solutions focus within the curriculum and provide opportunities for students to take meaningful action locally on climate mitigation options. For example, when students read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Kamkwamba and Mealer, 2010), students build windmills in science class and learn about renewable energy technologies. During this focus on renewable energy, they could also do a community action project around solar incentive programs: Maryland has a program for homeowners to put solar on their roofs, and students could advocate for D.C. to adopt a similar program, as the same publicly owned utility service covers both juris­ dictions. Another idea brought up by staff was to change the end-of-year field trip from New York City and go to an island in the Chesapeake Bay threatened with dis­ appearance due to sea level rise, something that has been implemented in Year Two of curriculum implementation.The solutions piece is the most complex to develop, as the content must be laid down first and authentic solutions built on top of that. Regarding specific curriculum content, one teacher reported initial skepticism about the “cli-fi” (climate fiction) novel, Exodus (Bertagna, 2008). He thought it

64 Alana Siegner and Natalie Stapert

might be too much “gloom and doom” and therefore be off-putting to students. However, the students had incredibly positive responses to the novel, chronicling a girl and her family’s flight from their homeland as climate refugees who struggle to start a new life. Students felt catalyzed to take action:“The cli-fi novel was ground­ breaking for me.The kids really enjoyed it. It’s a weird way for doom and gloom to be exposed to them, but yet their reaction is incredibly surprising. I thought they’d turn off, but it almost seems motivating and inspiring them to learn more” (L. Kelly, personal communication, May 18, 2018). The director of the middle school brought up several noteworthy outcomes from the first year not captured in the student climate surveys. From the school’s internal standardized testing, he noticed a dramatic improvement in the sixth grad­ ers’ reading comprehension scores.According to the director: Our kids know how to read and draw inferences from non-fiction texts.You see natural progress year to year, but don’t often see close to such a jump in data year to year. I can’t completely attribute that to new curriculum, I need more data, but it certainly prompts the hypothesis that it might be the curriculum.They are constantly discussing non-fiction texts in Dave’s class this year. It’s building skill in a more meaningful way because they are more engaged. This is something I’ll be tracking closely in the coming years and looking for improvements in writing skills as well in the 7th grade testing cycle. (K.Yee, personal communication, May 18, 2018) He concludes his interview with a call to action to other schools to “be courageous and take risks . . . Why are we denying this? It’s everywhere. [Climate change] needs to be addressed squarely in Middle School curriculum, giving students a chance to apply it in higher grades.” His recommended improvements, for Lowell and elsewhere, include carrying the curriculum theme forward into the later middle school grades, including seventh- and eighth-grade science classrooms, and making climate change a focus for the eighth-grade independent projects. He envisions a capstone “Model UN” simulation in eighth grade that includes climate change as a key theme and seeks to incorporate climate change as a discussion point in all mid­ dle school field trips and projects to constantly build on the sixth grade foundation. Focusing specifically on teacher reactions to the curriculum uncovers a more mixed array of challenges and successes, compared to fairly universal positive responses from the administration. Both sixth grade teachers loved the Boy Who Harnessed the Wind unit, where students read the book in humanities, and then built windmills in science class, which they then presented as part of a “Fossil Fuel Museum” to the kindergarten classrooms.The sixth grade students told the younger students about the time when humans “used to” source energy from fossil fuels, and then spoke about the clean energy future populated by windmills and solar panels. The teachers expressed desire for more opportunities to integrate their lessons with this level of success elsewhere in the curriculum. One teacher in particular expressed challenges with having enough curriculum support material to bring the

Teaching climate in the humanities


climate content to life from the fiction and nonfiction texts, wishing for further guidance on how to facilitate increasingly emotional conversations with students as the year progressed.This teacher also expressed frustration at times with “solutions” activities being out of line with the magnitude of the climate “problem,” which led to students perceiving them as ineffective and inauthentic. Opportunities for authentic climate action and solution engagement remain a point for improvement in subsequent years.

Year 2: Translating engagement into action One of the main goals of the climate education program was to equip students for a variety of climate action steps.As Lowell entered the second year, the curriculum team searched for three to four opportunities for students to take meaningful action on climate in the larger community outside of school.They turned to several part­ ner organizations and initiated relationships with new partners. Some opportunities came about spontaneously, while others were the result of months of planning. The first step outside of the classroom was a small field trip for four students to the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee Meeting on “Climate Change: Impacts and the Need to Act” in February 2019. It was the first congres­ sional climate change hearing in eight years. Despite best efforts to arrive early, students were ushered into the overflow room, where they stood out as the young­ est observers. As students listened to two hours of testimony by the governors of North Carolina and Massachusetts, they began to see social, political, and economic dimensions to the climate issue that they had not recognized before. Another community action step that involved extensive preparation was Lowell’s participation in AAAS Family Science Days.With a great deal of advice and guid­ ance from Jim Callahan at Mobile Climate Science Labs, Lowell students staffed a booth and performed two stage shows for children and families attending the event. A group of eleven sixth- and seventh-grade students spent six to eight hours of class time preparing to present at the event.They covered the booth and performances for a total of 16 hours over the weekend of February 16–17, 2019. Students used long-wave and short-wave infrared cameras to teach the public how certain solids, liquids, and gases trap light/heat, causing the greenhouse effect.They also demon­ strated how these cameras detect light that is invisible to the human eye, helping scientists develop a greater understanding of climatic forces from Earth and space. This event exemplified the ideal of service learning, as students solidified their own understanding of climate science while also serving as public educators at the event. A third opportunity for climate action came through a new connection with Schools for Climate Action (S4CA), a national organization based in California that promotes student and school voice on climate policy. S4CA is a nonpartisan, grassroots, youth-adult campaign that seeks to empower school groups and the education sector to speak up demanding Congressional action on climate change as a generational justice and equity issue.Alana and Natalie (authors of this chapter) connected to the national group in early 2019, after meeting with the founder at a

66 Alana Siegner and Natalie Stapert

coffee shop in Sonoma County, California. Natalie immediately brought the work of the group to the attention of Lowell middle schoolers, who worked to draft and pass their own Student Council Climate Action Resolution. S4CA uses these climate action resolutions to give voice to students, educators, and school officials demanding climate action from political bodies and elected officials. Similar resolu­ tions have been passed in grassroots fashion by school boards and student councils across the US, amplifying the call to action. The head of the Lowell Middle School student council, a politically savvy sixth grader, led the charge on passing a Lowell School resolution. He and several other Lowell students on their spring break week joined forces with the national con­ tingent of S4CA members for a day of action in Congress. On March 28, 2019, the S4CA group hosted a morning panel and press briefing to present the case for climate action for the benefit of all present, which included over one hundred sixth graders from Alice Deal Middle School in Washington, DC, local news reporters, and several members of Congress. The morning briefing was both informational and emotional, as some speakers were visibly frustrated and upset by the lack of Congressional action to date, but hopeful about the presence of so many young people showing up to demand accountability from their elected officials. In the afternoon, the group split up in order to attend small group meetings with their representatives, and hand-deliver a one-page memo to each of the 535 members of Congress summarizing all education sector climate action resolutions to date. The Lowell students met with Maryland Representative Ben Cardin (MD-08) and Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who announced to the group that he had just introduced a Senate bill that morning, which included a carbon fee and dividend provision, moving the needle forward after years of silence in the climate policy arena. Meetings with elected officials can be set upon each Congressional member through their respective website.This type of political and social engage­ ment is increasingly the direction where CCE must go in order to work delib­ erately and expediently toward the large-scale changes that must be made across society in a relatively short amount of time (see IPCC, 2018). The class ended the year with an overnight field trip for the entire sixth grade, designed to help students see the impacts of climate change in the local region. Stu­ dents traveled about one hundred miles south to visit Tangier Island, an island in the Chesapeake Bay facing imminent sea level rise. As students approached the island by boat, they were able to see a section of the island known as “the Uppards,” whose inhabitants have already had to relocate due to extreme weather and sea level rise. While touring the island, students were also able to see an area where the ocean had bisected the island, creating a need for the state to build and renovate two bridges so that islanders can travel from homes on the western side to the town center on the eastern side.They were also honored to meet with Mayor James “Ooker” Eskridge and learn about ongoing attempts to secure a sea wall from state and national offi­ cials to protect and preserve the island’s unique geography, culture, and heritage. The sixth graders took the same climate literacy survey administered in Year One and scored higher than their peers from the previous year. Year Two sixth

Teaching climate in the humanities


graders outperformed previous students on 8 out of the 11 multiple choice and open response questions, and scored an average of 85.8% correct, compared to last year’s 74.4% average. On the engagement questions, the Year Two sixth graders reported that (compared to last year’s students) global warming is more important to them, that they are more worried about it, that they more strongly believe it will harm them personally, and that it will cause more harm to future generations (see Table 5.3).These results suggest a strengthening of climate literacy among students in Year 2 compared to Year 1, and a positive trend of curriculum improvement.

Trends, challenges, and moving forward Trends Through the yearlong, integrated language arts and social studies class on climate change, Lowell students became more aware of both the scientific and social chal­ lenges society is facing.They learned about the many negative impacts of climate change, including sea level rise, wildfires, desertification, famine, loss of fauna and flora, and war and conflict. Students also learned about many positive steps that people are taking to address climate, including commercial and residential cleanenergy initiatives, cap and trade and cap and dividend legislation, micro-loans and technology transfers. Small groups of students took advantage of opportunities to become more involved in climate action, such as meeting with legislators, edu­ cating the public on climate change, and encouraging the school to take steps to reduce its energy consumption. However, more opportunities for the whole grade to take climate action in a consistent and extended way are needed. This could include more diversified local climate solutions such as planting and maintaining a

TABLE 5.3 6th Grade Response to Attitude/Engagement Questions, 2018 vs. 2019

How important is GW * to you personally? (Extremely/ Very) How worried are you about GW personally? (Very) How much do you think GW will harm you personally? (A great deal) How much do you think GW will harm future generations? (A great deal) How many times in past year have you looked up info on CC ** that you haven’t learned in school in the past year? (Daily/Weekly/monthly) How many times in past year have you talked to friends/ family about CC in the past year? (Every day/weekly) GW = Global Warming CC = Climate Change



6th Grade 2018

6th Grade 2019



44.4% 16.7%

64.7% 42.4%







68 Alana Siegner and Natalie Stapert

school garden, advocating for organic food sourcing for school events and cafeteria, and quickly transitioning the school and its families to renewable sources of energy.

Challenges As a result of the first two years of curriculum implementation, Lowell has decided to move away from the integrated humanities model and separate social studies instruction from language arts instruction.When both subjects were integrated, it was a challenge to provide balanced instruction in the social studies and language arts, and more focus and instruction fell within language arts. The separation will provide more consistent, focused instruction in economics, geography, and civics related to climate change. It is important for schools considering either a year­ long or shorter-term climate change curriculum to clearly define when and how climate education will take place – in which subjects/classrooms, in which lessons, and through which messengers – in order to provide optimal opportunities for student engagement, empowerment, and action. It is also crucial to invest in teacher PD across subjects, both before implementing a climate change curriculum, and throughout the curriculum instruction period in order to address questions and concerns as they arise (see Hestness et al., 2014; Drewes et al., 2018 for additional literature on CCE PD strategies). This is perhaps especially important for CCE in the humanities classroom, as social studies and language arts teachers are less likely than science teachers to have a strong background in climate science or cli­ mate change impacts. Moving beyond an intention to integrate climate change into humanities instruction and toward concrete lessons plans accompanied by teacher training, preparation, and buy-in has been a critical transition in the Lowell School CCE experience. Perhaps the greatest challenge Lowell experienced is in the identification and creating of instructional materials. The instructional team found a reasonable selection of novels for middle school students with climate change themes, and an overwhelming array of nonfiction articles and video documentaries from a variety of media outlets. Using these materials to create language arts lessons on instructional objectives around character, theme, main idea, and fact/opinion was relatively straightforward. However, very few materials were available to help mid­ dle schoolers understand the interplay between economics, history, and climate change. While reading lessons effectively increased students’ climate awareness and knowledge, it became clear that there were not enough concrete materials for students to engage meaningfully with the intersection between climate and economics, such as supply and demand, free market economy, and externalities. No lessons were found exploring the impact of early civilizations on climate, despite available research on the impacts of deforestation on atmospheric carbon, and materials on the industrial revolution and labor movements were shockingly silent on environmental impact.The scarcity of these resources and the time nec­ essary to create them heavily impacted teachers’ feelings of efficacy in delivering the program.

Teaching climate in the humanities


To mitigate these challenges, Lowell chose to emphasize guest speakers, inter­ active demonstrations, and field trips in the year-long climate change curriculum focus. Each year, the school has brought in climate science “experts” to relate the school curriculum to bigger picture climate science realities, making local to global connections with students, and to demonstrate innovative climate science “lab” activities. Students have ventured out into the community to investigate climate change impacts in their backyard. These engagement opportunities will continue and ideally scale up in subsequent years.

Moving forward: Implementing in other schools There is a tremendous demand for rigorous, sequential, well-structured climate education content among K-12 schools. Although most schools separate instruc­ tion by discipline, and many people think of climate education as a part of sci­ ence education, the skills for communicating and responding to climate change are effectively taught in language arts and social studies classrooms. Reading, writing, geography, economics, civics, and history are all disciplinary lenses for understand­ ing and addressing climate change within society, and teachers and schools need appropriate, reliable, evaluated curricular material for teaching this topic in multiple subjects. When considering adopting this curriculum as a whole or in parts, there are several pathways for integration into more structured, state-mandated public school subject matter, including varied choice of reading materials in civics classes, sug­ gested options for student independent research projects, and current events classes at the high school level.Three specific opportunities for incorporating climate edu­ cation into social studies classrooms through tweaks to what is already happening, rather than major curriculum overhauls, include: 1) elementary school states and regions studies, where studying the climate of the state or region is already an explicit objective, 2) middle school global geography classes, and 3) high school current events classes. These are opportunities to “lean into the climate change challenges and how people are addressing them in different contexts” (N. Stap­ ert, personal communication, May 7, 2018). The Lowell Middle School Director concurs, adding, “for independent schools this change is very easy. But for public schools, there’s so much you can do with this curriculum too. If you have to teach about government, geography, or history you can use pieces of this [integrated into pre-existing units and curriculum mandates]” (K. Yee, personal communication, May 18, 2018). To address the wider need for rigorous CCE curricula in the humanities class­ room, Lowell School has partnered with Climate Generation in order to provide comprehensive instructional units that teachers can download for free. They also offer a three-day Summer Institute, bringing teachers together to learn content and master CCE skills. Currently, two language arts units are posted for download on Climate Generation’s website (www.climategen.org/our-core-programs/climate­ change-education/curriculum/): instructional guides for A Long Walk to Water by

70 Alana Siegner and Natalie Stapert

Linda Sue Park (2011) and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by Brian Mealer and William Kamkwamba (2010). These units provide comprehension questions and extension activities that teach reading and writing skills like genre, author’s pur­ pose, vocabulary, theme, and character development. Skills are then linked to the climate change relevant content of the texts.Two new social studies units will soon be available for download: Pre-Industrial Climate Change and Individual Choices and Climate Change. In these units, students will learn how humans have been changing the climate for the past 8,000 years through agricultural practices and deforestation and how individual consumers include climate impacts when they weigh the costs and benefits of their economic choices. The Summer Institute provides training and support for teachers and administra­ tors in order to adapt and implement CCE lessons in their social studies and lan­ guage arts classrooms. Activities include the World Climate Simulation created by Climate Interactive, a non-profit climate education organization in Washington, DC, and the Climate Change Mixer and Thingamabob Game created by Rethinking Schools and published in A People’s Curriculum for the Earth (Bigelow and Swinehart, 2014). In the Climate Change Mixer, students are assigned a character from around the world whose life has been affected by climate change or who has contributed to negative climate impacts (e.g., Exxon Mobile CEO).The characters walk around meeting each other and recording conversation notes on a scavenger-hunt style guiding document (e.g.,“Find someone whose water access has been impacted by climate change”). In the Thingamabob Game, students form teams that are manu­ facturing “thingamabobs” and have to decide how many units to produce in a series of rounds in order to maximize profits but keep the negative environmental impacts of production below a certain threshold, illustrating a classic collective action prob­ lem that plagues real-world environmental economists. These engaging activities are a starting point; a great deal more curriculum must be written to capture the climate change issue from a variety of angles for a variety of audiences. Another goal of the Summer Institute is to develop a professional community of climate educators who can work together to generate, test, and disseminate new instructional materials for students of all ages and disciplines. Professional develop­ ment opportunities like this can ideally be scaled into a national climate change education corps of humanities teachers, helping to address the pipeline challenge of teacher preparation that is an obstacle in the Lowell School curriculum case, and else­ where.A “Teach for America” scale approach is needed to respond appropriately and swiftly to the mounting calls for CCE, and a Teach Climate for America movement is well positioned to take root among those who study social movements, such as social studies and languages arts educators.We hope to build in this direction through sharing, improving, and scaling the Lowell humanities curriculum experience.

Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank the staff and teachers at the Lowell School for taking on the curriculum development and implementation challenge and for

Teaching climate in the humanities


participating actively in evaluation efforts. In particular, we would like to thank Dave Levy and Lucas Kelly, sixth grade teachers; Kavan Yee, Middle School Director; and Sarah Smith, Middle School Academic Coach.We would also like to acknowl­ edge the support of Climate Generation staff in creating the curriculum, develop­ ing online lesson modules, and hosting the Summer Institute at Lowell School in Summer 2019. Frank Niepold from the NOAA Climate Education office provided critical advice as well in the curriculum and Summer Institute processes. This chapter is derived in part from an article published in Environmental Education Research (2019), copyright Taylor & Francis, available online: www. tandfonline.com/ https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2019.1607258.

References Bertagna, J. (2008) Exodus. New York, NY:Walker and Company. Bigelow, B., & Swinehart, T. (Eds.) (2014) A people’s curriculum for the earth. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools Ltd. Chiu, A. (2018) ‘Anxious about climate change? There’s a cow-farting-methane emoji for that’, Washington Post, January 30. Retrieved from: www.washingtonpost.com/ news/energy-environment/wp/2018/01/30/anxious-about-climate-change-theres-a­ cow-farting-methane-emoji-for-that/ Chryst, B., Marlon, J., Wang, X., van der Linden, S., Maibach, E., Roser-Renouf, C., & Leiserowitz, A. (2018) ‘Six Americas super-short survey (SASSY!)’, Yale Program on Cli­ mate Change Communications. Retrieved from: https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/ visualizations-data/sassy/ Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy. (2018) ‘Position statement on climate change education in the humanities’, Climate Generation Blog. Retrieved from: www.climategen. org/blog/position-statement-on-climate-change-education-in-the-humanities/ COP 21. (2015) ‘The Paris agreement’, United Nations Treaty Collection. Retrieved from: https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=XXVII­ 7-d&chapter=27&lang=_en&clang=_en Drewes, A., Henderson, J., & Mouza, C. (2018) ‘Professional development design considera­ tions in climate change education:Teacher enactment and student learning’, International Journal of Science Education, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 67–89. Harmon,A. (2017) ‘A sense of duty to teach climate change’. Retrieved from: www.nytimes. com/2017/06/28/us/teaching-students-about-climate-change.html Henderson, J., Long, D., Berger, P., Russell, C., & Drewes,A. (2017) ‘Expanding the founda­ tion: Climate change and opportunities for educational research’, Educational Studies, vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 412–425. Hestness, E., McDonald, E. R., Breslyn, W., McGinnis, J. R., & Mouza, C. (2014) ‘Science teacher professional development in climate change education informed by the next generation science standards’, Journal of Geoscience Education, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 319–329. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]. (2018) ‘IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C – Summary for policy makers’. Retrieved from: www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/ Ipsos/NPR poll. (2019) ‘Teachers agree that climate change is real and should be taught in schools’. Retrieved from: www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/teachers-agree-climate­ change-real-and-should-be-taught-schools-04-22-2019

72 Alana Siegner and Natalie Stapert

Kamenetz, A. (2019a) ‘Most teachers don’t teach climate change; 4 in 5 parents wish they did’, NPR Education, April 22. Retrieved from: www.npr.org/2019/04/22/714262267/ most-teachers-dont-teach-climate-change-4-in-5-parents-wish-they-did Kamenetz, A. (2019b) ‘8 ways to teach climate change in almost any classroom’, April 25. Retrieved from: www.npr.org/2019/04/25/716359470/eight-ways-to-teach-climate­ change-in-almost-any-classroom Kamkwamba,W., & Mealer, B. (2010) The boy who harnessed the wind: Creating currents of elec­ tricity and hope. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers. Lawson, D. F., Stevenson, K. T., Peterson, M. N., Carrier, S. J., Strnad, R. L., & Seekamp, E. (2019) ‘Children can foster climate change concern among their parents’, Nature Climate Change, vol. 9, no. 6, p. 458. Marlon, J., Howe, P., Mildenberger, M., Leiserowitz, A., & Wang, X. (2018) ‘Yale climate opinion maps 2018’, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Retrieved from: https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us-2018/ Moser, S. C. (2007) ‘More bad news:The risk of neglecting emotional responses to climate change information’, in S. C. Moser & L. Dilling (Eds.), Creating a climate for change: Com­ municating climate change and facilitating social change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univer­ sity Press. Moser, S. C. (2016) ‘What more is there to say? Reflections on climate change communica­ tion research and practice in the second decade of the 21st century’, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 345–369. National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS). (2017) C3 framework for social studies state standards: Guidance for enhancing the rigor of K-12 civics, economics, geography, and history 2017. Silver Spring, MD: National Council of Social Studies. Nisbet, C. (2009) ‘Communicating climate change: Why frames matter for public engage­ ment’, Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 12–23. Park, L. S. (2011) A long walk to water: Based on a true story. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Schreiner, C., Henriksen, E. K., & Hansen, P. J. K. (2005) ‘Climate education: Empowering today’s youth to meet tomorrow’s challenges’, Studies in Science Education, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 3–49. Siegner,A. (2018) ‘Experiential climate change education: Challenges of conducting mixedmethods, interdisciplinary research in San Juan Islands, WA, and Oakland, CA’, Energy Research and Social Science, vol. 45, pp. 374–384. Siegner, A., & Stapert, N. (2019) ‘Climate change education in the humanities classroom: A case study of the Lowell School curriculum pilot’, Environmental Education Research, Online First. Somerville, R. C. J., & Hassol, S. J. (2011) ‘Communicating the science of climate change’, Physics Today, vol. 64, no. 10, p. 48. Westerhoff, L., & Robinson, J. (2013) ‘The meaning (s) of climate change: Exploring narra­ tive and social practice in the quest for transformation’, WIRES Working Paper Series #1. University of British Columbia,Vancouver, BC. Wolf, J., & Moser, S. C. (2011) ‘Individual understandings, perceptions, and engagement with climate change: Insights from in-depth studies across the world’, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 547–569. Wynes, S., & Nicholas, K. (2017) ‘The climate mitigation gap: Education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions’, Environmental Research Let­ ters, vol. 12, no. 7, pp. 1–9.

APPENDIX A Student climate literacy survey

Lowell school climate change survey Note to students: By completing this survey thoughtfully and truthfully, to the best of your ability, you are contributing to an important graduate student research project at the University of California, Berkeley.You are not only helping to improve the experience of other Lowell students who will participate in climate change curriculum, but your participation has the potential for national impact in the conversation around effective climate change education. Please answer the fol­ lowing questions, and keep in mind that this is a survey not a test. It is an opportu­ nity to see where you’re at with climate knowledge and engagement, and there are no consequences for wrong answers.The goal is that you will learn the answers to all these questions and more through climate education!

Knowledge 1

What is the greenhouse effect? a b c


The greenhouse effect is when plants grow inside during the winter. The greenhouse effect is when Earth’s temperature rises due to the sun moving closer to the Earth. The greenhouse effect is the rise in Earth’s temperature due to increased concentration of heat-trapping gases that prevent solar radiation from leaving the Earth’s atmosphere. The greenhouse effect is the movement to build more environmentally friendly homes in US cities.

74 Alana Siegner and Natalie Stapert


The difference between weather and climate is: a b c


What is the current CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, in parts per million (ppm)? a b c d





What cause CO2 emissions to rise? a b c d e


280 ppm

400 ppm

350 ppm

500 ppm

Do we need to increase, decrease, or maintain (keep the same) the current CO2 concentration to stabilize Earth’s climate? a b c


Weather is what we expect based on years of data while climate is what is happening right now. Weather is predictable but climate is not. Weather is a day-to-day event while climate is a consistent pattern over many years.

Burning fossil fuels

Cutting down trees

Tilling the soil (common agricultural practice)


All of the above

What are three ways we can lower CO2 emissions? a




Over the past 50 years, CO2 in the air has increased which has led to: a b c


Higher average global temperatures

Lower average global temperatures

No change in global temperature

What is another greenhouse gas besides CO2? a b c d

Methane (CH4)

Water vapor

Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

All of the above

Teaching climate in the humanities


9 Which of the following is a natural process that removes carbon from the atmosphere? a b c d

The water cycle

Humans breathing

Trees dying

Plants (via photosynthesis)

10 Scientists and policy-makers have agreed at the Paris Conference (COP 21) to try and limit global average temperature rise to less than ___ degrees Celsius by the end of the century. a b c d

1C (1.8F)

2C (3.6F)

4C (7.2F)

10C (18F)

11 Name one thing your community could realistically do to adapt or mitigate climate changes. How and why would your plan work?

Engagement *These questions are from theYale Project on Climate Change Communications’ (YPCCC) new shortened four-question survey for the American public to determine their level of concern and engagement with the issue of climate change.You can take the survey online for an analysis of your results and where you fit in the “Six Americas” spectrum. **Note about clarifying the difference between global warming and climate change:While the two terms are often used interchangeably by the public, Paul Hawken distinguishes between the two in his recent book Drawdown as follows: “Global warming refers to the surface temperature on the earth. Climate change refers to the many changes that will occur with increases in temperature and greenhouse gases.” 1

How important is the issue of global warming to you personally? a b c d e


Extremely important

Very important

Somewhat important

Not too important

Not at all important

How worried are you about global warming? a b c d

Very worried

Somewhat worried

Not very worried

Not at all worried

76 Alana Siegner and Natalie Stapert


How much do you think global warming will harm you personally? a b c d e


How much do you think global warming will harm future generations of people? a b c d e f



Once or twice



Every day

How often in the past year have you talked to friends/family members about climate change? a b c d e


A great deal

A moderate amount

Only a little

Not at all

Don’t know

I think our generation will solve climate change

How many times in the past year have you looked up additional information on climate change that you did not learn in school? a b c d e


A great deal

A moderate amount

Only a little

Not at all

Don’t know


Once or twice



Every day

Do you have a sibling at Lowell in the 5th, 7th, or 8th grade? Please specify:

6 CLIMATE CHANGE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT APPROACHES ‘MADE CLEAR’ Looking back on one project and looking forward to the future Andrea Drewes, Melissa J. B. Rogers, and Christopher Petrone Introduction Climate change is an environmental problem with no simple solution due to a myriad of social, political, cultural, and economic complexities.Yet what is straight­ forward is the clear evidence that global temperatures are increasing due to natu­ ral causes and human activity, and it is abundantly clear that intervening action is needed to slow and/or reverse the significant ecosystem impacts across the USA and globally (IPCC, 2018). In addition to the difficulty of devising action­ able solutions, climate change is also challenging to teach and learn about due to its scientific breadth and socio-scientific complexity (Breslyn et al., 2017). These instructional obstacles are experienced by students and teachers alike (Hestness et al., 2014; Brickhouse et al., 2017). Yet there is quickly growing interest and action to overcome these pedagogical issues to broadly improve climate literacy by integrating these topics into environmental and science K-12 curricula (U.S. Department of State, 2014). Climate change-focused education has become a “national imperative” (Siegner and Stapert, 2019, p. 1) that must be attended to in order to improve awareness of and action toward this environmental problem.We must help students evolve into civically engaged decision makers (USGCRP, 2009). However, educational research efforts to explore best practices in climate change education for K-12 learners and their teachers have only recently surfaced (e.g., Monroe et al., 2017) and an appro­ priately sized, broad commitment to this research area has been slow to develop in response to the vastness of the environmental and educational challenges before us (Henderson et al., 2017). This chapter focuses on a multi-year National Science Foundation funded pro­ ject that sought to address some of these problems across two states. In this chapter,

78 Andrea Drewes, et al.

we will specifically highlight how this MADE CLEAR (Maryland and Delaware Climate Change Education, Assessment and Research, Award #1239758) project developed and enacted a climate change-focused professional development pro­ gram for teachers.We discuss our intentions and reflect on lessons learned regarding the most important components for effective climate change professional development.The ongoing and iterative nature of our own work, along with slowly emerg­ ing research literature understandings from others, allowed us new insight, which we seek to share now.

Background Across the USA, climate change educational efforts are varied due to differences in the depth and breadth of integration and enactment in the science curriculum (e.g., Wise, 2010; Colston and Ivey, 2015; Lee et al., 2015; Plutzer et al., 2016). New projects have recently sprouted to better engage students and teachers (e.g., Holthius et al., 2014; Shea et al., 2016).Yet many of the newly described research efforts are local, smaller scale enactments within a few classrooms or a single school (e.g., Ellins et al., 2014; Siegner and Stapert, 2019; Sezen-Barrie et al., 2019).With formal education being the biggest predictor of climate change awareness (Lee et al., 2015), we must find innovative ways of infusing climate change more mean­ ingfully into the K-12 curricula. Busch et al. (2019) explores three major research threads for describing approaches to climate change education and the related research outcomes: positivist, sociocultural, and transformative lenses. First, a posi­ tivist approach highlights cognitive aspects related to the scientific understandings of climate change. Findings from this research arena often utilize a knowledgedeficiency mentality with explorations of misconceptions and instructional efforts to eradicate any inaccurate ideas (Busch et al., 2019). Studies from the positivistic perspective abound from the 1990s to early 2000s, which explore the deficiency of accurate climate change understandings in K-12 students and their teachers (e.g., Boyes and Stanisstreet, 1993; Koulaidis and Christidou, 1999). The social constructivist lens has become more widespread in the past 10 to 15 years.These educational efforts are working to incorporate an instructional focus on more than just climate change knowledge and move students through person­ ally relevant connections to take action toward mitigating the negative impacts of climate change (Busch et al., 2019).The incorporation of affect is often seen in this research thread, specifically emotions (e.g., Ojala, 2012; Hufnagel, 2015), beliefs (e.g., Lombardi and Sinatra, 2013; Busch, 2016), and political views (e.g., McCright and Dunlap, 2011;Walsh and Tsurusaki, 2017). Finally, transformative methods include a re-orientation toward broader action against the mainstream status quo and pushing back against passive acceptance of climate injustices (Henderson et al., 2017).The encouragement of pro-environmental behavior is often given lip service in other perspectives, but it is in this transforma­ tive lens where it is truly championed.Yet, the jump to a transformative perspective is still a challenge for many educators and for the nation as a whole, as seen by the

Climate change approaches ‘MADE CLEAR’


small number of studies employing this research lens in climate change education (Busch et al., 2019).

Climate change professional development As may be expected, the theoretical perspective employed in climate change educa­ tional efforts greatly influences the desired learning outcomes and goals for instruc­ tion (Busch et al., 2019). The pedagogy employed in the K-12 classroom is often influenced by the trainings the teachers themselves have experienced (Penuel et al., 2007). Recent studies have shown this conceptual mobility from professional devel­ opment to enacted instruction to student learning outcomes holds true for climate change education (Drewes et al., 2018), which makes quality climate- change pro­ fessional development for teachers more critical than ever. Paralleling the research base on student knowledge on climate change, there is a wide array of studies documenting the limited climate-change understandings of many teachers and their variegated instructional approaches (Plutzer et al., 2016). In a similar corresponding movement, educational researchers have recently moved away from a purely positivistic mindset in order to more thoroughly explore the beliefs, emotions, and identities of educators who work to include climate change in their classrooms (Lombardi and Sinatra, 2013; Busch, 2016; Drewes, 2018). Most often the takeaway message from these studies is clear: significant support for teach­ ers is required to best prepare them to encourage meaningful climate change aware­ ness and action in their students. This is evidenced by the frequent calls for more climate change-specific professional development opportunities (e.g., Holthius et al., 2014; Shea et al., 2016) and the results of a nationally representative survey of geosci­ ence educators where two-thirds of all respondents expressed interest in professional development “entirely focused on climate change” (Plutzer et al., 2016, p. 665). Deepening the climate change knowledge base is important (Porter et al., 2012), but recent research has shown this knowledge must be personally relevant and locally meaningful (Monroe et al., 2017; Dubois and Krasny, 2016). Specifically, this content knowledge should be delivered with positive messages that include active engagement for the students (Monroe et al. 2017). Educators need to incorporate these practices into their pedagogy in order to move from just teaching for aware­ ness and content knowledge and to move toward a focus on action and engaged civic behavior as the desired outcome (Herman, 2015) – yet this still remains dif­ ficult to accomplish in the eyes of many teachers and teacher educators. Professional development that offers an opportunity to deepen teachers’ knowl­ edge of and comfort with climate change has been shown to strengthen peda­ gogical practice to improve student learning (Luft and Hewson, 2014). Professional development also needs to be designed to demonstrate how to translate modeled learning activities into the realm of possibility for their own teaching. This prox­ imity to practice found in effective professional development has been demon­ strated to allow teachers to see coherent connections with their own experiences and the expectations of their school (Allen and Penuel, 2007). Finally, professional

80 Andrea Drewes, et al.

development for climate change must also consider the practical constraints and social context of teachers’ schools to encourage teachers to enact, rather than resist, these pedagogical innovations (Rivet, 2006; Penuel et al., 2007). Meaningful science professional-development design should support those climate change educational goals through a focus on content knowledge, proximity to practice, and a consid­ eration of the school context and local policies.

Research context Previous efforts at climate change professional development have worked to improve teacher knowledge and readiness/proficiency in teaching climate change – but what additional content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge do teach­ ers need? Many of these professional developments centered on teaching a specific curriculum. Is that the best approach? Outside of prescribing a set climate change curriculum, how can teacher educators and researchers help teachers to integrate climate change into their state/district’s curricula and their individual classrooms? These were just some of the questions we wrangled with throughout our work on the MADE CLEAR project. Only a few of the previously highlighted studies were available, and many of these understandings were not well described in the research literature at the start of our project (circa 2012/2013). Through the rest of this chapter, we describe the MADE CLEAR project and its original inten­ tions. Then a reflective dialogue between the coauthors as primary members of the professional development planning and implementation team is shared to ret­ rospectively explore our thoughts and understandings related to developing and implementing meaningful climate change professional development.We will then close the chapter with a few lessons learned from our time together on this project that we feel are supported by other research findings and should be considered in future designs of climate change professional development for teachers.

Project background MADE CLEAR was a federally funded research effort that sought to build infra­ structure for climate change education in two states. The project’s promised goals were to: 1) infuse climate change concepts in all aspects of education by engaging the scientific community in collaboration with educators; 2) build sustain­ able infrastructure for climate change education through teacher education and professional development; 3) draw broader lessons about research and assessment to create climate education models that can be applied in other regions based on the local socio-cultural diversity; and 4) advance effective practice of climate change education in the Maryland-Delaware region and beyond. (NSF, n.d., para 2)

Climate change approaches ‘MADE CLEAR’


The entire project was encompassed by several workgroups: K-12 education, higher education, informal education, and learning sciences research.These workgroups were led by faculty at the University of Delaware and the University System of Maryland, but they also involved educational researchers, scientists, and practitioners from a number of other formal and informal institutions across Maryland and Delaware. MADE CLEAR’s financial support came from NSF’s Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP, ccepalliance.org) program, which was a one-time funding effort to promote “a scientifically literate society that can effectively weigh the evidence regarding global climate change as it confronts the challenges ahead” (NSF, n.d., para. 4). The MADE CLEAR project drew to an official close in 2018, however parts of the project – including the professional development Climate Change Academy program and the informal education coa­ lition (see Chapter 7 of this book) – have been continued by educational partners across the two states. We focus this reflective chapter on the K-12 education workgroup’s primary component: the Climate Change Academy (CCA) professional development pro­ gram that was offered each year of the program.The authors of this chapter were some of the primary CCA planning partners, but also were involved with other parts of the project as well (Andrea was a doctoral research assistant on the Learn­ ing Sciences team, Chris was a contributor to the informal education workgroup, and Melissa assisted with professional development efforts at the Higher Education level). The CCA core planning team included experienced formal and informal educators who all had extensive backgrounds in designing and enacting science and/or environmentally focused teacher professional development. However, the makeup of the planning team varied, especially in the early years of the project, which led to some planning challenges over time. By the end of Year 2 and through the end of the project, the planning team grew more consistent with the installation of Melissa as the workgroup leader. Collectively, we sought to design professional development that enhanced the teachers’ content knowledge related to climate change and provided pedagogical support and resources to enact climate instruction within each teacher’s own class­ room setting. With this overarching goal in mind, we created the Climate Acad­ emies with three core components that were also supported by the broader research base for effective professional development models: science content knowledge, proximity to pedagogical practice, and flexible curricular outcomes that considered the context and policies of the teachers’ local school environments.Yet, these goals did not truly solidify until about midway through the project. Another evolving feature of the Climate Change Academy was the format for our professional development models. The length, location, and delivery method changed through the project. See Table 6.1 for more details on the cohort vari­ ations, but in summary, the early years relied on intensive face-to-face, residential models combined with in-person follow up sessions during the school year. By the end of the project, however, most often we were integrating numerous oppor­ tunities for online engagement before, during, and after in-person professional

82 Andrea Drewes, et al. TABLE 6.1 MADE CLEAR Professional Development Format Models

Cohort Year

Workshop Format

2013–2014 Cohort

5 days, in-person residential program in summer, followed by 2 in-person, weekend day follow-up sessions during school year, and 4 evening, synchronous web sessions (2.5 hours) during school year 5 days, in-person residential program in summer, followed by 2 single weekend day, in-person follow-up sessions during school year, and 4 evening, synchronous web sessions (2.5 hours) during school year 8 sessions: 4 online evening sessions and 4 one day in-person weekend day sessions over spring and summer, which included an optional session to hear 2014–2015 participants share their teaching plans 5 sessions with 3 online evening and 2 in-person weekend day sessions on topics not previously covered 3 days, in-person residential program in early summer, followed by 2 additional, one day non-residential sessions later in the summer, with several online, asynchronous components to engage in the spring prior to in-person sessions Online only academy in partnership with CBEX over the spring 4 evening, online synchronous web sessions, followed by 3 days, in-person residential program in summer Online only academy in partnership with CBEX over the spring 5 week, online pre-academy followed by 3 days, in-person residential program in summer 5 week, online pre-academy followed by 3 days, in-person residential program in summer

2014–2015 Cohort

2015 Cohort

2015 Supplemental Workshops 2016 Cohort

2017 Cohort #1 2017 Cohort #2 2018 Cohort #1 2018 Cohort #2* 2019 Cohort** *

Original 5-year NSF MADE CLEAR funding was in a no-cost extension. Funded in partnership by the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve-MD, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, Delaware Sea Grant, and the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office.


development sessions, and these sessions were generally for a shorter duration of time (two to three days compared to five days).

Dialogue and reflection As mentioned, all three of the authors played important parts in the planning of the K-12 workgroup’s CCA while serving in other roles as well, which gave us varying

Climate change approaches ‘MADE CLEAR’


insights into the planning and enactment of the yearly academies, the wider impact on regional educational efforts, and the research components of the project. We now present a reflective conversation between the three authors to share the suc­ cesses and challenges that we experienced along the way. AD: MR:




What were some of your goals for MADE CLEAR professional development programs? On a general level, we wanted to increase awareness about climate change in the teachers and their students.We had hoped that by working with the two state departments of education, we could also make school administrations aware that climate change can fit into their science curriculum and also help teachers see that climate change can fit into their course/classroom. During the PD sessions, we always sought to model NGSS 3-D teaching and, even if it wasn’t exactly three-dimensional, at the least it was instruc­ tional approaches that were student forward and inquiry driven learning. More specific on the content awareness, we discussed concepts like the processes that lead to global warming, how human activity contributes to a warming world, the local and global impacts of climate change, and finally individual, community, national, and international climate change mitiga­ tion and adaptation strategies. Overall, we sought to have science educators meet others in the same boat with their attempts to integrate and include climate change. And from a practical standpoint, we wanted to have teachers develop a plan to bring at least one climate change lesson into class – and hopefully implement it too, but that came later. My goals were to not only help teachers learn more about climate change, how to teach it, and build their confidence in teaching it, but also improve my own climate change content knowledge and confidence in teaching about it, while expanding our toolbox of climate change resources.Through the MADE CLEAR academies, workshops, and conference sessions, we were able to provide hundreds of teachers with high-quality, relevant cli­ mate change science content and resources. Otherwise, these teachers may be left to spend hours online searching for material or worse, not look at all and subsequently leave this vital information out of their curricula. You use the phrase build their confidence in teaching it. Chris, could you talk a little bit more about what does that mean and what did that look like in practice? The teachers were coming to us, and most of them hadn’t been science students in quite some time. They didn’t have the content knowledge to be able to walk into a classroom or talk to a parent or an administrator and say, “This is climate change. This is why I’m teaching it. This is how I’m going to teach it.” In our PD [online and in-person] we did a ton of dem­ onstrations, simulations, and activities. The teachers practiced them in the workshop so that when they went back in September, they could say, “I’ve

84 Andrea Drewes, et al.

done this. I want to do it again with my students. I’m going to change it this way.”They would have that swagger, that confidence, to be able to pull it off effectively. AD:

Could you talk more about how the content focus evolved in later years com­ pared to initially? MR: I think there was a big change. I think the approach changed in such a way that the goal wasn’t necessarily to have all the teachers develop a deep sci­ entific knowledge, with all the layers, for instance on the causes of climate change, but to at least be comfortable with a level that would allow them to teach at whatever level was appropriate for them. CP: That first and second year, we hit them so hard with content. We had cli­ mate scientists, one who’s a hero of mine, and I sat there that first year and I listened to him talk about climate change, and I was fully on board. I understood what he was talking about, but as I looked around the room, many teachers were completely glazed over, it was just too high-level for them at that point. All the facilitators thought this is the greatest thing ever because we’re hearing from one of the foremost experts in the region on climate, and we’re eating it up. But the teachers were thinking,“Who is this guy? Why am I here?” By not going as deep or as wide in the latter years, we learned that the teachers were able to get the same information they needed to teach climate change, just in different ways. MR: So we decided to still try to get across the same content, but break it up into smaller pieces.And present it in a way that the teachers could take back to their classes. Not by having someone stand up and talk about all the ins and outs of the science, because we weren’t advocating for that classroom model, but rather by facilitating activities that highlight key elements of the science:Why do greenhouse gases get “trapped” in the atmosphere? Why is the ocean pH changing? . . . I also think that we hit on mitigation heavier later on than we did early on. This was, at least partially, motivated by the teachers. They expressed a desire to bring a student-action element into their classes.We were hearing a similar message from the informal educators who were participating in another part of MADE CLEAR.They had a strong desire to bring a mes­ sage of hope, which translated as action, to their audiences. AD: Why do you think that was an important piece to beef up a bit from those very early academies? CP: We focused a lot on the heavy science of it in the early years and we found that intensive and fully immersive model was too much for teachers – a lot of information, quick pace, not a lot of time spent out of the classroom/chairs, and a lack of appropriate down time to rest and reflect. Later on, we could get a lot more into the “so what” and the impacts. By bringing in some of the speakers that we did, it helped the participants really understand what climate change means to them by exploring it from the local impacts point of view.

Climate change approaches ‘MADE CLEAR’


They still had the opportunity to learn about the science and the mechanism. Like last year we had an expert who talked about how our area will have more mosquitoes and more ticks, and what the state of Delaware is doing about it. It was still science content-focused with information on why it’s happening and what the outcomes are. Mosquitoes and ticks were the hook to demonstrate that we’re having longer growing seasons, warmer tempera­ tures, and it’s not getting as cold in the winter. By looking at the impacts of these climactic changes, the teachers received the science content indirectly. AD:

Why was this knowledge of impacts and action orientations related to climate change so vital for teachers? MR: For one thing, it was becoming a clearer goal within the larger climate change science communication community, with this idea that you needed to focus on some hope for the future. I think there were a lot of voices, not just within the program, but in the greater climate change communication arena, that this was something to start emphasizing a lot more. CP: Because climate change is a polarizing topic and potentially overwhelming to teachers who do not have a lot of experience with it, we very purpose­ fully planned content, activities, presenters, etc. to ensure the teachers would get exactly what they needed to increase content knowledge and confi­ dence in teaching climate change. Teaching strategies were appropriately modeled so that participants could see exactly how activities were to run, how content can be conveyed, etc.We did a much better job of this in the later stages than the early stages to getting at why does this matter to anyone. We discussed some impacts, particularly the global impacts, but also on a local scale, and that was more important.We improved toward the end [of the grant] by focusing on here’s what’s going to happen, and here are some things that you can do. In particular, in the summer 2019 academy, we hit strongly on what you can do about climate change locally – we had a fac­ ulty member who spoke about initiatives at local colleges with getting their students involved and really getting to the larger scale, beyond just change some light bulbs and that’s going to solve all the problems. By discussing with the teachers what we can do, and how they can get their students involved, those conversations are going to go way further than content-only lectures from scientists.You don’t necessarily need a deep knowledge of cli­ mate change mechanisms to act on the issues, and the things that you as an individual and as a community can do to lessen climate change impacts. AD: What else did you learn about implementing CCPD? CP: Overall, we learned that teachers want to integrate climate change informa­ tion into their curricula, but typically do not have “spare” time to implement new material and activities. Therefore, many teachers need to get creative. Most teachers that participated in MADE CLEAR programs did not have a dedicated climate change unit, but instead, incorporated climate change content where it seemingly fit best alongside existing material. By providing

86 Andrea Drewes, et al.

teachers with content, resources, and time to digest the material, practice with materials and content, and planning time for the school year, teachers were much more likely to implement their plan.We’re never going to get around the fact that a lot of these folks that are going into the classroom, they’re not taking a lot of the heavy sciences, they’re not getting that content on climate change. So, at least in the near term, there’s always going to be a role for cli­ mate change professional development. I think that the same struggle that we have with climate change we’ve had with marine science and oceanography. With both, it’s a matter of having people realize that you can use the ocean to teach a lot of different things: physics, chemistry, biology, geology, it’s all out there in the ocean.We’re now seeing that same idea that if you’re in physics, you can talk about climate change; if you’re in geology, if you’re in Earth sci­ ence, if you’re in biology, you can pull in climate change aspects; even in math and language arts. I think there will be a place for climate change professional development, at least through my career, for quite some time. MR: The project was started on purpose within two states that had implemented the Next Generation Science Standards.To go along with what Chris said, climate change is in NGSS, but it is not a standalone topic. Elements of cli­ mate change show throughout NGSS middle school and high school core ideas in earth and space science, physical science, life science, and engineer­ ing. So it makes perfect sense for teachers to be addressing climate change in a variety of classes.This is where the role of district administration becomes more crucial, however. It makes the most sense for students to be experienc­ ing climate change in a variety of classrooms, if there is a district-wide plan that ties it all together.We also had elementary teachers who were general­ ists by education and classroom need.They tended to bring climate change into their classes through language arts and through the mitigation avenue. AD: What else made the CCPD meaningful for teachers? CP: We also learned that skimping on downtime and field experiences – par­ ticularly when in a new, nature-rich environment – hampers not only learn­ ing, but also participants’ enjoyment of the workshop, which makes it less likely that participants will incorporate content and resources, or come back to future programs. MR: And this is something we struggled with in two ways. We were trying to cram so much in to the in-person sessions, that providing downtime was hard to do. There was just so much content and so many experiences/ activities to incorporate. And the desire for field experiences was a strug­ gle. Participants, and some voices within the program, thought of climate change as an environmental issue, therefore it should have an outdoor element. But much of the “work” of climate change research is in data analysis and looking at long-term environmental impacts. Not something that you can see in one afternoon outdoors.

Climate change approaches ‘MADE CLEAR’


Another aspect of our design that teachers found useful was planning time. We occasionally ended up shaving this time to fit in other things or when something else ran over, but participants appreciated time in the midst of the sessions to think about and discuss with others how they would inte­ grate content and activities into their classroom. CP: For the most part, we were pretty lucky with a lot of our speakers in that they were really good presenters. They were personable, they brought the science where the teachers needed it be and still got into the impacts. Also, we always strongly encouraged the presenters to stick around, not just pre­ sent and leave. And that went a long way, because the teachers could have lunch with the scientists and really converse with them and talk about spe­ cific questions about the impacts or the science over a sandwich. MR: Note: this wasn’t always luck. I really tried to vet speakers in advance. I mean, I was pretty militant about this at times. Being really clear about what we desired, how it would fit in with activities, asking for outlines in advance and suggesting changes. Not everyone on the team bought into this approach, but I think it had a lot of value for the sessions. And I think in most instances the presenters appreciated the guidance as well. AD:

You got me thinking about networking with the scientists, but more so with the informal educators and the scientists, and most importantly amongst the teachers. Do you think building a teacher community around climate change was a goal or should have been a goal with teachers over the years? Do you think that we made good efforts toward that if it should have been a goal? MR: I don’t think most of the teachers were necessarily coming in thinking,“Oh, I’m joining a community.” Because, if they had, I think there would have been more success there. But we also didn’t really set up any sort of structure to enable what I would consider a true network.And even as I’m saying that I’m disagreeing with myself inside my brain. I mean, I guess we did make some changes as we went through the years with inviting others and having Academy sessions that were open to anybody who had participated in the past. And that was, in part, an attempt to continue to get people to interact with one another and network with one another.We did have the various versions of the online community – we had the Google group, and a web­ site for a while. So, we set some things up that might have facilitated some networking, but nothing that forced it. CP: I agree. I don’t think we worked hard enough or explicitly tried to build a network. I think teachers found networks that benefited them. So, if a teacher really took to one of the presenters, and they’re close by and they felt that connection, we provided a mechanism for that but we didn’t do anything to enhance that relationship. I think that a community of practice amongst climate change teachers can be a very powerful thing.

88 Andrea Drewes, et al.

MR: We were successful over the years in developing about five teacher leaders who helped plan and facilitate academy sessions and outside presentations and had regular participation by informal educators in the PD workshops. AD:

So in this idealized community that could have transpired, but didn’t for a num­ ber of the reasons that we’re discussing, do you think that that community or that network maybe should have more strongly incorporated science supervisors or informal educators, or even some of the scientists that were associated with the project? What do you think about the broader network besides just teachers? MR: Looking back, I would have liked to entice more science supervisors into attending an Academy themselves, especially in districts where they were intending to design their own curriculum rather than purchasing. I think, in the ultimate world to have a strong community that would have been the case. Definitely, all of those groups of people you mentioned, especially the science supervisors. And I would even argue that in the broadest utopian version, it wouldn’t only be science; at a minimum it would also be social studies teachers. And definitely informal educators too. There were a few instances where we did connect some informal educators and classroom teachers who were in the same area and managed to do some collaboration. AD:

So why do you think that it would be important to include those groups in this broader network? What would be the goal? MR: A combination of support and buy-in.When you are the fourth grade teacher who is deciding that they are going to play the solar energy tag game in your class because it fits in with something else that you’re already doing and you want to bring a little climate change stuff, it’s one thing if you just decide to do that on your own. And it’s another to know that within this group of people who are talking also about doing such things, that your principal or your science supervisor actually has been sitting in on these discussions and they know it makes sense and that there’s a reason for this activity and it’s not just a cute standalone thing that you’re doing. Also, if I can actually get the Environmental Ed center person who’s also in this community to come and help me with it, or if after we do it, we go over to their center and do this other related activity, and we can all tie it together. It strengthens the teaching and learning of climate change. It makes the teacher a lot more comfortable if they know they have this community of teachers and others behind them. And there’s also the possibility that somebody else may have already done this and can fill them in on the pluses and minuses and things to avoid. AD:

Melissa, earlier you talked about how having teachers meet others in the same boat was a goal. Do you think that building that collegiality with others would be especially important for climate change? Or it’s just good practice for all teaching, or specific to climate change it would be especially helpful? MR: I think it is good practice for all teaching. But I think not because this is cli­ mate change, but because it is a topic that’s relatively new in almost anyone’s

Climate change approaches ‘MADE CLEAR’


classroom and school and district. It’s always nice to have the moral support and the support of others going through the same thing. So, in that sense, because it’s something new, I think it would be nice. One other topic that I didn’t mention before was the tales from the field that we incorporated and bringing in teacher leaders who have been through the academy before and who were starting to integrate climate change material into their class­ room learning. I think that was a nice piece that could have been a kernel of a nascent community.And it helped to hit on that idea of there are other people out there who were doing this, but we still didn’t manage to use it to build a larger community. CP: In an ideal world, I think that a community would be phenomenal. You have to get people talking to each other all the time. I don’t know what the right mechanism is, and I don’t know how you achieve that with busy teachers to get them to buy in. Maybe that has to happen at the local scale first. We started to try to build that at past Academies by having a teacher bring a buddy from school or get them into small groups within one school or one county to talk to each other. Well, over in the next county they’re doing something similar, so why don’t we talk to them? But that’s where the disconnect is right now. So, if we were to scale up to build that wider com­ munity, I think it would look a lot like those later academies where we had some speakers, had some breakouts sessions to interact, had a lot of reflec­ tion time, had field experiences and shared meals.That goes a long way. AD:

Did any of the various PD formats work better for engagement in and sup­ port for climate change education in your opinion? CP: Getting everybody on the same page before workshop is huge. For example, one year we had a participant in the room who literally wrote a book about climate change, but you also had elementary teachers who haven’t had a sci­ ence class in a long time and didn’t have any of this content knowledge. By providing a lot of that content up front and providing resources before the workshop, that got us to the point where we didn’t have to spend time on it at the in-person workshop.Without that early work, you can get bogged down in the basics for the novice teachers while not meeting the needs of other, more experienced teachers, which then misses an opportunity to model an appropriately differentiated learning environment. I still don’t know the perfect online mechanism out there for this work, but we tried. MR: The first thing is that you’re going to have to have some mix of something where you can see each other’s faces and feel like you’re talking to each other, and maybe there’s a way that you can do that electronically, but in my opinion, it would need to be face to face. But there’s got to be the feeling of a traditional community, in the sense that these are the people I know, and I do stuff with.Another aspect I think is the need to have some opportunity to get together regularly and, in this sense, the get together could be elec­ tronically, but there’s got to be some ongoing contact. Finally, if I were in this organization or community, I would want to be learning more content

90 Andrea Drewes, et al.




and activities with the conversations around how do I teach this, what’s working, what’s not working? Face to face is going to always be best. It’s just how my brain works. When we had those intense, five, ten-hour day academies, that was a long time to engage. The online component is really important too, but it’s a time sink for teachers.What we’ve done the past two years [2018 and 2019] is to try to get participants online in May and June and have them learn the foundational content so that when we meet face to face in late-June or July, you don’t have to go over that basic science content; they already have it. But even the three face-to-face days that we moved to toward the end of the grant, that was still intense and it was still exhausting for the participants and facilitators. But even that didn’t seem like enough time. I don’t know that there is a perfect model. Other thoughts to share about CCPD? Although it got off to a tricky start, MADE CLEAR was one of the most impactful programs – for teachers and me – that I have ever been a part of. I learned so much about climate change and had the opportunity to work with some amazing educators, evaluators, and scientists, developing collaborations and friendships that will extend long into the future. Perhaps the most exciting part of the MADE CLEAR project is that some of the project partners are continuing climate change education in the absence of the original grant funding. We plan to continue facilitating climate change academies as long as there is a demonstrated need for this content. I’m not sure if I have anything to add to what Chris said. I do continue to believe that it was an incredibly impactful program. I still occasionally communicate with some of the teachers, sometimes about climate change issues, sometimes personal. Same with members of the MADE CLEAR staff. In that sense, perhaps there is some ongoing networking happening. Maybe that’s a sign that there are other conversations going on amongst other alumni of the program that we just don’t even know about.

Lessons learned looking back Three main themes emerge after our reflective conversation as important compo­ nents for meaningful and effective climate change professional development: knowl­ edge development, community building, and an orientation toward local engagement and action. We hope that by sharing these insights, along with our successes and sticking points, others may be able to continue to push forward to meet the needs of teachers to integrate climate change in a variety of classrooms across the nation.

Knowledge development Deepening teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogical readiness for teach­ ing climate change is absolutely critical as so many of our teachers and teach­ ers nationally (Plutzer et al., 2016) have had very limited preparation on this

Climate change approaches ‘MADE CLEAR’


topic. However, professional development cannot focus exclusive attention on this development of content knowledge (as it is too often the case) that learning the underlying mechanisms of the scientific phenomenon are preferenced over other forms of professional knowledge and content connections (Drewes et al., 2018). By taking a positivistic-leaning mindset and viewing teachers’ knowledge and experiences through a deficiency orientation, early efforts at climate change professional development missed opportunities to support teachers in their peda­ gogical flexibility to integrate climate change where it is appropriate for their own classroom. Specific teaching resources and explicit curricular options can be valuable, but as model learning activities, not as the lone solution to climate change educational efforts. Instead, by creating versatility in the focus topics, teachers can see the broader curricular connections to climate change for science disciplines outside of earth and space science, across the science curriculum, and into social studies, math, engineering, and language arts classrooms. In addition to avoiding a silo effect regarding when and where it is “appropriate” to teach climate change, a diversified approach to climate change instruction across the curriculum can alleviate the enormous burden from being placed solely on Earth science teachers. For knowledge development of science teachers, there is a strong need for hands-on experiences to model complex climate phenomena around all four big ideas of climate change (greenhouse effect mechanism, human impacts, local and global effects, and mitigation and adaptation; Breslyn et al., 2017). But the workshop must also prioritize the reflective and experiential opportunities that are afforded to teachers by actual participation in the learning experiences to build both their confidence and self-efficacy in teaching this scientifically com­ plex issue.

Community building Another vital component to influential climate-change professional development is helping teachers to also address the social complexity of the climate change issue through the creation and sustenance of a group of like-minded, dedicated educators who are finding personally and locally relevant ways to teach climate change (Luft and Hewson, 2014). Nurturing this community building was a chal­ lenging lesson for our group to learn for a number of reasons. Even though building an “infrastructure” was an overall goal of the entire MADE CLEAR project, this did not fully translate into reality in the professional development components. Numerous avenues for connecting with other participants were pursued via technology (e.g., Google groups, private Facebook group, etc.), but what seems to have been most effective was the inclusion of dedicated, face-to­ face time during the CCA sessions for reflecting and collaborating with other teachers both within and across school districts, or even state lines. By building these bridges, teachers found others who were “in the same boat.” The other moderately successful component of our community-building efforts was the initiation and incorporation of Teacher Leaders, who were past CCA participants

92 Andrea Drewes, et al.

who came back to future sessions and led activities and discussions about how to modify instruction for local contexts with sensitivity to school policies, district initiatives, and grade-level goals. To create learning experiences that bridge knowledge and action, teachers often need to negotiate the sensitive context of advocacy from the classroom.We found this to be most successful in our in-person sessions, where teachers could truly have that face time with other teachers to brainstorm and strategize implementation efforts. Community building with like-minded educators who are traversing the same paths is an essential component for the longevity of climate change profes­ sional development impacts and to support broader uptake of the climate change education curriculum integration.

Orientation toward local engagement and action And finally, the third lesson to come out of our experiences and conversation is that climate change professional development must incorporate an orientation toward local engagement and action toward a solution. Building teacher science content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge is important, but professional development cannot only focus on the scientific phenomenon of climate change. Clearly teacher educators need to move away from a deficiency-oriented approach that strives toward an idealized and positivistic view of knowledge. This reflects what is happening in broader discourse on climate change in the public sphere and climate change communication (Wibeck, 2014; Plutzer and Hannah, 2018).There is an absolute need to build in action components to explain the implications of the “so what” and “what next” aspects of this pressing environmental issue. Integrating community-based action also works to develop personal relevancy in those local connections through service learning or other place-based learning opportunities. Climate change professional development must work with teachers to help them and their students to understand the enormity of what is in front of us all and to realize that we “need to do more than change a few light bulbs.” Impactful and meaningful climate change education, and specifically climate change professional development, offer ways to pass along important knowledge about climate change and teaching methods to combat this challenge as an inspiration for civic engage­ ment in the future, but more pressingly taking action now.

Conclusion In conclusion, over the years, our Climate Academies had morphing theoretical lenses of positivistic, sociocultural, and heading-toward-transformative approaches (Busch et al., 2019) as our emphasis varied over the cohorts. Looking back and looking ahead to a re-envisioned MADE CLEAR and other future climate change professional developments, we find aspects of all three approaches to be impact­ ful in addressing the immediate cognitive and pedagogical needs of teachers and in supporting socio-culturally aware teaching in local contexts while integrating transformative action and pro-environmental behaviors in the lives of teachers

Climate change approaches ‘MADE CLEAR’


and students. By meeting and supporting teachers where their immediate needs are with content resources and novel pedagogical practices, while also strongly encouraging personally and locally relevant connections to advocate for action and changes in behavior individually and more broadly, we believe that future climate change professional development efforts can change the landscape of teacher prepa­ ration and readiness to take on this environmental challenge – and the opportunity to inspire others as we move forward on this pressing task together.

References Allen, C., & Penuel, W. (2007) ‘Studying teachers’ sensemaking to investigate teachers’ responses to professional development focused on new standards’, Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 66, no. 2, pp. 136–149. Boyes, E., & Stanisstreet, M. (1993) ‘The greenhouse effect children’s perceptions of causes, consequences and cures’, International Journal Science Education, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 531–552. Breslyn,W., Drewes, A., McGinnis, J. R., Hestness, E., & Mouza, C. (2017) ‘Development of an empirically based conditional learning progression for climate change’, Science Educa­ tion International, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 214–233. Brickhouse, N., McGinnis, J. R., Shea, N., Drewes, A., Hestness, H., & Breslyn, W. (2017) ‘Core idea ESS3: Earth and human activity’, in R. G. Ravit, J. Krajick, & A. Rivet (Eds.), Disciplinary core ideas: Reshaping teaching and learning, pp. 223–240.Arlington,VA: NSTA. Busch, K. C. (2016) ‘Polar bears or people? Exploring ways in which teachers frame climate change in the classroom’, International Journal of Science Education, Part B, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 137–165. Busch, K. C., Henderson, J. A., & Stevenson, K. T. (2019) ‘Broadening epistemologies and methodologies in climate change education research’, Environmental Education Research, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 955–971. Colston, N. M., & Ivey,T. A. (2015) ‘(un)Doing the next generation science standards: Cli­ mate change education actor networks in Oklahoma’, Journal of Educational Policy, vol. 30, no. 6, pp. 773–795. Drewes,A. (2018) ‘Personal, professional, political:An exploration of science teacher identity development for teaching climate change’, PhD thesis, University of Delaware, DE. Drewes, A., Henderson, J., & Mouza, C. (2018) ‘Professional development design considera­ tions in climate change education:Teacher enactment and student learning’, International Journal of Science Education, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 67–89. DuBois, B., & Krasny, M. E. (2016) ‘Education with resilience in mind: Addressing climate change in post-Sandy New York City’, Journal of Environmental Education, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 255–270. Ellins, K. K., Ledley,T. S., Haddad, N., McNeal, K., Gold, A., Lynds, S., & Libarkin, J. (2014) ‘EarthLabs: Supporting teacher professional development to facilitate effective teaching of climate science’, Journal of Geoscience Education, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 330–342. Henderson, J. A., Bieler, A., & McKenzie, M. (2017) ‘Climate change and the Canadian higher education system:An institutional policy analysis’, Canadian Journal of Higher Edu­ cation, vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 1–16. Henderson, J.A., Long, D., Berger, P., Russell, C., & Drewes,A. (2017) ‘Expanding the foun­ dation: Climate change and opportunities for educational research’, Educational Studies, vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 412–425.

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Herman, B. C. (2015) ‘The influence of global warming science views and sociocultural factors on willingness to mitigate global warming’, Science Education, vol. 99, no. 1, pp. 1–38. Hestness, E., McDonald, R. C., Breslyn, W., McGinnis, J. R., & Mouza, C. (2014) ‘Science teacher professional development in climate change education informed by the next generation science standards’, Journal of Geoscience Education, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 319–329. Holthius, N., Lotan, R., Saltzman, J., Mastandrea, M., & Wild, A. (2014) ‘Supporting and understanding students’ epistemological discourse about climate change’, Journal of Geoscience Education, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 374–387. Hufnagel, E. (2015) ‘Preservice elementary teachers’ emotional connections and disconnec­ tions to climate change in a science course’, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, vol. 52, no. 9, pp. 1296–1324. IPCC. (2018) ‘Global warming of 1.5*C, an IPCC special report’. Retrieved from: www. ipcc.ch/sr15/ Koulaidis,V., & Christidou,V. (1999) ‘Models of students’ thinking concerning the green­ house effect and teaching implications’, Science Education, vol. 83, no. 5, pp. 559–576. Lee, T., Markowitz, E., Howe, P., Ko, C., & Leiserowitz, A. (2015) ‘Predictors of climate change awareness and risk perceptions around the world’, Nature Climate Change, vol. 5, no. 11, pp. 1014–1020. Lombardi, D., & Sinatra, G. (2013) ‘Emotions about teaching about human induced climate change’, International Journal of Science Education, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 167–191. Luft, J., & Hewson, P. (2014) ‘Research on teacher professional development programs in science’, in N. Lederman & S. Abell (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education,Vol. 2, pp. 889–909. New York, NY: Routledge. McCright,A. M., & Dunlap, R. E. (2011) ‘Cool dudes:The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States’, Global Environmental Change, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 1163–1172. Monroe, M. C., Plate, R. R., Oxarart, A., Bowers, A., & Chaves, W. A. (2017) ‘Identifying effective climate change education strategies: A systematic review of the research’, Envi­ ronmental Education Research, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 791–812. National Science Foundation [NSF]. (n.d.) ‘NSF award search MADE CLEAR, CCEP-II award abstract #1239758’. Retrieved from: www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/ showAward?AWD_ID=1239758 Ojala, M. (2012) ‘Hope and climate change: The importance of hope for environmen­ tal engagement among young people’, Environmental Education Research, vol. 18, no. 5, pp. 625–642. Penuel, W., Fishman, B., Yamaguchi, R., & Gallagher, L. (2007) ‘What makes professional development effective? Strategies that foster curriculum implementation’, American Edu­ cational Research Journal, vol. 44, no. 4, pp. 921–958. Plutzer, E., & Hannah, A. L. (2018) ‘Teaching climate change in middle schools and high schools: Investigating STEM education’s deficit model’, Climatic Change, vol. 149, pp. 305–317. Plutzer, E., McCaffrey, M., Hannah, A. L., Rosenau, J., Berbeco, M., & Reid, A. H. (2016) ‘Climate confusion among U.S. teachers’, Science, vol. 351, no. 6274, pp. 664–665. Porter, D., Weaver, A. J., & Raptis, H. (2012) ‘Assessing students’ learning about fundamen­ tal concepts of climate change under two different conditions’, Environmental Education Research, vol. 18, no. 5, pp. 665–686.

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Rivet, A. (2006) ‘Using transformative research to explore congruencies between science reform and urban schools’, in S. Barab, K. Hay, & D. Hickey (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th international conference of the learning sciences, pp. 578–584. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Sezen-Barrie,A., Miller-Rushing,A., & Hufnagel, E. (2019) ‘It’s a gassy world: Starting with students’ wondering questions to inform climate change education’, Environmental Educa­ tion Research, Online First, pp. 1–22. Shea, N., Mouza, C., & Drewes,A. (2016) ‘Climate change professional development: Design implementation, and initial outcomes on teacher learning, practice, and student beliefs’, Journal of Science Teacher Education, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 235–258. Siegner, A., & Stapert, N. (2019) ‘Climate change education in the humanities classroom: A case study of the Lowell school curriculum pilot’, Environmental Education Research, Online First, pp. 1–21. U.S. Department of State. (2014) ‘United States climate action report’. Retrieved from: www.globalchange.gov/browse/reports/us-climate-action-report-2014 U.S. Global Change Research Program [USGCRP]. (2009) ‘Climate literacy:The essential principles of climate science’. Retrieved from: www.globalchange.gov/browse/reports/ climate-literacy-essential-principles-climatescience-high-resolution-booklet Walsh, E. M., & Tsurusaki, B. K. (2017) ‘“Thank you for being Republican”: Negotiating science and political identities in climate change learning’, Journal of the Learning Sciences, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 1–41. Wibeck, V. (2014) ‘Enhancing learning, communication, and public engagement about climate change: Some lessons from recent literature’, Environmental Education Research, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 387–411. Wise, S. B. (2010) ‘Climate change in the classroom: Patterns, motivations, and barriers to instruction among Colorado science teachers’, Journal of Geoscience Education, vol. 58, no. 5, pp. 297–309.

7 BECOMING A PERSISTENT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY FOR INFORMAL EDUCATORS ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE A story from two perspectives Cathlyn Davis Stylinski, Joe E. Heimlich, Lesley Bensinger, Sharon Bowen, Sarah Milbourne, Bart Merrick, Christopher Petrone, and Mark Scallion This chapter tells the story of one educator professional-development project through two voices – the facilitators and the participants. It began with a thor­ oughly mapped-out approach and targeted outcomes, all enumerated long before the participants appeared. However, this powerful story only exists because those plans did not sufficiently mesh with the needs and desires of these participants.This chapter starts – not at the beginning – but far into the journey, when the funding and facilitation ended. It describes how the educators transitioned to independence and concludes with their recommendations, which can help others successfully navigate this impactful yet challenging pathway. The chapter was crafted using the filtered narrative approach to collaboratively develop and tell this story (Mafdes, 2004).The co-writers were two of the five pro­ ject facilitators with extensive experience in educator capacity-building, as well as six members of more than 30 in the professional development community.The mem­ bers were three men and three women from two states, and together worked for a zoo, non-profit conservation organization, state university, federal agency, and two state park agencies. All participated in the professional development community for at least three years.These members interviewed one another, and then drafted narra­ tives of their partner’s engagement in the professional development.After asking the members a few follow-up questions, the two facilitators wove the stories together using the voices of the member-writers as much as possible while allowing for a cohesive narrative.They added a short prologue to set the stage for the dramatic plot shift and transition to independence. As a final step, the six members who lived the experience fact-checked the draft, and all helped edit for fluidity and comprehension.

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Prologue – the facilitator perspective Afterschool programs, museums, aquariums, zoos, parks, and other informal sci­ ence education venues provide key opportunities to engage diverse audiences in discussions about climate change (Koepfler et al., 2010; Geiger et al., 2017). The task of engaging and possibly shifting behavior of these diverse audiences falls to informal education staff at these institutions. However, many are ill-prepared to tackle this complex and often polarizing issue (Stylinski et al., 2017).While a few training programs specifically support informal educators on interpretation of complex socioscientific issues such as climate change (e.g., Kolsto, 2001; Pedretti, 2004; Spitzer, 2014; Krasny et al., 2017), many informal educators must rely on selfdirected learning to support and expand their programming efforts (Castle, 2006; Bevan and Xanthoudaki, 2008). As part of a larger NSF-funded project to improve climate change education in Maryland and Delaware, our facilitation team planned a professional develop­ ment experience that targeted regional informal educators. We first surveyed this population to understand their needs and experiences (Stylinski et al., 2017). Based on this work, we developed a two-year traditional top-down program that cen­ tered on applying critical thinking and reflective practice to support professionals in initiating and refining their climate change education efforts. We intended to begin the training in Fall 2012.To promote the training and get feedback for minor refinements, we held a kick-off meeting nine months earlier with a small group of invited regional educators. The group responded very positively to the overall training goal, but a heated discussion quickly ensued over the implementation plan. Many expressed frustration with the delayed time frame, calling for much more immediate support. There was also strong consensus with regard to the extensive existing expertise in the room, and thus the group wanted greater integration of opportunities to learn from each other. However, opinions of how the professional development should proceed and what outcomes it might produce were quite mixed. Some called for group-based structured training that would enhance indi­ vidual pedagogical skills and content knowledge. Others wanted to collaboratively develop climate change education resources, while a few set their sights high, push­ ing to create and implement across-institution messaging around climate change. As a facilitation team, we reflected on their feedback, our prior experience, and the literature. From this, we determined an approach based on the community of practice framework would offer the needed flexible structure coupled with a strong emphasis on relationship building. A community of practice (CoP) is defined by a shared domain of interest (such as climate change education) and consists of mem­ bers who interact regularly to discuss, share and help each other, and, ultimately, build a shared practice from exchanging “experiences, stories, tools, [and] ways of addressing recurring problems” (Wenger-Traynor & Wenger-Traynor, 2015, p. 2).). However, in response to members’ diverse backgrounds, needs and intentions, we significantly expanded the typical CoP framework beyond relationship building to include two additional components – structured training and collaborative resource

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development (a thorough review and discussion is provided in Stylinski et al., in review). With this adapted CoP framework, structured training on memberselected topics occurred through formalized lessons and presentations, which sought to introduce pedagogical strategies, including some understanding of foun­ dational theory. Collaborative resource development primarily occurred through a mini-grant program with two or more members proposing and implementing small, innovative education ventures (after receiving community approval). Using this “three pronged framework,” we held the first CoP meeting within two months of the kick-off meeting and maintained quarterly one- to two-day meetings for the next five years (all supported by the NSF funds).Throughout this period, the community was opened to all regional informal educators seeking to improve their practice. Members could participate at any level that fit their needs and availability; meeting attendance was covered with travel funds when needed. As facilitators, we provided extensive support in the context of each of the three prongs of our expanded CoP framework.We guided and helped but did not dictate the direction of the community or its targeted outcomes.We were immersed fully in the community, often leading structured trainings, organizing and monitoring small group projects, and participating in community activities. Initially, we gently encouraged members to take on leadership positions (e.g., host a meeting); how­ ever, in the final two years of the five-year effort, we increasingly required mem­ bers to take over the mantle. Members rose to this challenge, eventually planning and leading all meetings, developing a vision document for long-term community sustainability, and creating a new name and logo for their ongoing community of practice that continues beyond the funding period. While we facilitated these activities, the CoP members did the bulk of the work, committing vast time and energy to foster relationships, building the shared practice, and improving and extending their climate change education efforts. Ulti­ mately, these members decided to maintain their community beyond the funded period, and, for the foreseeable future, to continue with the expanded CoP frame­ work (see Stylinski et al., in review). As of this writing, they remain active, includ­ ing holding in-person meetings and collaborating on grant proposals, more than a year-and-a-half after funding has ceased.

Pathway to persistence – the community perspective We are six educators with very different jobs in different organizations and agencies.What we share here is being a part of the slow evolution from a funded effort, the Informal Climate Change Education (ICCE) community, to an independent com­ munity of practice, which we re-branded as the Partners Advancing Climate Change Education (PACCE) community. What follows are our collective impressions of being part of this process, reflecting back over our engagement and reflecting forward to what PACCE might be.These reflections provide insight into our com­ munity’s transition to independence, but they do not necessarily represent perspec­ tives of the more than 30 members of our community.

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Community of practice formation We became part of this story through different avenues including invitations by members of the facilitation team and requests from our bosses. But we all came with both specific and shared needs and a desire to determine whether our partici­ pation was worth the effort. A few of us had a solid grasp of climate change – participating and even leading related education workshops over the years. But others felt ill-equipped or com­ fortable speaking on this topic and lacked time to keep abreast of the latest climate change research.We lacked the confidence and skills needed to refute visitors and program participants whose views on climate change are grounded in beliefs, mis­ conceptions, and not the best-available scientific data – i.e., the climate deniers. For some, the challenge was in trying to develop programs for new and unfamiliar audiences (e.g., urban communities). One of us recalled being thrilled to be with a group of people knowledgeable about climate change and hungry to learn more. While we had a clear need for training on this topic, we initially entered the ICCE CoP with mixed feelings and an overall lack of confidence in the value of a community or network dedicated to climate change education. Early on, for example, one of us remembered meeting good people, obtaining useful content, and gleaning inspiration from hearing about other community members’ programs, but being conflicted about whether these benefits outweighed the time investment. This investment was questionable for others who came from institutions not cur­ rently focused on climate change education. Furthermore, the CoP’s mission was not clearly laid out, and this lack of clarity made some of us wonder what we and our institutions were getting out of participation. But, despite this, we retained a sense that this multi-year project could lead to some interesting places, discussions, and opportunities. So along with many others, we continued to attend meetings and remained opened to seeing where the path led. Eventually, we and other members discovered the value of the ICCE CoP pro­ fessional development approach to enhance our individual and joint climate change education efforts. While we entered with an existing appreciation of structured training and collaborative resource development, we grew to appreciate the time to build and strengthen relationships with other informal educators. Overall, we have learned that participation in the community can lead to many professional and personal benefits that come from joint activities, discussions, and exchanges about climate change education strategies, challenges, and opportunities. Different experiences produced this “aha” moment. For some, the shift in per­ spective and strong commitment came after a camp-like meeting in the western Maryland mountains that included releasing monarch butterflies and learning how climate change impacts their remarkable migration effort, as well as adapting popular board games to explore climate change. For the latter, one of us recalled the ensuing hilarity, which was not just useful but also restorative – a common but not always appreciated need amongst educators. Likewise, one of us described the butterfly release as a magical event that helped her realize we were not a work-group but

100 Cathlyn Davis Stylinski, et al.

truly a community of people participating in restorative learning experiences that were also just plain fun! For another one of us, a workshop on climate-messaging from a related project (National Network of Climate Change Interpreters) prompted this shift in perspective, as it led him to collaboratively try out new practices with other community members. The CoP provides an incubator for new ideas; one of us described how she built on practices and resources shared by a guest speaker to write a successful mini-grant ICCE proposal in collaboration with several other members, which resulted in a sustained climate-change-based compost education program. For these reasons and more, we all kept coming back, increasingly discovering that the community had become a significant element in our work as educators.

Leadership transfer We knew from the start that our newly stable and functioning community would eventually lose funding and facilitation support. This created a growing urgency, which forced our membership to recognize that we had to choose between tak­ ing on leadership or dropping the community altogether. Most of us were anxious about transitioning from them (the facilitators) to us (the members). How could we possibly continue without the strong leadership of the past? Would we be able to pull off effective meetings and community events if no one was being paid to keep things going? Fortunately, the facilitation team prepped us early enough and regularly through­ out the project so that we could effectively plan while still receiving extensive support. They also laid out the groundwork to support the transition. For exam­ ple, they formed a sustainability committee during the third year, which gave us the luxury of planning thoughtfully and having time to debate and re-debate the tough questions like,“Who should be considered a member? How is membership maintained? Are we a community of institutions or a community of individuals, and how does that affect recruitment of new members?”With the support of the facilitation team and an external consultant, we had the good fortune of working through different approaches to organizing meetings so that we could reflect on how to continue, what might be fun, what might work or not, etc. There was a good distribution of roles throughout the community leadership transition, which helped us take over various tasks necessary to run the community. These included establishing and maintaining organization structures, managing and supporting small groups focused on specific tasks, and carrying out strategic planning efforts. It also included planning and implementing future community meetings and other related events. In addition to support from the facilitators for this transition, we came to realize that many of us had transferrable skills and interests from our own work that were key in sustaining the community. Some of us wanted to address the more abstract aspects of community leadership transi­ tion (e.g., developing visioning documents), while others felt more comfortable supporting logistical tasks and stepping forward to take ownership of upcoming

Becoming a community for educators


in-person and online meetings, including recruiting speakers, creating agendas, and securing meeting space. A few members emerged as natural leaders, full of energy and a “go-getter” spirit, driven by a desire to keep the community going. The facilitator-to-member leadership transition was smooth in part because many members seemed to feel comfortable trusting a smaller group to make some of the big picture decisions about structuring the community – representational democ­ racy, so to speak. Furthermore, other members stepped up here and there to fill in gaps and needs not covered by this smaller group. Overall, not any one person was doing everything; it was a shared task, and there were folks happy to step into behind-the-scenes roles, as well as those that were front and center. For the process of the transition, we first wanted to determine our goals, approach, membership, etc.We spent a lot of time on a guiding document and cir­ cled around the big picture questions for what felt like a long time.We also started thinking about what being a member of the community meant, which we drafted in some preliminary documents. It was not until after we became more cohesive that we started thinking about missions, visions, and necessary high-level actions. During the funded period, this visioning process was supported by the external consultant who brought deep knowledge of the community and was trusted by members, as she was a former participant before making a career shift. She helped prepare and facilitate our last two meetings with a focus on determining how the community would proceed in the near future. She got us into groups with some working on the next meeting logistics, while others attended to the more abstract action items. In general, we felt that, because of the foundation and progress of the origi­ nal ICCE community, the re-branded PACCE community was well positioned to carry on under our new leadership.This included following the three-pronged CoP framework: community (i.e., relationship building), content (e.g., structured training and guest presenters), and collaboration (i.e., jointed product-based efforts), which already drove the structure of every meeting (and frankly had come to be expected). A lot of momentum was built up during the facilitated portion of the CoP (i.e., the ICCE community), and that momentum continues to carry us as a group as we grow into the PACCE community. Overall, we feel the transition in leadership was very smooth.

Why continue the CoP? As members, we have invested a lot of time in getting the community to be fully functional, and it just makes sense to keep learning and working together.We con­ tinue today because there is still so much to learn about climate change educa­ tion, and the community gatherings always bring something new, like exposure to behavioral science, that we might not have realized can improve our work. And, there is the benefit of camaraderie and shared experiences.All of these contributed in important ways to our growth as educators.We value the professional friendships strengthened or started through participation in the CoP.

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The potential of this type of community is that it creates a real sense of being “in this together,” which is empowering.We value the diversity of perspectives of colleagues from different institutions (e.g., state and federal government agencies, nature centers, zoos), which can vary dramatically in terms of the role of climate change education in their missions. Because challenges related to topics like climate change can be emotionally exhausting for educators and communicators, the sup­ port of a network for venting frustrations, sharing success, and collaborating on projects is critical to avoid burnout. Being able to engage with thoughtful, hard­ working, and dedicated individuals is, in some ways, the most important and lasting benefit of being a member of the community. The overarching goal of our CoP was and continues to be to help each other more successfully communicate about climate change. We do still have different perspectives on how we might proceed as a community.That is, while many of us are looking for individual improvements, some of us are committed to the idea of working toward communicating the same messages to constituents, so they start to hear it regularly and can better understand its importance.We need to continue to reflect on the direction and growth of the PACCE community.We do all agree that the stronger the relationships between members of our community, the better the chance we have for all to succeed. Most of us feel there is still so much to be learned and that coming back is important; thus, sustaining the community is key. As we continue with the PACCE community, we have seen that the level of participation fluctuates, just as it did during our facilitated phase. A core group makes things happen, planning the meetings and the speakers, and telling the rest where and when to show up; such a group is essential to sustaining the commu­ nity. But other members do contribute to this work as well.The lack of funds does make it harder for some to participate; but for the most part, the CoP still feels strong and supported as we move forward beyond the funded period.As one of us cautioned, we have to take care to ensure that PACCE does not devolve into a club or clique, which could happen given our initial self-selecting group with an exten­ sive history formed during the grant-funded phase of the community’s founding. We need to regularly find ways to grow our group, as we have much to gain from this growth and the input of new as well as current members.This should not be problematic, as climate literacy is a very lively space and the demand for trained educators remains high.

Lessons to share Having been part of a CoP that moved from being formed as part of a funded pro­ ject to being an ongoing, self-sustaining community, we have learned a lot. Here are some of the key elements we feel can help other CoPs sustain beyond initial facilitation: •

It is important to have a shared resolution and desire to make the CoP happen.We feel inspiration is key – we get it from experiences, friendships, and

Becoming a community for educators


knowledge. Equally important is passion! If you care about the community and the subject for convening (e.g., climate change education), it fosters the will to continue to work together despite significant challenges and competing demands. We believe our community would not have sustained a transition in leader­ ship if the membership was primarily made up of individuals at entry levels in their organizations who lacked the confidence that often develops through substantial work experience. Thus, it is important to have members who work at different levels within their organizations involved in building and maintaining a CoP. It is important to build trust among community members and to maintain good communication between the members.A key component of this trust is enjoyment of each other’s company and a desire to learn from each other. A productive way to build trust is to make sure everyone in the community has a voice and the opportunity to take the reins to lead the group in some way. A community must maintain openness to growth and evolution with ongoing efforts to recruit new members. Our PACCE community could easily become a closed group with fairly narrow dialogue, sharing amongst members and groups of members – but we regularly challenged ourselves to push against this. Because community is important, members need to regularly reflect on how their CoP can continue to evolve and reach out to others. It is important to be on a path to growth with the ability to openly offer connec­ tions to new members.Within the PACCE community, we need to consider ways to address limitations of others who cannot attend in-person meetings due to time, distance or funding constraints.

Conclusion – shared viewpoints In conclusion, we all agree that participation in the ICCE/PAACE community has absolutely had professional and personal impacts on us – for both facilitators and members. Despite the lack of funding and external facilitation, the com­ munity members remain enthusiastically connected to this CoP – planning and implementing meetings, collaborating with community members, and serving as a resource for new and exciting climate change education projects.Working together in the CoP has made for much stronger partnerships than would have been real­ ized in any other professional development setting. We all deeply believe that the stronger the relationships among community members, the better the chance we have to succeed. We believe the three-pronged CoP framework used in our community can be applied in other regions and for other informal educators.To succeed and sustain, an expansion of this approach should align with our recommendations with any adaptations appropriate for the people involved. But perhaps the key to ensur­ ing a group of people can come together, struggle together, and then emerge as a strong community is starting with a diverse collection of educators.The diversity of

104 Cathlyn Davis Stylinski, et al.

practices coming together made for a much stronger shared practice – something we hoped might happen, and in retrospect realized is what allowed this amazing community to emerge and for all of us to learn together.

Acknowledgements We thank the other facilitation partners who supported this project (Deborah Was­ serman, Sasha Palmquist, Renae Youngs, Jenna Linhart, and Cassie Doty), as well as the many ICCE/PACCE community members. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant number DRL – 1422099.

References Bevan, B., & Xanthoudaki, M. (2008) ‘Professional development for museum educators: Unpinning the underpinnings’, Journal of Museum Education, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 107–119. Castle, M. C. (2006) ‘Blending pedagogy and content:A new curriculum for museum teach­ ers’, Journal of Museum Education, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 123–132. Geiger, N., Swim, J. K., & Fraser, J. (2017) ‘Creating a climate for change: Interventions, efficacy and public discussion about climate change’, Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 51, pp. 104–116. Koepfler, J.A., Heimlich, J. E., & Yocco,V. S. (2010) ‘Communicating climate change to visi­ tors of informal science environments’, Applied Environmental Education and Communica­ tion, vol. 4, no. 9, pp. 233–242. Kolsto, S. D. (2001) ‘Scientific literacy for citizenship: Tools for dealing with the sci­ ence dimension of controversial socioscientific issues’, Science Education, vol. 85, no. 3, pp. 291–310. Krasny, M. E., Li, Y., Danter, E., Ferguson, A. U., & Gupta, R. (2017) Social innovation in environmental education: Results and lessons learned from a five-year professional development program. Ithaca, NY and Washington, DC: Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab and North American Association for Environmental Education. Retrieved from: http://yueyuelee. me/uploads/3/4/5/3/34534561/krasny_et_al_social_innovation_report2.pdf Mafdes,T. J. (Ed.) (2004) What’s fair got to do with it: Diversity cases from environmental educators. San Francisco, CA:WestEd. Pedretti, E. G. (2004) ‘Perspectives on learning through research on critical issues-based sci­ ence center exhibitions’, Science Education, vol. 88, no. S1, pp. 534–547. Spitzer, B. (2014) ‘Shaping the public dialogue on climate change’, in D. Dalbotten, G. Roehrig, & P. Hamilton (Eds.), Future earth – Advancing civic understanding of the Anthro­ pocene: Geophysical monograph 203, pp. 89–98. Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Stylinski, C., Heimlich, J. E., Palmquist, S.,Wasserman, D., & Youngs, R. (2017) ‘Alignment between informal educator perceptions and audience expectations of climate change education’, Applied Environmental Education and Communication, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 34–46. Stylinski, C., Wasserman, D., Heimlich, J. E., Palmquist, S., & Linhart, J. (In review) ‘Using community-of-practice framework to build a sustained self-facilitated learning community of informal educators tackling climate change education’, Journal of Environmental Education. Wenger-Traynor, E., & Wenger-Traynor, B. (2015) ‘Introduction to communities of practice: A brief overview of the concept and its uses’. Retrieved from: http://wenger-trayner. com/introduction-to-communitiesof-practice/


Introduction Educator professional organizations provide support for the teaching of climate change in a range of ways. They provide curriculum materials, offer professional development, advocate for the profession, and author position papers describing and defending appropriate practice.These organizations strive to define the nature and culture of practice in the field of education.This chapter will describe the role of member-benefit professional associations in climate change education primarily through cases of two such organizations, the National Science Teaching Associa­ tion (NSTA, formerly the National Science Teachers Association) and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT). Both of these organizations focus on the teaching of science, thus the chapter will attend specifically to the role of sci­ ence education professional associations. In the late 2010s, both organizations were engaged in efforts to more strongly support the teaching of climate change. As both organizations are science educa­ tion organizations, the efforts focused largely on the physical science of climate change, but efforts by both groups recognized that developing deep understand­ ings of climate change requires more than simply knowing the relevant physi­ cal science. In September of 2018, NSTA released a position statement, “The Teaching of Climate Science” (NSTA Position Statement, 2018), along with supporting documents that address some of the social science issues that make teaching this content a different kind of challenge than teaching photosynthesis, for example (NSTA: Climate Science Resources, n.d.; Pyle et al., 2018). Both organizations supported their members’ participation in the March for Science, with NAGT’s Advocacy Committee developing resources for marchers and its leadership actively participating in marches around the country (NAGT, 2017;

106 Don A. Haas and Eric J. Pyle

NSTA, 2018). Both organizations also offer substantial collections of teaching resources to their members, and their publications address strategies and activities for teaching about climate and energy.This chapter will discuss the range of sup­ ports offered by such organizations. The authors of this chapter have leadership experience in both organizations and in their work on climate and energy education. Pyle chaired the writing committee for the NSTA Position Paper on Teaching Climate Science and has served on the NSTA Board of Directors. He also serves as President of NAGT’s Teacher Education Division and NAGT Liaison to NSTA. Haas is past President of NAGT and Chair of its Advocacy Committee. He also served with Pyle on the NSTA Position Statement writing committee and has served on NSTA’s Sci­ ence Education Research Committee. Both Pyle and Haas were also members of the Earth and Space Science Design Team for A Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Research Council, 2011), an initiative supported by both organizations.

Types of organizations There are a number of different types of professional organizations. Both NSTA and NAGT are member-benefit professional associations and both have the IRS clas­ sification of being 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organizations. Member-benefit organizations exist primarily to create value for members. This is frequently done through offering products and services to members including networking opportunities, professional development programming, publications, and advo­ cacy on behalf of the membership. Both NSTA and NAGT engage in all of these activities. Other types of professional organizations include: • • •

Designation-granting organizations, which are similar to member-benefit organizations but also offer one or more designations to members Certifying organizations, which focus on designation as a product Professional regulatory bodies, which exist primarily to protect the public interest rather than serve the interests of those professionals being regulated (National Research Council, 2011)

This chapter focuses primarily upon the work of member-benefit professional associations that also have the IRS classification of 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organizations. This describes most educator professional organizations, as well as most scientific societies. It is also where the authors’ experiences lie.Table 8.1 lists several examples of member-benefit professional associations that are also 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organizations.

Working the professional organizations


TABLE 8.1 Examples of member-benefit professional associations that are also 501(c)(3)

nonprofit charitable organizations • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

American Anthropological Association www.americananthro.org/ American Association for the Advancement of Science www.aaas.org/ American Chemical Society www.acs.org/ American Educational Research Association www.aera.net/ American Geographical Society www.americangeo.org/ American Geophysical Union www.agu.org/ Association for Science Teacher Education www.theaste.org/ Geological Society of America www.geosociety.org/ National Association of Biology Teachers www.nabt.org/ National Association of Geoscience Teachers www.nagt.org/ National Association for Research in Science Teaching www.narst.org/ National Council for the Social Studies www.socialstudies.org/ National Council of Teachers of English www.ncte.org/ National Council of Teachers of Mathematics www.nctm.org/ National Earth Science Teachers Association https://serc.carleton.edu/nesta/ National Science Teaching Association www.nsta.org/ North American Association for Environmental Education www.naaee.org/

What are 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organizations? One class of 29 types of tax-exempt charitable organizations described by the International Revenue Service is 501(c)(3) organizations: The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to chil­ dren or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency. (IRS, 2018a) The IRS both defines this organization type and regulates their behavior. While 501(c)(3) organizations’ participation in political campaigns on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office is strictly prohibited by the IRS, lobbying is allowed to a limited degree (IRS, 2018b). Such an organization may not be an action organization, i.e.,“it may not attempt to influence legislation

108 Don A. Haas and Eric J. Pyle

as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activ­ ity for or against political candidates” (IRS, 2018a, emphasis added).1 Notably, member-benefit 501(c)(3) professional organizations are typically advocates for their members and for the profession of those members. As science education organizations, they logically advocate for advancing science education. Officers and employees of such organizations may meet with lawmakers to consult on legislation.This sort of advocacy is not only permitted but expected and central to the work of the organizations.There are kinds of advocacy activities that jeop­ ardize tax-exempt status.This includes advocating for specific legislation (permitted on a limited scale) and advocating for or against particular political candidates or parties (not permitted). A brief nod to 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organizations that are not member-benefit professional associations but also support the teaching of climate change is also warranted. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE, https://ncse.com/) is an organization with a very specific mission:“NCSE promotes and defends accurate and effective science education, because everyone deserves to engage with the evidence. It’s work initially specifically focused on supporting the teaching of evolution and later expanded to also include a focus on climate science” (NCSE, n.d.-a).Their efforts include cataloging and sharing statements by a range of organizations that support the teaching of climate change through their Voices for Climate Change Education project (NCSE, n.d.-b) (https://ncse.com/library­ resource/voices-climate-change-education). The website includes excerpts from statements by these organizations and links to the full text of position statements on teaching about climate change. Many of the organizations listed in Table 8.1 are included.Voices for Climate Change Education also includes US government programs’ professional scientific societies; and the United Nations Educational, Sci­ entific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Many environmental organizations also support climate change education. These are typically also 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organizations. For exam­ ple, the World Wildlife Fund (www.worldwildlife.org/) and the Audubon Society (www.audubon.org/) produce videos and other resources intended for use in the classroom. The Audubon Society also has Audubon Centers around the country that host school programs, often addressing climate change. Many environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club (www.sierraclub.org) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (www.ucsusa.org) alert their members to pending legisla­ tion that threatens to either exclude climate change from being taught or push to include false balance. One of the authors of this chapter (Haas) is Director of Teacher Programs at the Paleontological Research Institution which is a 501(c)(3) offering extensive support for the teaching of climate change, both through their public venues, the Museum of the Earth and Cayuga Nature Center, and through national programming and publications including The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Cli­ mate Change (Zabel et al., 2017).The examples listed here are just a small sample of many initiatives from many organizations.

Working the professional organizations


The cases of the National Science Teaching Association and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers The bulk of this chapter will describe efforts of two member-benefit professional organizations in science education, NSTA and NAGT. Some points of comparison for the two organizations are shown in Table 8.2. While the scales of the organizations differ substantially, with NSTA about 30 times larger than NAGT, the nature of member benefits provided by the two

TABLE 8.2 Generalized descriptions of NSTA and NAGT with selected resources that

support the teaching of climate science and climate change The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA)

The National Association of

Geoscience Teachers (NAGT)

Mission statement

NSTA’s mission is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

Website Membership Publications

www.nsta.org/ ~50,000 Science & Children, Science Scope,The Science Teacher, The Journal of College Science Teaching, Connected Science Learning

Year of incorporation Example of online climate change resource

1944 NSTA’s climate homepage has links to a range of resources related to teaching climate change, including their position statement, books, NGSS Performance Expectations related to climate, and more. www.nsta.org/climate/

Climate-related position statement

NSTA Position Statement: The Teaching of Climate Science www.nsta.org/about/ positions/climatescience. aspx (NSTA, 2018)

NAGT supports a diverse, inclusive, and thriving community of educators and education researchers to improve teaching and learning about the earth. https://nagt.org/ ~1,700 The Journal of Geoscience Education In the Trenches Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology NAGT News 1938 NAGT is a partner in the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) Collection of Educational Resources. The collection includes hundreds of peer-reviewed resources. https://cleanet. org/clean/educational_ resources/index.html NAGT Position Statement – Teaching Climate Change https://nagt.org/nagt/ policy/ps-climate.html (Buddington et al., 2008)

110 Don A. Haas and Eric J. Pyle

organizations are similar. Both organizations provide all of the following benefits to their membership: • • • • • • • • • •

Extensive curriculum resources Professional development programming (both face-to-face and online) Annual conferences Professional journals, newsletters, books, and extensive online resources Multiple member listservs State or regional affiliate organizations (which host their own conferences) Position papers on matters of import to the membership Awards Advocacy on behalf of the membership and the profession Opportunities to serve the profession

Both organizations also offer resources specific to subsets of the membership. Dif­ ferent NSTA journals serve elementary, middle, high school, and college teachers. NAGT has three divisions: Geo2YC, the Two-Year College Division; the Geoscience Education Research Division; and the Teacher Education Division. For both organizations, extensive resources and networking opportunities exists for these specialist communities. Both organizations offer their memberships resources and programming to support teaching aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (NGSS Lead States, 2013).

Professional organizations depend upon the work of volunteers While professional organizations often have paid staff and sometimes use grant funding to pay for aspects of the work, a great deal of the work of these organiza­ tions is typically completed by volunteers. Position papers are written by com­ mittees staffed by volunteers or invitees by the leadership. Conference sessions are organized and run by volunteers as well, and each organization’s officers serve as volunteers upon election by the membership.That said, such a heavy dependence on volunteers places constraints on the scope and intensity with which position statements and conference sessions can be developed. Paid staff are also generally dedicated to the organizational mission and frequently come from an organization’s and the profession’s ranks. In the case of both NSTA and NAGT, staff members often have long tenures with the organization, providing institutional memory from an insider’s perspective that may not be fully shared by volunteers, who frequently rotate out of their positions after a term of a few years.

How does NSTA support climate science education? NSTA has long provided member-developed curricular and teaching materials through its publications and through the NSTA Learning Center (more to come)

Working the professional organizations


and has a website that serves as a clearinghouse for NSTA and some non-NSTA materials in support of teaching climate science.As mentioned earlier, NSTA devel­ oped a comprehensive position statement on the teaching of climate science – writ­ ten by scientists, science teachers, and other science educators – that was published in 2018. Specifically, the statement provides guidance to not just teachers of science, but also to their supervisors and all those who would support high-quality science teaching. Position statements such as this are significant in that they are deeply con­ sidered narratives on what the membership of an organization believes and what it is willing to stake its reputation upon. The general collection of NSTA climate science resources can be found at www.nsta.org/climate. The position statement link is top on the list, but several additional internal and external resources are of interest within this collection and can serve as examples of how to format and con­ nect learning materials on climate change to an existing network. NSTA also provides support for climate science education through two actively curated and managed collections, the NSTA Learning Center and the NSTA NGSS Hub. Each of these has a different purpose while hosting or linking to web resources of value to their respective audiences.

The NSTA Learning Center Originally conceived as a professional development portal, the NSTA Learning Center (https://learningcenter.nsta.org/) has evolved into a nexus through which teachers can not only explore professional development opportunities but can also create personal collections of materials through the library functions. Member­ ship in NSTA gives complete access to journal articles, e-textbooks, podcasts, vid­ eos, position statements, and digitized versions of many text materials provided by NSTA publications.These can be custom designed for use by individual teachers, but also for student use through SciPacks and Science Objects. Considerable effort by NSTA has gone into reaching out to instructors of pre-service teachers, using the resources of the Learning Center to set new teachers on a climate-oriented teaching trajectory. A simple search of the Learning Center, using the term climate change yields over 2,500 resources. The Learning Center is a ripe opportunity for sharing high-quality instructional and professional development materials related to climate change.

The NSTA NGSS Hub Like the NSTA Learning Center, the NGSS Hub (https://ngss.nsta.org/) was designed, at least in part, as a professional development framework.The NGSS Hub, however, was specialized toward supporting the implementation of the NGSS. Pro­ fessional development is based on a progression that allows for familiarization first, seeing the standards in practice, and then guiding other teachers in implementing the standards. Workshops, seminars, videos, articles, and online tools are provided to teachers along this progression. The second role of the NGSS Hub is to guide

112 Don A. Haas and Eric J. Pyle

teachers in curriculum development based on NGSS. The Performance Expecta­ tions in NGSS were not intended as a curriculum in their own right, so guidance through professional development is needed. Specifically, the NGSS Hub links users to resources for planning and designing lessons framed around the NGSS, and also on selecting instructional materials and delivering assessments. A simple search for climate change resources, both for professional development and curriculum design, yielded 905 such resources. These directly related to both NGSS performance expectations and to illustrative case studies on the worldwide impacts of climate change. Contributions to the NGSS Hub are only relevant if they are linked to NGSS, but input to the curation network on the quality and use of the materials present is also valuable.

How does NAGT support climate change education? Activities of NAGT specific to climate change education include the development of curriculum resources, providing professional development, producing and pro­ moting position statements, advocacy and lobbying efforts, and providing oppor­ tunities to contribute to all of these efforts. Importantly, the lines between these different activities are not sharp. Participating in professional development often includes the development of curriculum resources as part of the programming. For example, participating in Congressional Visit Days (more on this to come) is not only an example of advocacy, but it is also a form of professional development. Attending an InTeGrate workshop is professional development that typically pro­ duces teaching materials. In many projects NAGT partners with other organizations and institutions. The Science Education Research Center (SERC, https://serc.carleton.edu/) is a particularly important partner in these efforts. NAGT and SERC both have their offices at Carleton College, and several staff members are shared by the two organizations.

NAGT-supported resource creation, cataloguing, sharing, and promotion NAGT directs or supports the creation, cataloguing, sharing, and promotion of a wide range of teaching resources related to climate change. The annotated list below begins with a quote from the website linked in the first sentence of each description.

The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) Portal “The CLEAN Portal was launched in 2010 as a National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Pathways project. It is led by the science education expertise of the Coop­ erative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) at the University

Working the professional organizations


of Colorado Boulder and the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Car­ leton College” (https://cleanet.org). The CLEAN collection includes more than 700 individual resources related to the teaching of climate or energy. Resources are all peer-reviewed, with at least two reviewers: one a pedagogical specialist, and the second a scientist with expertise in the content of the resource. NAGT is one of eight sponsoring organizations for the CLEAN project and is also one more than 40 “CLEAN Partners.” Partners are organizations that have worked in collaboration with CLEAN in efforts related to climate and energy edu­ cation.The partners list (https://cleanet.org/clean/community/partners.html) is a useful annotated and hyperlinked list of institutions and projects focused on climate and energy education. Haas’s employer, the Paleontological Research Institution, is also a partner. The CLEAN portal is part of a larger project – the CLEAN Network also runs weekly “telecons” (actually webinars) where climate and energy educators share resources and generally discuss their work. The calls feature formal presentations with ample time for discussion about half the time.The webinars are recorded and made available through the website.The CLEAN Network, founded in 2008, pre­ dates the portal.As of July of 2019, the network has 630 members. Haas is a founding member of CLEAN and serves on its leadership board. CLEAN is funded by grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NA14OAR0110121, NA14OAR0110120, NA12OAR4310143, NA12OAR4310142), the National Science Foundation (DUE-0938051, DUE-0938020, DUE-0937941), and the Department of Energy.

The Teach the Earth portal “The Teach the Earth portal is managed by NAGT for the benefit of all geoscience educators” (https://serc.carleton.edu/teachearth/). Teach the Earth is a portal to thousands of resources from dozens of Earth education websites. Like the CLEAN Collection, it is freely available to all. This collection is broader than just climate, covering all Earth science topics. CLEAN Collection resources are also catalogued within Teach the Earth.A search in July of 2019 yielded 1,638 matches for resources for climate change.

Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future (InTeGrate) Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future (InTeGrate) is sup­ ported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and is sponsored by the American Meteorological Society, American Geological Institute, American Geo­ physical Union, Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, Geological Society of America, Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, National Association of Geoscience Teachers, National Council for Science and the Envi­ ronment, Ocean Leadership and Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, and On the

114 Don A. Haas and Eric J. Pyle

Cutting Edge (https://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/). Note that InTeGrate sponsors include a number of professional organizations, as well as other types of organiza­ tions and institutions. InTeGrate has two major goals: “to develop curricula that will dramatically increase Earth literacy of all undergraduate students,” and,“to increase the number of majors in the geosciences and related fields who are able to work with other scientists, social scientists, business people, and policy makers to develop viable solu­ tions to current and future environmental and resource challenges” (SERC, n.d.) This work clearly includes attention to climate change. While the original NSF grant funding ended several years ago, InTeGrate has continued in the years since through other funding sources.

Other resources addressing climate education Other resources and programming that addresses climate, but not as a focus, include a rich array of professional development programming around teaching materials and publications and conferences that disseminate geoscience education research. Much of the professional development programming produces teaching materi­ als. Thus both programs and products are catalogued and described on the pro­ fessional development page of NAGT’s website (https://nagt.org/nagt/profdev/ index.html). Further, the general thrust of the organization’s mission is to enhance the teaching of Earth systems science. As NAGT’s position statement on teaching climate science notes,“climate, climate systems, and climate change are best taught in an interdisciplinary manner, integrating the many relevant sciences into a holistic curriculum approach” (Buddington et al., 2008). Thus, in some meaningful way, the collective efforts of the organization support the teaching of climate change, as climate change can only be deeply understood from a systems perspective.

NAGT engages in advocacy to support the teaching of climate Advocacy happens in a range of ways. At the most basic level, the purpose of the organization is to support geoscience education and geoscience educators. That includes advocating that geoscience, including climate science, be taught well and across the lifespan in both formal and informal settings. NAGT’s Advocacy Committee focuses on more conspicuous and traditional forms of advocacy, while attending to IRS rules governing such activity for 501(c)(3) charitable organiza­ tions. This happens through coordinating the writing of letters to state legislators when the teaching of climate change or Earth science more broadly is threat­ ened by changes in legislation. The committee chair learns of pending legislation through members reaching out and through news reports, but the most common way the chair learns of pending legislation is through emails and phone calls from staff at the National Center for Science Education (as described earlier). NAGT members also participate in Congressional Visit Days (CVD) that are coordinated for geoscience organizations by the American Geophysical Union

Working the professional organizations


(AGU).AGU’s support of CVD includes training on how to talk to legislative staff and legislators, and strategies for preparing materials to leave with legislative staff. AGU staff also handles the logistics of scheduling and coordinating visiting scien­ tists and educators into teams by state.To learn more about CVD, and to apply, see: https://sciencepolicy.agu.org/cvd/. Growing attacks on science and scientists precipitated 2017’s March for Science and the creation of the organization of that name. NAGT was an active organi­ zational participant and strongly encouraged member participation. Anne Egger, then NAGT President, spoke at the Seattle March for Science. Haas, then First Vice President served on the planning committee for the Buffalo march, and scores of other members participated in a range of ways.There were NAGT March for Sci­ ence T-shirts printed, and a March for Science website was created that included ideas for signs and activities to be done at marches.A listserv email distribution list was created, as well as a Facebook page.The April 2017 issue of NAGT’s practicefocused publication, In the Trenches, was a theme issue on promoting geoscience literacy and advocacy, and its publishing was timed to arrive in members’ mailboxes shortly before the March for Science. See the contents here: https://nagt.org/nagt/ publications/trenches/v7-n2/index.html. Access to the articles requires an active NAGT membership.

NAGT’s position statement: teaching climate change The current, and first, version of NAGT’s position statement on climate change dates to 2008 (Buddington et al.). NSTA issued their first statement on the teach­ ing of climate science in 2018. NAGT’s Advocacy Committee is now reviewing their statement with an eye toward updating it.The general content of the threeparagraph statement is still valid, though references are obviously quite dated. Since the statement’s publication, thousands of research papers and reports on climate change and climate science have been published.The body of research continues to show that climate change is real, primarily human-caused, poses serious threats to society, and that there are actions that can be taken to reduce its negative impacts. Neither the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013), nor the Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Research Council, 2011), upon which the NGSS is based, had yet been published when this statement was written. While the current statement does not strongly communicate a sense of urgency that the authors of this chapter would like included, the core recognitions within the statement are wholly appropriate. They are “(1) that Earth’s climate is chang­ ing, (2) that present warming trends are largely the result of human activities, and (3) that teaching climate change science is a fundamental and integral part of earth science education.”The concluding paragraph of the statement is reflective of good practice: NAGT further recognizes that climate, climate systems, and climate change are best taught in an interdisciplinary manner, integrating the many relevant

116 Don A. Haas and Eric J. Pyle

sciences into a holistic curriculum approach; that climate-change topics pro­ vide exceptional opportunities for students to learn how geoscientists study past, present, and future climate systems, including the essential role of com­ puter models in the assessment of global climate change scenarios; and that a current and comprehensive level of understanding of the science and teach­ ing of climate change is essential to effective education. In support of these goals, NAGT sponsors professional development programs for geoscience educators, including workshops, seminars, and teacher-scientist cooperatives, and disseminates “best teaching” practices for climate change in the Journal of Geoscience Education. (Buddington et al., 2008) NAGT’s Advocacy Committee (currently chaired by Haas) has begun discussions to both review and revise the statement and to put in place a standard timeline for reviewing and updating position statements more generally. A revised statement is expected to be completed sometime before the end of 2020.

How do you become involved and “work the professional organization”? This begins, in any organization, with becoming a dues-paying member, gain­ ing access to publications and programming and providing opportunities to shape these activities through one’s own contributions. Sharing quality offerings from the organization is also important, as is working to improve any products or programs that are problematic in some way.

The example of NSTA Most likely the first thing that most teachers think of with respect to NSTA are the conferences, or professional development institutes, that are held across the year. One of the first ways that an NSTA audience can be reached is through presenting at one of these conferences. Three regional events are held across the country in different cities in October, November, and December, while the annual meeting is held in a large city in March or April. Regional events usually attract 1,000–2,000 educators, while the annual meeting attracts up to 5,000 educators. Presenting at these conferences represents certain challenges, in that submitting a proposal is not difficult beyond a brief abstract and alignment with NGSS performance expecta­ tions, but the lead time can be daunting.Typically, proposals for fall conferences are to be submitted in the prior mid-winter, while proposals for the annual meeting are usually due nearly a year in advance of the meeting. Proposals submitted to the gen­ eral pool and not connected to a particular strand often have a stronger chance of acceptance, as they receive review based on a general benefit to teachers of science, rather than being compared to the narrow constraints of a particular, meetingspecific strand. In general, Earth science proposals tend to be under-represented,

Working the professional organizations


but affiliated organizations, such as the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA) are allotted a specific number of presentation slots at the NSTA meetings, so someone proposing a climate science or climate change session has another onramp to present, but the deadlines remain unchanged. NSTA also has a strong publications division, producing a monthly newsletter (NSTA Reports), four print journals (see Table 8.2), and an online journal (Con­ nected Science Learning). Articles submitted for peer review in these journals (except NSTA Reports) should strictly adhere to length and formatting constraints, as well as other components as required, such as classroom assessments and a demonstrated relationship to the Next Generation Science Standards. The publication lag time can be as lengthy as any journal, but special themed issues do come up. For instance, the August 2019 issue of The Science Teacher, the high school teacher journal, was focused on Earth and human activity and featured an article on teaching climate change concepts through long-term data sets.The Publications Division also over­ sees the production and sale of books for teachers of science through the NSTA store, including activity collections and curricular guides, grouped by grade level and by content area. As is the case with presentations, the print offerings in Earth and environmental science tend to be limited, making this a rich area for future contributions related to teaching climate science.

The example of NAGT Most of what is described about involvement in NSTA described above is analo­ gous to NAGT.The Earth Educators’ Rendezvous, held every summer since 2015, (https://serc.carleton.edu/earth_rendezvous/index.html) offers opportunities to par­ ticipate in a range of ways, from attending to presenting to serving as a host. NAGT also has a strong presence at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting through sponsored sessions, a booth in the exhibit hall, and the organization’s annual meeting. Participating in NAGT-affiliated professional development, such as an InTeGrate workshop, typically also means contributing to the development of curriculum resources. Curriculum resources can also be contributed to the various collections with which NAGT is affiliated, like Teach the Earth and the CLEAN Collection, and serving as a reviewer for these efforts is simultaneously making a contribution and valuable professional development. Serving on committees is an excellent way to support the organization’s work and shape its future efforts.

Other professional organizations “to work” In association with NSTA and NAGT, there is a wide array of state and regional organizations that support high-quality science education in general and teachers of science in particular, through their respective conferences, newsletters, and journal in a relatively welcoming environment. Working with these professional organizations can follow a pattern similar to working with NSTA through presentations and publi­ cations. Other opportunities include exhibiting within a booth at state organizations’

118 Don A. Haas and Eric J. Pyle

annual meetings (also available, but at a much lower cost than for NSTA conferences), as well as providing or sponsoring speakers at these conferences. Contributions such as these latter ones are especially valued, as state organizations generally lack the finan­ cial resources needed to support nationally recognized speakers and exhibitors. And while these organizations seem as though they would have a low cost-benefit ratio, the quality of the reception by the audience is substantial. Making an impact on teaching climate science, even at a grass-roots level, is possible through direct inter­ actions with teachers.The Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) and the Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANYS) are somewhat unique among state organizations, in that they do have large annual meetings and represent all of the advantages described earlier. Both host their annual meetings in the fall, with session proposals generally due in the prior spring. Planning for these meet­ ings can begin as early as three years in advance, so it is best to connect with these organizations – through activities like voting in Chicago – both early and often. The number of professional organizations in education is vast and, in many of these organizations, climate change education has not been a priority. Table 8.3 TABLE 8.3 Selected position statements from other professional organizations


Title (adoption date) and link to relevant position statement

American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)

Statement on Education for a Sustainable Future (2012) https://aapt.org/Resources/policy/Education­ for-a-Sustainable-Future.cfm None Other AERA position statements: www.aera. net/About-AERA/Position-Statements Global Climate Change (2016) www.acs.org/content/acs/en/policy/ publicpolicies/sustainability/ globalclimatechange.html Teaching About Climate Change (2019) https://nabt.org/Position-Statements-Teaching­ Climate-Change NAAEE does not have position statements, but it does have resources for policy work. https://naaee.org/our-work/programs/naaee­ policy-initiatives None NARST’s only position papers address the NGSS.They are found here: www.narst. org/ngsspapers/index.cfm

American Educational Research Association (AERA) American Chemical Society (ACS)*

National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)

National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST)

The American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT, https://teachchemistry.org) was established in 2014, as an outgrowth of the American Chemical Society. AACT does not yet have position statements.


Working the professional organizations


lists other professional organizations with links to relevant position papers, if they are available. Perhaps the two most important professional organizations to which science education professors should belong, NARST and AERA, do not have position papers addressing the teaching of climate change. As one consid­ ers where to focus their efforts, this may be seen as an opportunity. The lack of attention to one of the most important issues of our time raises concern, but organizations do change, and positive changes arise because members take action. Remember, for example, that NSTA did not have a position paper on the teaching of climate science until 2018, and NSTA’s collections of resources for teaching this essential content has grown tremendously in the last few years. Other organizations can follow suit. While NARST’s Policies and Procedures document (National Association for Research in Science Teaching, 2009) includes guidelines for the development of position papers, the only position papers on the organization’s website address the NGSS. That set of nine papers (available here: www.narst.org/ngsspapers/index. cfm) does not address climate change.

Discussion We have described a wide array of resources and programs offered by profes­ sional organizations that support the teaching of climate change. Perhaps the most effective way for an individual educator to be supported in the teaching of climate change by a professional organization is to get involved in the workings of that professional organization by volunteering. This is especially true if you are not content with the status quo and you want to see the profession and the professional organizations that support it change course. Perhaps your efforts will succeed. If not, you are at least likely to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges, and that can prepare you for future efforts at systemic change. Insti­ tutional inertia is a recognized element in why professional organizations are slow to accept positions that threaten their reputations (Diamond, 1986; Godkin and Allcorn, 2008), so understanding the natural defensiveness of professional organizations to embrace seemingly controversial positions should temper one’s expectations of rapid and substantial support from organizations such as those described earlier. Enter such interactions with the expectation of playing the “long game.” Engagement with professional organizations on a national level also often brings with it a substantial carbon footprint. While the NSTA position statement was written without a single face-to-face meeting, both of the authors of this chapter have flown frequently to participate in the activities of NSTA and NAGT. Partici­ pating in national and international conferences, in the current culture that highly values face-to-face interaction effectively requires cross-country flights on at least an annual basis. Being in the organizational leadership tends to increase this.A gath­ ering of hundreds or thousands of your colleagues is hard to reproduce virtually. While the actual sessions, workshops, and meetings can easily be done virtually,

120 Don A. Haas and Eric J. Pyle

replicating the full experience, with its often serendipitous hallway and barroom discussions has proven more challenging. Successfully changing these behaviors will likely involve changing both technol­ ogies and cultural norms. Much of the technology is in place.We, the authors, are old friends who regularly have “beer zooms,” where we pour a glass and connect via video-conferencing software. It is remarkably like sitting in your living room with a friend and having a beer. It works with somewhat larger groups as well. Haas has twice set up larger beer zooms to gather friends one last time with someone who was dying of a terminal illness. While face-to-face gatherings would have probably involved both more beer and more hugging, there was a genuine sense of being there for a friend in his last days. Doing this for professional discussions may yield more productive discussions than actual barroom meetings at conferences – you can hear your colleagues, and you have your computer on hand to take notes of the conversation! The challenge of teaching climate change in K-12 settings is great. It, along with the nature and structure of society’s energy system, has not been prominent in the curriculum. While the NGSS both brings more attention to climate and energy, and to systems and interdisciplinarity more broadly, it is still a sliver of the curriculum in most states. A 2016 study (Plutzer et al., 2016) found that high school science teachers spend an average of one to two hours per year teaching about climate change, making it on the order of 1% of the curriculum.While Earth and space sciences are framed as being as important as life and physical sciences in the NGSS as they were in 1996’s National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996), only 11% of US high school students take an Earth sci­ ence course (Lewis, 2017). Opportunities for teaching climate change at the undergraduate level have fewer hurdles, but the interdisciplinary nature of the content creates serious obstacles for an educational system so characterized by the siloed disciplines of K-16.The world and its biggest problems are interdisciplinary in nature. Schooling is not (Martina et al., 2009). Many of the avenues of support described in this chapter address this forthrightly – the position statements from both organizations dedicate substantial portions of their text to the problem and the need for interdisciplinarity, and many of the curriculum and professional development resources do so as well. The supports described here range in scale from activities lasting a few minutes to entire courses and programs of continuous professional development. Whatever you are doing related to the teaching of climate change, resources and programs from professional organizations can likely help you to do more and do it more proficiently.

Note 1 While we have tried to be cautious in describing what 501(c)(3) are and what the IRS allows them to do, the information here is not intended to take the place of consultation with the IRS or with knowledgeable attorneys.

Working the professional organizations


References Buddington, A., Stone, G., Chandler, M., & Linneman, S. (2008) Teaching climate change posi­ tion statement. National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Retrieved from: https://nagt. org/nagt/policy/ps-climate.html Diamond, M. A. (1986) ‘Resistance to change: A psychoanalytic critique of Argyris and Shoens contributions to organization theory and intervention’, Journal of Management Studies, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 543–562. Godkin, L., & Allcorn, S. (2008) ‘Overcoming organizational inertia: A tripartite model for achieving strategic organizational change’, Journal of Applied Business and Economics, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 82–94. IRS. (2018a) ‘Exemption requirements section 501(c)(3) organizations: Internal revenue service’. Retrieved from: www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/ exemption-requirements-section-501c3-organizations IRS. (2018b) ‘The restriction of political campaign intervention by section 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations: Internal revenue service’. Retrieved from: www.irs.gov/charities­ non-profits/charitable-organizations/the-restriction-of-political-campaign-interven­ tion-by-section-501c3-tax-exempt-organizations Lewis, E. B. (2017) ‘Comment: High school earth and space science should be taught by geoscientists’, EARTH Magazine, February. Retrieved from: www.earthmagazine. org/article/comment-high-school-earth-and-space-science-should-be-taught­ geoscientists Martina, C. A., Hursh, D., & Markowitz, D. (2009) ‘Contradictions in educational policy: Implementing integrated problem-based environmental health curriculum in a high stakes environment’, Environmental Education Research, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 279–297. NAGT. (2017) ‘March for science, educational advocacy’. Retrieved from: https://nagt.org/ nagt/policy/march_science.html National Association for Research in Science Teaching. (2009) ‘NARST policies & procedures manual’,NARST, p.128. Retrieved from: www.narst.org/about/2010policies_ procedures.pdf National Research Council. (1996) National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. National Research Council. (2011) A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas.Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Retrieved from: www. nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13165 NCSE. (n.d. a) About NCSE: NCSE. Retrieved from: https://ncse.com/about NCSE (n.d. b) Voices for climate change education, NCSE. Retrieved from: https://ncse.com/ library-resource/voices-climate-change-education NGSS Lead States. (2013) Next generation science standards: For states, by states. Retrieved from: www.nextgenscience.org NSTA. (2018) March for science. Retrieved from: www.nsta.org/marchforscience/ NSTA: Climate science resources. (n.d.) Retrieved from: www.nsta.org/climate/ NSTA position statement:The teaching of climate science. (2018) Retrieved from: www.nsta.org/ about/positions/climatescience.aspx Plutzer, E., McCaffrey, M., Hannah, A. L., Rosenau, J., Berbeco, M., & Reid, A. H. (2016) ‘Climate confusion among US teachers’, Science, vol. 351, no. 6274, pp. 664–665. Pyle, E., Niepold, F., Haas, D.,Wysession, M., & Manning, C. (2018) An exploration of ideas related to the understanding and teaching of climate science and climate change. Arlington, VA: National Science Teaching Association, p. 13. Retrieved from: http://static.nsta.org/

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pdfs/AnExplorationOfIdeasRelatedToTheUnderstandingAndTeachingOfClimate ScienceAndClimateChange.pdf SERC. (n.d.) About InTeGrate, about this project. Retrieved from: https://serc.carleton.edu/ integrate/about/index.html Zabel, I. H., Duggan-Haas, D. A., & Ross, R. M. (Eds.) (2017) The teacher-friendly guide to climate change. Ithaca, NY: Paleontological Research Institution.

9 APPLIED SOCIAL SCIENCE TO SCALE CLIMATE COMMUNICATIONS IMPACT William Spitzer, John Fraser, Julie Sweetland, and John Voiklis

The need for public engagement in climate change The need to increase Americans’ engagement with the issue of climate change is clear. Across the country, many municipalities are developing climate projections, risk and vulnerability assessments, climate action plans, and resilience strategies. These initiatives will increasingly rely on a climate-literate public to support adop­ tion and implementation, yet community engagement is often an underdeveloped dimension of these plans. Moreover, the average US citizen feels unprepared and reluctant to engage due to factors such as the complexity of climate change science (Attari et al., 2010), abundance of psychological “traps” (Weber and Stern, 2011), fragmentation of media (Tannen, 1999; Corbett and Durfee, 2004), and polarization of public opinion (Leiserowitz et al., 2019). Recent data from the Yale Project on Climate Communication found that 64% of Americans discuss climate change only occasionally or not at all with friends and family (Leiserowitz et al., 2019).Without a public conversation about the issue – and without an understanding of the chal­ lenges, solutions, and options before them – the public is not equipped to engage in the decisions needed to protect their communities from the negative effects of a disrupted climate system. To date, efforts to advance scientific literacy on environmental challenges have generally failed to produce the changes needed to increase community resiliency. We believe this is because of the limits inherent in focusing on individual changes in thinking or behavior, rather than working to spark change within “tiny publics” (Fine and Harrington, 2004).Tiny publics are small groups that serve as “a basis for affiliation, sources of social and cultural capital . . . [and] . . . a support point in which individuals in the group can have an impact on other groups or shape broader social discourse” (Fine and Harrington, 2004). Scientific literacy can be negotiated and grown at the level of the group (Roth and Lee, 2002; National Research Council,

124 William Spitzer, et al.

2009). Scientific literacy in a community does not require each individual to attain particular knowledge, skills, and abilities. Rather, it involves building up sufficient shared resources and distributing and organizing them so community members work in concert for overall well-being (e.g., Dewey, 1927; Roth and Lee, 2002; Ownby et al., 2014). A community-based approach to scientific literacy targeting “tiny publics” has unique strengths. It can elevate concerns shared by many in the community; uti­ lize scientific knowledge as a means to public ends; and spark deliberation, col­ laboration, and civic participation to arrive at community-level solutions that are socially acceptable, feasible, and effective (Levine, 2007; Rudolph and Horibe, 2016). This creates conditions under which communities can participate in joint meaningmaking, consistent with a “non-persuasive” approach (Fischhoff, 2007) that promotes understanding rather than advocating particular policies or actions. This helps to advance scientific literacy and civic engagement in an authentic and significant way.

The opportunity for informal science centers By activating the resources of widely trusted institutions such as aquariums, zoos, museums, and other informal science education institutions (ISEIs), we can break through obstacles such as political polarization and the perceived complexity of science and create a space for productive, fact-based climate change conversations. ISEIs can serve as conveners and facilitators, bringing together people to discuss important social and environmental issues.They can help to build relationships and trust both within and beyond their walls (Switzer and Fraser, 2018). In an era where partisanship has increased and trust in many institutions has decreased, the general public continues to view ISEIs as trusted and unbiased. Informal science education institutions increasingly recognize the importance of educating their audiences about human impacts on Earth systems. Many ISEIs with an environmental mission (including aquariums, zoos, nature centers, etc.) under­ stand that the public expects and trusts them to do so. Research has confirmed this, along with the fact that climate change is the environmental issue of most concern to the public (The Ocean Project, 2009; Fraser and Sickler, 2009; Miller, 2010; Luebke et al., 2011). A national study of ISEI visitors, conducted for the NOAA-funded Visualizing Change project (NewKnowledge.org, 2014), found that a clear majority (71%) were concerned about global climate change and most were also concerned about related issues (e.g., sea level rise and ocean acidification). Moreover, our studies indicate that members of the public who visit nature-based learning institutions (Swim et al., 2017) are more likely to share their environmental concerns with others than the non-visiting public.This suggests that educating visitors at informal learning centers would logically expand the degree to which climate information could diffuse in society than other more general communication strategies. Despite their concern, visitors generally had a weak understanding of the mechanisms at work in sea level rise, extreme weather, ocean acidification, and climate change.

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Fortunately for educators, however, 64% of visitors did not see these issues as too complicated to think about, suggesting opportunities for engaging visitors in edu­ cational conversations.

Social and cognitive barriers to engagement To make the most of opportunities to build public understanding of climate issues, ISEIs must address the cognitive, social, and psychological barriers to understanding Earth system science topics. Several factors make Earth system science particularly challenging (Gifford, 2011; Weber and Stern, 2011). Not least is the inherent com­ plexity and uncertainties associated with the behavior of complex systems. Moreover, some of the widely-shared mental models that people use to reason about unfamiliar topics can oversimplify or distort understanding of an issue (Shore, 1996). For instance, people often rely on their mental model of “pollution” to think about carbon diox­ ide emissions.The model foregrounds the role of human activity, but obscures other important facets of the issue, such as carbon dioxide’s lengthy period of persistence in the atmosphere. Nor is the educational solution a simple matter of building up basic knowledge. Public understanding of climate change lags far behind consensus of the scientific community, not merely because the public lacks information about the topic (Brechin, 2003; Kahan et al., 2012). In fact, too much information is available; and much of that information is complicated, some is contradictory or contains partial information, and data is too often presented in formats that obscure rather than clarify its meaning. Polarization of news media and fragmentation of public understanding across ideological boundaries further complicate the picture (Leiserowitz et al., 2008). Fortunately, we now have a better understanding of learning and communica­ tion, based on advances in cognitive and social science research. Starting with several federally funded projects, New England Aquarium and collaborators have incorpo­ rated new practices into how we educate visitors. Instead of simply conveying infor­ mation about Earth systems, our approach facilitates “meaning-making” – helping individuals process information relative to their lived experiences and context. This evidence-based method addresses the conceptual, psychological, and social barriers described earlier by creating new and more effective ways to activate pro­ ductive mental models for understanding Earth systems. By providing scientifically accurate and well-tested metaphoric language, ISEIs can address the conceptual complexity of Earth systems and overcome misconceptions and political polariza­ tion. By connecting to widely held values, ISEIs can help people understand what is at stake and how Earth systems connect to their daily lives. By helping people understand human impacts on Earth systems, ISEIs can help people see how their involvement makes a difference.

The potential of informal science educators Skilled interpreters (used interchangeably with “informal educators” herein) are seen by the public as well-trusted sources of information (Leiserowitz and Smith,

126 William Spitzer, et al.

2011). Interpreters can serve not merely as educators explaining Earth system sci­ ence information, but as “communication strategists” engaging in conversations with visitors based on audience research, role playing, and reflective feedback on their practice (Nisbet, 2010).They can have a disproportionate influence on public perceptions, given their: • • •

High level of commitment, knowledge, and public trust Engagement in social and professional networks Extensive contact with visitors

Interpreters can engage visitors, focus attention, and stimulate critical thinking. They can also motivate visitors to extend their experience using web and social media tools (Ballantyne and Packer, 2010).These opportunities align with Strands 1 (developing motivation and interest to learn), 2 (conceptual learning), and 6 (iden­ tity as a science learner) as identified in the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Learning Science in Informal Environments study (NRC, 2009; Fenichel and Schwe­ ingruber, 2010). By engaging with visitors in the social context of a museum visit (e.g., with friends, family, and other social groups), interpreters can help to foster scientific literacy at the level of tiny publics.

The NNOCCI approach NNOCCI has adopted Strategic Frame Analysis®, an evidence-based approach to communication developed by the FrameWorks Institute, and has created a variety of professional learning activities to build skills in strategic framing. NNOCCI pro­ vides in-depth training, called Study Circles, for informal science educators from aquariums, zoos, and science/nature centers across the US. Led by the New Eng­ land Aquarium, NNOCCI’s network structure empowers members to support and complement each other’s skills. In addition to the 180+ ISEIs in the network, our strategic partners are: • • •

Monterey Bay Aquarium: leads social media strategy, coalition-building exper­ tise, and updating and managing NNOCCI’s website, Climateinterpreter.org FrameWorks Institute: develops the evidence base for communications tech­ niques and ensures fidelity to them in training materials and activities. Knology (formerly NewKnowledge.org) assesses the system conditions sur­ rounding climate change literacy, the cultural impacts of the work, and the NNOCCI community’s impact as it radiates through their audiences. Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA): ensures alignment between NNOCCI and AZA initiatives, advises on best practices for structuring pro­ fessional development for informal educators, and facilitates dissemination to AZA member institutions. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: ensures the integrity of climate sci­ ence content and dissemination to climate scientists.

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NNOCCI was funded during 2010–2018 by two grants from the National Science Foundation through the Climate Change Education Partnership Program (www. ccepalliance.org) and continues to be supported by a mix of public and private funding sources. NNOCCI training is based on an evidence-based social science theory struc­ tured to optimize informal learning interventions. The training focuses on how to increase public understanding, self-efficacy, and support for solutions related to climate change causes and impacts. By using a collaborative study model (Study Circles) and investing in social support for the facilitators themselves, this approach helps to build an interdependent and socially supportive community of practice. Each Study Circle brings together pairs (dyads) of educators representing ten insti­ tutions from across the country with two climate scientists and three facilitators (Figure 9.1). Participants invest approximately 70 hours over 4–6 months, learning and practicing research-based communication techniques and climate science. Dyads are the smallest social unit on which human activity builds its capacity to achieve change (Simmel and Wolff, 1950), and they are demonstrably the most central unit to coping in emotionally fraught situations (Lameiras et al., 2018). More consequentially, foundational research in psychology illustrates that interde­ pendence that exists within dyads occurs when two or more individuals perceive that they can only attain their own goals if other individuals also attain their goals


Members of a NNOCCI Study Circle training program

128 William Spitzer, et al.

(Deutsch, 1949). More broadly, group members experience interdependence in terms of how willing they feel to mutually help and encourage one another, and how open they feel toward mutually influencing one another. Remarkably, after more than a century of research that shows interdependence yields several inter­ related benefits to people working, learning, or making lives together (Johnson and Johnson, 2005, 2009), most training programs bring individuals from organizations to train them and then artificially seek to create a community.Yet these trainees seldom have the social support needed to bring their changed perspectives from the training back into their primary work environments. By structuring our training program based on building stronger relationships between co-workers within a small circle, we were able to focus on building interdependence in ways that could motivate group members toward greater effort to achieve goals and, consequently, greater success with our communica­ tions strategy. By focusing the training on both the interpretation techniques and on the social interdependence of the group, we were able to generate more posi­ tive and supportive relationships between members from a wide range of regions and communities where climate change might manifest in different threats and discourses. Furthermore, feelings of positive interdependence are shown to pro­ mote psychological health and self-esteem within group members (Johnson and Johnson, 2005, 2009). These benefits of interdependence create the conditions for sustaining interdependence, which we found were central to building a com­ munity of practice. Graduates of these workshops become part of our national network in the United States. They then implement new messaging techniques at their respec­ tive institutions and train volunteers, staff, and community partners to communi­ cate using NNOCCI’s proven, evidence-based method. Network members receive continued support via webinars, network newsletters, and online social groups to share their successes and innovations, incorporate the latest science, ask for help, and improve our collective practice. Study Circles built their curriculum around skill building as a strategic framing approach to science translation (Bales and Gilliam, 2004). This approach supports more effective science communication by taking into account empirical research of non-specialists’ prior knowledge and assumptions, and then designing and testing communication strategies to translate complex science. Specific framing recom­ mendations developed by Frameworks Institute (2014) are evidence-based – mean­ ing, careful research has shown that they allow people to examine evidence, make well-informed inferences, and embrace science-based solutions: • •

By using scientifically accurate, tested language, the complexity of Earth and climate systems can be more easily understood By connecting to widely held values, such as protection and responsible man­ agement, people can be helped to understand what is at stake and how the ocean and climate connect to their daily lives

Applied social science 129

• •

By helping people understand human impacts, people will gain awareness that their involvement makes a difference By emphasizing actionable, community-level solutions, community climate action can be initiated

Participants learn to avoid predictable communications missteps, redirect unpro­ ductive conversations, and talk about the causes and consequences of climate change in ways that build public understanding and engagement in solutions thinking. This approach explains causes and consequences to orient thinking and dis­ course toward effective interventions. For example, explaining that burning fos­ sil fuels releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it acts like a heat-trapping blanket, has been shown to help non-experts think more effectively about ways to address the root cause – burning fossil fuels (FrameWorks Institute, 2014). Understanding the chain of cause and effect helps individuals to appreciate the root source of the problem and what kinds of solutions are likely to be effective.

Strategic framing in practice Table 9.1 provides an example of framing “traps” – observed habits in climate change communication that have unproductive effects on understanding – compared with NNOCCI’s reframing techniques. NNOCCI can be impactful at scale because we teach techniques that can be adapted to many climate-related topics.This is more flexible than providing a script that limits the utility of an effective message to a narrow or single context.

Outcomes of network development A network model for social change NNOCCI uses a network model to create lasting social change, measuring its impact by monitoring the growth of a community of practice (Wenger et al., 2011).Traditionally a single organization would try to create meaningful change, but a consensus is forming that networks are better suited to driving lasting social change. For example, as Kania and Kramer wrote in their 2011 Stanford Social Innovation Review article about collective impact, “There is scant evidence that isolated initiatives are the best way to solve many social problems in today’s com­ plex and interdependent world” (p. 38). And, as Plastrik and co-authors described in Connecting to Change the World, generative social impact networks can create “unique and renewable capacity” for “taking on complex, unpredictable problems like climate change . . . which won’t yield to a silver-bullet solution” (Plastrik et al., 2014, p. 6).

TABLE 9.1 A comparison of climate change framing traps vs. NNOCCI’s strategic framing

technique Framing Traps • Focus on intrinsic value of animals (“cute critters”) • Invoke a crisis to raise alarm • Focus on individual consumer actions (“Do one thing to help the planet”)

CUTE CRITTERS: We hope you are enjoying the penguins at the aquarium.These animals have many adaptations that make them uniquely suited to thrive in their cold water habitats in the southern hemisphere.Their feathers keep them warm in cold water, and their fast swimming speed and agility enable them to catch fish. CRISIS: Unfortunately, these adorable animals are close to extinction due to many threats in the wild including climate change, overfishing, predation by introduced species, and loss of habitat due to coastal development. INDIVIDUAL ACTION: You can do your part to help the environment and help penguins by recycling, using LED light bulbs, or taking public transportation. If everyone does one thing, we can save the penguins.

NNOCCI Reframing • Invoke a commonly held value (e.g., protection from harm, responsible management) • Explanatory tone, using metaphors to explain the science that links the problem and the solution • Focus on civic action (action matches the scale of the problem) VALUE: We hope you are enjoying the penguins at the aquarium. Like many people, we at the aquarium believe in safeguarding their habitats from harm – because the penguins depend on those places, and so do we. SCIENCE EXPLANATION: Our use of fossil fuels – like coal, oil, and natural gas – for our energy needs is affecting their habitat. Burning fossil fuels releases excess carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In the atmosphere, CO2 acts like a heat-trapping blanket, preventing Earth’s heat from escaping, which warms the planet, including the ocean.This matters because many animals thrive in very specific temperature ranges.As the ocean’s temperature increases, some species are moving toward the poles or to deeper waters, disrupting the food chain as predators are having trouble finding their prey. Penguins, like the ones you see here today, are finding that their food sources are shifting. COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS The key to protecting our planet is reducing our fossil fuel consumption at a community level. Fortunately for us we have Solarize MA.This program helps more people switch to solar-powered electricity systems by leveraging community engagement to lower purchase prices. Fifty-eight communities have already joined this effort.You can share what you’ve learned with your town and connect them with the step-by-step plan for getting involved. Switching to renewable energy helps us and it protects penguins!

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Emotional and social challenges Research supporting the development of NNOCCI has contributed to an emerg­ ing body of international scholarship that indicates that ISEI visitors are, overall, interested in and open to learning and guidance on appropriate actions they can take (The Ocean Project, 2009; Fraser and Sickler, 2009; Miller, 2010; Luebke et al., 2011). NNOCCI research revealed that visitors to ISEIs are more likely to be con­ cerned about climate change than the general public, to engage in environmentally protective behaviors, to vote, to be more educated, and to speak with others on these issues (Geiger et al., 2017).At the start of the NNOCCI initiative, these visi­ tors were not well versed in the causes and implications of climate change, but they were willing to learn. The project research team found that NNOCCI training participants overesti­ mate the amount of denial, disinterest, and lack of knowledge they will encounter among those who visit their institutions (Swim and Fraser, 2014). Project research­ ers discovered that prior to joining the NNOCCI community, educators, exhibit designers, and facilitators at ISEIs struggled with a diminished sense of self- efficacy with respect to their ability to share climate change information in ways that could empower their public audiences.These ISEI career professionals worried that their discussions of climate change left audiences confused, alienated, guilty, and resigned. Consistent with prior research into the negative emotional impact of under­ standing environmental degradation (Fraser et al., 2013), before joining NNOCCI, educators and scientists describe several emotional factors that lead them to overly self-edit or limit the amount they talk about climate change. They often feel that climate change apathy and denial are widespread and climate change issues are too complex to clearly explain. In turn, these perceptions diminish communicators’ confidence that they will be perceived to be valuable informational resources by public audiences in ISEI settings. Educators and scientists even reported limited desire and intention to discuss these topics among family and friends. Prior to join­ ing NNOCCI, these communicators felt that the topic of climate change was so tragic as to seem discordant with the public’s expectations for an ISEI visit. Aside from worries about visitor responses, these skilled environmental educa­ tors and scientists also mentioned feeling personally overwhelmed by the scale and scope of what climate change will bring. Eager to avoid conflict and ensure that audiences enjoy their learning experience, many environmental educators and scientists in these settings revealed that they tend to avoid topics they perceive to be controversial and heavy, even if communicating about the topic is part of their job goals.

Emotional and social supports Acknowledging the emotional complexity of climate interpretation, the NNOCCI training model featured two unique systems to help members. First, the training affirmed the emotional challenges of climate change communication work. Second,

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as noted in the dyad model, NNOCCI focused on the centrality of social support as a keystone of the training and created a dynamic professional network of alumni to sustain educators and scientists engaged in climate change communication work long after their training ended.

Peer feedback To sustain this outlook and ground their efforts after participants complete their training program, the NNOCCI network has become a dynamic resource that functions as a supportive community of practice reinforcing the importance of telling the story of climate change as the story of an empowered local public.The peer network aims to increase the self-efficacy of educators and scientists who: 1) recognize that climate change communication work is emotionally challenging and characterized by common emotional barriers, and 2) are committed to shar­ ing effective techniques for improving self-efficacy and public dialogue outcomes. The project research team demonstrated that educators and scientists who pair up with a co-worker to participate in NNOCCI training on behalf of their insti­ tution are more likely to become engaged members of the network. The paired learning model ensures that these participants scaffold one another, compare notes, and are more likely to achieve the goals they set for their work. Learning pairs are also more likely to share ideas and suggestions in the NNOCCI collaborative space. The research team has demonstrated that this aspect of partnership reflects the importance of social support and opportunities for transparent and reflective information-sharing among professionals whose responsibilities include engaging the public around complex socio-ecological issues. In 2018, a comprehensive social network analysis revealed that the NNOCCI community is cohesive (Voiklis et al., 2019). Potential boundaries such as members’ institution types, departments, geographies, or regional differences do not cause divisive differences in the community’s work. NNOCCI has a very positive, decen­ tralized structure that distributes in-network power among many people – a hall­ mark of effective and healthy communities of practice and social impact networks (Wenger, 1998; Plastrik et al., 2014). Results from that survey (Figure 9.2) showed that 86% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that NNOCCI exists as a community. Levels of agreement on additional items clearly demonstrate that group members had a significant sense of their interdependence and its downstream effects on the success of the community. Importantly, community members did not consider mutual help as a burdensome obligation: “Members of the NNOCCI community have an obligation to work together to help other members.”

A community of practice Today, NNOCCI is more than a group of alumni from the training. It’s a community of practice – a learning partnership among professionals who can


Mean responses to a NNOCCI community-wide social network survey

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better advance their work together rather than individually (Wenger, 1998).This community of practice is a core component of the NNOCCI strategy that helps NNOCCI members continue to play critical roles in their communities’ response to climate change. NNOCCI has helped its members conceptualize visitors in ISEIs as supportive and willing advocates for climate change solutions.This alternative understanding seems to allow members to see their communication work as an important creative process that involves adapting relevant tools and techniques to suit the interests and existing knowledge of these potentially powerful audiences. NNOCCI has grown into a large network of connected members characterized by equal opportunities to participate, lead, and learn. The NNOCCI model has succeeded by creating a positive feedback loop encouraging robust conversations about climate change among professionals who work in different regions with dif­ ferent public audiences.

The importance of hope Hope is the perception that we have the capability to identify paths to desired goals, and the motivation to use those pathways to achieve those goals.As the NNOCCI model was being developed, the project research team assessed members’ hopeful­ ness to understand how being part of the network was related to climate change communication (Swim and Fraser, 2013). Because hope appears to motivate peo­ ple’s engagement with complex issues, climate change communicators and their audiences alike need to feel a sense of hope in their experience (Ojala, 2012). Such messaging runs directly counter to the dominant narratives of climate change in the US, which consistently use a doom-and-gloom lens that leaves most people feeling there is little they can achieve through personal action. What educators and scientists perceived as the general public’s lack of awareness about a changing climate could easily have been hopelessness about having a personal impact on a global problem. Studies of the NNOCCI model demonstrated that effective communication training restores confidence and renews hope in a positive future (Geiger et al., 2017). The research results suggest that solution-oriented NNOCCI training and the network’s ongoing dialogue about human innovation directly contribute to increased hopefulness. Members’ hopefulness also makes climate solution dialogue more common and produces more positive audience feedback, which feeds the dialogue cycle (Figure 9.3). The techniques used to encourage this work are embedded in the training. Members are encouraged to connect with their own emotional state and to accept that most other members share these silenced concerns. Co-facilitators make space to discuss how hope and confidence are an important part of self-awareness.These experiences empower members to share previously unvoiced concerns and even shift self-imposed boundaries and a sense of hope in their work.

Applied social science 135

Improved understanding of the science that explains a changing climate Improved effectiveness of messaging

Knowledge + Community + Technique + Confidence FIGURE 9.3

More likely to take action to solve climate change

Improved sense of hope that people can find solutions to climate change

NNOCCI’s Theory of Change

Indeed, the project research team has found that environmental educators and scientists who remain engaged with the NNOCCI network report higher degrees of hope regarding their capacity to influence how audiences think, talk, and act with respect to climate change (Geiger et al., 2017). These practitioners also describe feeling more confident and better equipped to break through the spiral of silence.

Social radiation Recognizing that climate communicators are valued members of work groups, families, communities, and social networks, the NNOCCI model does not accept the assumption that climate discussions are transactional. The researchers for this project did explore how visitors at network members’ institutions responded to climate change discussions, but also asked NNOCCI members’ friends, co-workers, and family members about climate change dialogue.The results (unpublished pro­ ject report) demonstrated that such discussions were more likely to happen with family after the NNOCCI training and that the discussions were positive and use­ ful. NNOCCI members reported that their discussions were well received and that their feelings of success encouraged them to use their Strategic Frame Analysis techniques to talk with others. Climate communicators at ISEIs are trusted sources of information, not only among those who visit their institutions, but also across their own social networks.

136 William Spitzer, et al.

While friends and families may be more likely to share communicators’ environ­ mental stewardship and civic engagement inclinations, friends and families are also more likely than public audiences to take these climate change stories into other spheres through their own social networks.

Lasting impacts “NNOCCI has completely changed the way I approach communicating our agency’s research and mission. I feel more confident in my abilities to commu­ nicate complex and controversial subjects as a result of my NNOCCI training.” Science Educator “I think the government has to be involved in finding a solution. For example, where we live there is some type of public transportation, but I think the sched­ ule is one bus every hour. If you rely on that as your main form of transportation, you’re going to get to work in two hours. So it’s not feasible, and therefore you have to drive your vehicle. If we had a good public transportation system, we could use it, instead of relying on our cars.” Visitor to a NNOCCI-affiliated institution

Engaging in place-based solutions empowers communities By focusing on specific applications and solutions to real-world problems, crisis framing and despair are minimized.Appealing to strongly held universal values and concepts, such as responsible management and stewardship, can minimize polari­ zation and contention. Interpreters trained by NNOCCI help the public to see themselves as potential participants in community issues, rather than simply as indi­ vidual consumers of knowledge.

Being a part of a network increases confidence, which leads to more dialogue and action The NNOCCI initiative has reached aquariums, zoos, and science/nature centers across the United States and beyond.Visitors to institutions that have participated in NNOCCI training are significantly more: • • • • •

Knowledgeable about climate change science Hopeful that we can solve climate change challenges Confident talking about climate change with others Likely to believe that talking with community leaders lead to community level change Likely to engage in community-level community action to address climate change (Geiger et al., 2017).

Applied social science 137

Examples of these community actions include engaging local policy makers, join­ ing a local climate action organization, donating to an organization addressing cli­ mate change, voting for candidates who pledge to address climate change, signing petitions, and personal activities such driving less and purchasing energy efficient appliances. Positive impacts created by these NNOCCI-inspired community lead­ ers illustrate how NNOCCI can affect on-the-ground, community level change by changing the conversation around climate change (Figure 9.4).

A “train the trainer” model has a high return on investment Since its inception in 2009, NNOCCI has trained 400 individuals, who have, in turn, trained more than 38,000 people to use NNOCCI’s communication tech­ niques. NNOCCI members also build exhibits, create educational programming, foster community partnerships, and develop training programs that engage millions of Americans in climate conversations every day. Based on attendance records from zoos, aquariums, and other informal science education institutions, attendance at NNOCCI-affiliated institutions is estimated to exceed 150 million people, or about 45% of the US population.When the social networks of these visitors is considered, in addition to the social networks of the communicators and their colleagues, it is no surprise that the national dialogue on climate change is moving toward finding effective solutions to one of the great environmental challenges of our time.

Lessons of what works inform other institutions’ programs The New England Aquarium has been applying the lessons learned from NNOCCI in the Visualizing Change project, a related NOAA-funded collaboration among several aquariums, focused on developing strategically framed “visual narratives” that take advantage of global datasets presented on platforms such as the Science on a Sphere. Observations during formative evaluation demonstrate that after listening to a strategically framed presentation, visitors can describe climate change causes, impacts, and solutions.

National/International impact NNOCCI’s network has grown to more than 400 members from 180 informal science learning centers in 38 states with each member having more than 30 direct connections within the network. NNOCCI’s approach to communication can be impactful at scale because – instead of a “script” – we provide techniques and tools that educators can adapt to resonate best with their communities. NNOCCI’s work has already had an impact on a national level, and exploratory work has been done on extending this approach to Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and China.






NNOCCI’s Logic Model

E Workshops


Workshops For





Regional Leadership & Engagement

Youth Focused Training

Interpretation Experts

Climate Scientists

Communications & Cultural Research

Communication Experts




• Website • Conference Calls • Webinars • Peer



• Motivation

• Hope

• Perceived Peer


• Efficacy



New Exhibit Development

Public Programs

Volunteer Communications


Training Programs

Social Networks Converstaions

Peer Conversations


Peer Reviewed Climate Interpretation

Peer-reviewed Papers




Institutional Web Communications



Improved Capacity For Science Synthesis

Principles Of Climate Change

Increased Hope

Motivated Solution




Increased Public

Literacy In

Climate Change



Skills &



Applied social science 139

Lessons learned Informal science centers can play a pivotal role in strengthening climate know-how, promoting effective public discourse, and motivating community climate action. The NNOCCI model has shown that a motivated group of communicators – armed with effective messaging techniques and emotional support from members of a tight-knit community of practice that shares their values and concerns – can shift the national dialogue about climate change. There are several key takeaways from this work: •

Social support and co-learning with colleagues is effective.The dyad model of recruit­ ment, and a conscious acknowledgement of the emotionally laden issues associated with environmental topics are important ways of building a more successful training program that can sustain hope and action. Community fosters climate action.The Climate Interpreter portal supports educa­ tors and volunteers at aquariums, zoos, national parks, national marine sanc­ tuaries, and other informal science education institutions that are addressing climate change. They can join and connect and share with a community of colleagues and peers. Local resources support climate engagement and action. Providing opportunities for educators to directly respond to local impacts of climate change encourages a sense of community responsibility while increasing people’s understanding of, talking about, and acting on climate change. Museums can be leveraged to increase local climate dialogue. Museums have a large reach and are highly trusted. Fifty-eight percent of Americans regularly visit ISEIs and represent a wide swath of society (National Science Board, 2018). So if they can be reached, a significant impact can be achieved.The ripple effects of effectively engaging ISEI audiences has been surprisingly extensive, with lasting impacts documented on trained informal educators, their colleagues, friends, families, and the millions of visitors with whom they engage. These impacts include improved understanding of the causes of and challenges cre­ ated by climate change, greater hope about addressing climate challenges in their communities, and increased motivation to engage in community climate action.

Conclusion NNOCCI has demonstrated the power of effective science translation in creating depoliticized dialogue on controversial topics, built capacity and increased demand for science translation in the ISEI field, and developed a national network of emerg­ ing ISLC leaders eager to learn and adopt innovative techniques. NNOCCI has both incorporated and contributed to cognitive and social science research, while using program evaluation to continue to improve its practice. NNOCCI has now transitioned to an ongoing network with participatory governance, strengthened

140 William Spitzer, et al.

branding and social media presence, training and network support, and diverse funding sources, and is now positioned to have an even greater impact on shaping the national climate change conversation.

Funding This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under grants DUE­ 1043405 and DUE-1239775. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recom­ mendations expressed in this material were those of the author(s) and did not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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TAKING BACK OUR FUTURE Empowering youth through climate summits Jen Kretser and Erin Griffin

“During a Youth Climate Summit, we were tasked with choosing breakout dis­ cussion topics. Mine,‘How race connects to climate justice,’ surprisingly attracted a large group. We ended up going over our allotted 45 minutes, getting into a complex and rewarding conversation.At first, they were mostly quiet, so I made some probing comment and suddenly we took off.The shyness and reluctance yielded to unforeseen enthusiasm. Everybody began talking about how closely related poverty and race are and sitting there surrounded by so many bright folks everything felt right.And that’s what draws me back to the Youth Climate Sum­ mit: the wellspring of passion.Youth naturally have a unique energy that we put behind the things that call to us.This is my favorite memory, not only because of the spontaneity, but because these summits are specifically curated to bring out these experiences.” – Birch Kinsey,Youth Climate leader

Today’s young people are largely an untapped resource when it comes to the strug­ gle against climate change. But young people like Birch Kinsey have immense power to determine the future of our planet.They can be catalysts for change, using their power as citizens, consumers, campaigners, and change-makers to champion alternative ways of living. From across the world, many young people are finding solutions to the challenges of climate change (UNESCO, 2011). They are con­ stantly connected to each other, have a greater network through online resources, exert considerable influence on their peers and family members, are active and eager to have an impact outside of school, and are confident they can make a differ­ ence (Kerester, 2013).Their generation is uniquely suited to raising awareness, edu­ cating others, and organizing for a greater impact on climate change issues.There is a need to increase their climate literacy and engagement and to create a support network of teachers to bolster their efforts (Hestness et al., 2014).

144 Jen Kretser and Erin Griffin

Addressing climate literacy for youth is currently a pressing issue in the United States (Paul, 2019). Only 25% of American teens were recently able to demonstrate a basic understanding of climate change, and even fewer are willing to say that they are well informed on the subject (Leiserowitz and Barstow, 2010). These numbers are unsurprising when only 22% believe they are learning a lot about climate change at their schools and only 25% will eventually take an Earth science class (Leiserowitz et al., 2011). However, almost three-fourths of those surveyed wanted to learn more (Leiserowitz et al., 2011). Capitalizing on this desire to become more literate is criti­ cal not only from a scientific view but a global one, and educational youth programs have proven to be sound avenues for addressing all of these issues (Osbaldiston and Schmitz, 2011; Harker-Schuch and Bugge-Henriksen, 2013; Flora et al., 2014).

Why convene a youth climate summit? The idea for a Youth Climate Summit originated from a 16-year student, Zach Berger, who had attended a climate conference at The Wild Center in 2008. Zach wrote an email to the museum staff asking, “Why there were no young people at this conference and would you consider organizing a youth climate summit?” At the time, we had not addressed climate change in our science center, and it made sense as an institution to build on our concept of museums as conveners – places where we could bring people in to discuss ideas. At that time in 2008, we had no idea what this program would evolve into and how it would completely change the trajectory of our work. In response to Zach’s email, we said,“Sure – we would love to organize a Youth Climate Summit, but you will have to help us do it.”As we started building our ideas, we outlined the following points to demonstrate ration­ ale to our constituents including our board, funders, members, and others interested in Youth Climate Summits: • • • • •

Builds partnerships across the community with schools, higher education, agencies, local governments, other nonprofits, and civic organizations Involves, inspires, and engages youth ages 14–21 years old, a demographic that we were not, at that time, engaging Showcases pathways to employment and careers Empowers students to solve climate change issues using their own ideas and solutions Provides a non-advocacy approach to support student self-defined action and civic engagement in their own communities

This last bullet was, in particular, an important point. We wanted to align to our mission: “Ignite a passion for the Adirondacks where people and nature thrive together and offer an example for the world.” But we were also interested in the role of a museum as a convener and as a catalyst – in a non-advocacy space. This was very important and critical part in The Wild Center’s program development.

Taking back our future


In the nine months following Zach’s original email, we met as a team of Wild Center staff, students from three local high schools, community members, and teachers to create the first Youth Climate Summit, which was held in 2009. This spirit of collaborative, authentic, youth-driven work continues to this day and forms the foundation for the entire program. Engaging youth in this authentic collaborative process in the planning creates ownership and a sense of agency. It is also a great opportunity for learning. The Wild Center’s youth leadership team consists of approximately 20 students from multiple school districts to coordinate the Youth Climate Summit. Meeting once a week for two hours, the students take on a variety of aspects in the planning process – from organizing the social media and managing summit logistics to creating interactive art pieces and reaching out to presenters. At the summit, the core planning team welcomes and orients school teams, introduces speakers and workshops, manages social media, assists with meals, and is master of ceremonies for the event.

What is a Youth Climate Summit? “My experience at the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit taught me so many things about climate change and action. Knowledge is power, and the Youth Cli­ mate Summit gives students the knowledge and skills to take on climate change at full force.” – Nathalie Munn,Youth Climate leader

While many school climate educational programs provide students with an understanding of climate change and its predicted consequences, “little evi­ dence exists that this knowledge is sufficient to change the behaviors responsible for climate change” (Vaughter, 2016). The Adirondack Youth Climate Summit (AYCS) was developed, keeping in mind this gap in formal educational pro­ grams on climate change. Beyond an introductory presentation to provide all students with a foundational knowledge base on climate impacts and challenges, summits typically host a myriad of workshop presenters whose expertise is in addressing these challenges. Past workshop topics range from energy efficiency and food sustainability, to leading an environmental club and communicating climate change. Students are exposed to a diversity of solutions that can feasibly be implemented within their own homes, schools, and communities, while also discussing the idea that taking leadership in implementing solutions can be a solution in and of itself. A Youth Climate Summit is a one- to two-day event that convenes youth ages 14–21 years old to participate in workshops, hands-on activities, poster sessions, and networking to learn about climate change science, impacts, and solutions.This model is a powerful vehicle for inspiration, learning, community engagement, and youth leadership development. Summits act as catalysts for youth to raise awareness

146 Jen Kretser and Erin Griffin

about climate change both at their schools and on a broader level. Broadly the goals for the summit participants are to: •

• •

Hear research-based information from climate scientists and experts about essential principles of Earth’s climate system; learn about the ecological, eco­ nomic, and social consequences of climate change, the impacts of climate change in their communities, and efforts the community is undertaking to address climate impacts Take part in workshops led by student leaders, community organizations, state agencies, NGOs, and businesses working on climate change solutions in their communities; workshop topics could range from school gardening, planning community events, hazard and disaster preparedness, youth leadership, waste management, green building and sustainable design, energy efficiency, climate policy, and much more Establish Environmental Youth Clubs or Green Teams at each participating school Develop Climate Action Plans for their schools and communities, which schools will work on throughout the year; Climate Action Plans are written frameworks and goals that include student-generated ideas for action Share ideas, demonstrate projects, showcase best practices, and network with other schools through an interactive poster session

What makes a Youth Climate Summit successful? “Creating the Summit was like creating a miracle: ignorance was replaced by knowledge, and a solitary hope for a healthier world was replaced by a strong passionate youth movement. In the end, the summit taught me much more than teamwork, group dynamics, and climate change facts . . . most importantly I felt my own passion and saw my own potential. I was astounded at how much energy I had and was willing to give and surprised by my own abilities and com­ petence. It taught me not to underestimate myself, that passion and hard work can create miracles, and that when the world calls for help you must rise to the occasion and answer with everything you have.” – Celeste Bickford,Alumni,Adirondack Youth Climate Summit

Research has shown that climate change will resonate with diverse audiences when: 1) it is situated in cultural values and beliefs, 2) it is meaningful to that audi­ ence, and 3) it empowers specific action (Schweizer et al., 2013).The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Program works to meet all of those criteria through the summit and throughout the year by supporting school green teams in a variety of actions. The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Program (YCP) effectively empowers young people through a combination of values in a framework that guides and supports the work.

Taking back our future



Youth Climate Program Values Framework

This framing has been developed over the last three years with input from our Youth Climate Advisory Board. The program frames the immense challenges of climate issues by emphasizing actionable solutions to positively influence the tra­ jectory of climate change. By providing students with tangible and relevant skills to achieve climate solutions, the YCP empowers and inspires students to initiate positive climate action in their schools and communities. 1



Youth-driven. At our core we have always been student-driven and worked with students in partnership, elevating their voice and supporting their passions. Students help to organize our summits; we have a Youth Climate Advi­ sory Board that makes recommendations on all our work, reviews materials including grants and presentations, provides valuable guidance, and represents The Wild Center in many spaces including the national and international stage. Action-oriented. Utilizing the Climate Action Plan process where teams of students develop a plan to take action in their schools or communities, this framework develops a sense of agency and focus, which is also student-driven as we do not tell students what they should do; rather throughout the summit showcase, a variety of solutions and ideas emerge. Place-based. This concept involves grounding the summit in the place/ community/region where it is being held, utilizing the constellation of

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organizations, agencies, and programs that are already working on climate change resilience (or want to). It is critical for youth (and we would argue everyone) to understand climate change impacts happening in their own com­ munity and how climate change is impacting them directly; this helps make solutions more actionable. Solutions-focused. While we definitely provide the hard scientific facts of climate change and its impacts locally and globally, our primary focus is on sharing and thinking about solutions. Equity and empathy. Understanding that climate change impacts people disproportionately is critical – youth understand that intersectionality more than anyone.We make sure our programs include environmental and social jus­ tice aspects, diverse perspectives and approaches, and an opportunity to share stories and connect on a deeply personal level. Hopeful. We have hope and we know that there is still time to address, adapt, mitigate, and reverse climate change to build more resilient communities for a just and sustainable future.

Regional impact The Youth Climate Program is actively engaged in New York State’s climate resil­ iency planning through collaborations with the NYS Department of Environmen­ tal Conservation Office of Climate Change, NYS Energy Research Development Authority, and NOAA’s Climate Program Office to provide accurate scientific information, resources, and tools through a three-year Environmental Literacy Grant from NOAA’s Office of Education. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Office of Climate Change (OCC) works to develop policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase resiliency for the State, empower its communities, and provide low-emission options for all New Yorkers. Climate change is a complex phenomenon, and many local government leaders struggle to understand how best to respond and protect their communities. Dazzle Ekblad from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Office of Climate Change (OCC) has found, “Education is a fundamental first step in taking action. The most effective local climate action programs are rooted in smart planning and educational processes that involve gathering information and helping communities evaluate their options.”The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Program supports local students by providing guidance on how their communities can plan for climate action through their educational campaigns, which are key components to expanding local Climate Smart Communities programs. This new level of partnership has resulted in a shift in conversations around climate change resilience, education, and adaptation with local rural areas.To date, the climate action plans of youth leaders in direct conversation with their local leaders in the five rural communities in upstate New York are working together to sign New York State’s Climate Smart Community Pledge.These communities have committed to taking stock of emissions, decreasing energy use, shifting to renew­ able energy, and enhancing community resilience to climate change, among other

Taking back our future


goals. In addition, in the communities that have established a climate resilience task force, youth are being appointed and have an active and participatory role in decision-making for their community. This created a ripple effect to also include college students and faculty on these climate task forces thereby building capacity for small, rural communities to take stock of hazards and risks, assess greenhouse gas inventories, and learn about opportunities. Capacity-building is critical in these communities as they often have small to non-existent staff, limited computer abili­ ties, and minimal time to do this work. In addition to assisting at the local level, youth climate leaders are co-presenting with New York State Office of Climate Change staff to new communities and at conferences to disseminate information as well as to provide awareness and educa­ tion about the partnership. The vision and enthusiasm that youth bring to local climate action is pow­ erful. The abundant energy and creativity of young people can open minds and unite communities in the fight against climate change. This is why the OCC supports youth climate empowerment. The OCC is honored to join The Wild Center in this work and values every opportunity to participate in Youth Climate Summits. – Mark Lowery and Dazzle Ekblad, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Office of Climate Change (OCC)

National/international impact To date,The Wild Center has collaborated with over 50 different informal science institutions, NGOs, K-12 schools (public and private), universities and colleges, gov­ ernment agencies, local and municipal governments, and communities to initiate Youth Climate Summits across the United States and around the world.We have a free online toolkit (www.wildcenter.org/youth-climate-program) that outlines how to plan a summit from start to finish – from sample agendas and permission forms to timelines and budgets, as well as instructions for how to work with students in the process to develop content literacy and leadership skills.To date, we have mentored 60 summits in 35 different communities. Summits have been held in places such as Seattle, WA; Detroit, MI; Burlington,VT; across Massachusetts in partnership with Mass Audubon; Columbus, OH; Raleigh, NC; Carbondale, CO; New York City, NY; Houston,TX; Munich, Germany; Liberia; Sri Lanka; and Helsinki, Finland. Following their successful Youth Climate Summit in November 2019, Becky Nellis, Director of Curriculum and Partnerships at the Columbus Zoo and Aquar­ ium, said, This is now a signature program for the zoo. The Youth Climate Program was the first example of how you could plan with the end in mind, having the opportunity to see students moving towards doing something – having

150 Jen Kretser and Erin Griffin

the action component – was really empowering. It spoke to people and they really were able to see how to make a difference – people empowering not just for the education staff but zoo-wide. So much support from across the zoo – all of our staff want to be involved. Summit participants and facilitators have also represented the US on larger global platforms, including the UNESCO World Youth Forum, the UN Youth Assembly, the One Young World Summits in Thailand and Arizona, and the UN COP 21 Cli­ mate Talks in Paris, UN COP 25 and the 2019 UN Youth Climate Summit in New York City. In 2014, the Summit was also recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as a model for climate education and literacy.

Lessons learned Youth play an important role in building resilience and climate literacy in their communities.As the next generation of leaders, change-makers, and activists, youth are key to a climate resilient and post-carbon future.The Summit and its impact on the Adirondacks region are evidence for the following takeaways:

• Everyone benefits from convening youth While youth participants gain confidence, networks, and opportunities for lead­ ership, cities ensure increased resilience and community investment. Together, climate-minded students can encourage climate action by their community.

• Fostering a sense of community ownership among youth is central to climate action Providing opportunities for youth to directly respond to local impacts of climate change encourages a sense of community responsibility. Youth empowerment, encouraged by opportunities to respond to the local threats of climate change communities, results in action.

• Summits can be implemented to serve communities worldwide The Wild Center’s partner Youth Climate Summits around the US and globe are testament to the successes the need for convening youth around climate-centered discussion and the effectiveness of place-based and project-based learning.

What’s next? The Wild Center’s Youth Climate Program will continue to collaborate with other informal learning centers, communities, organizations, agencies, schools, and

Taking back our future


universities to build a network of summits and youth climate leaders around the globe. On a regional and state scale and with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Environmental Literacy Grant Program, The Wild Center is expanding and deepening its work with students, teachers, and communities in New York City, the Catskills, and the Adirondacks to respond to climate change.As part of the project, called Convening Young Leaders for Climate Resilience in New York State, high schoolers will learn to assess the effect climate change is likely to have on their communities, work on techniques to convey those impacts to others, and develop the leadership skills needed to shape localized solu­ tions to resiliency challenges posed by the issue. New work includes a revamp of the existing toolkit and resources to support youth climate work in other com­ munities around the world as well as documenting the social impact that youth can have upon their communities through the expansion of their spheres of influence. In a broader framing, this climate work begs the question of how museums and other informal education institutions can be a catalyst for convening around climate change and serve as a community anchor for the rapid transition work that needs to be done.

References Flora, J., Saphir, M., Lappe, M., Roser-Renouf, C., Maibach, E., & Leiserowitz, A. (2014) ‘Evaluation of a national high school education program:The alliance for climate educa­ tion’, Climatic Change, vol. 127, no. 3, pp. 419–434. Harker-Schuch, I., & Bugge-Henriksen, C. (2013) ‘Opinions and knowledge about climate change science in high school students’, Ambio, vol. 42, no. 6, pp. 755–766. Hestness, E., McDonald, R. C., Breslyn, W., McGinnis, J. R. and Mouza, C. (2014) ‘Sci­ ence teacher professional development in climate change education informed by the Next Generation Science Standards’, Journal of Geoscience Education, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 319–329. Kerester, A. (2013) ‘My summer at ACE: Discovering the REAL potential of gen Y’, The ACE Blog. Alliance for Climate Education, August 29. Retrieved from: https://acespace. org/blog/my-summer-ace-discovering-real-potential-gen-y Leiserowitz, A., & Barstow, D. (2010) ‘Education and communication’, in D. Liverman, et al. (Eds.), Informing an effective response to climate change, pp. 251–282.Washington, DC: America’s Climate Choices Report, Panel on Informing Effective Decisions and Actions Related to Climate Change, National Academy of Sciences. Leiserowitz, A., Smith, N., & Marlon, J. R. (2011) American teens’ knowledge of climate change. New Haven, CT:Yale Project on Climate Change Communication,Yale University. Osbaldiston, R., & Schmitz, H. (2011) ‘Evaluation of an energy conservation program for 9th grade students’, International Journal of Environmental Science Education, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 161–172. Paul, E. (2019) ‘4 ways teens can address climate change and save the environment right now’. Retrieved from: www.wabe.org/4-ways-teens-can-address-climate-change­ and-save-the-environment-right-now/ Schweizer, S., Davis, S., & Thompson, J. L. (2013) ‘Changing the conversation about climate change: A theoretical framework for place-based climate change engagement’, Environ­ mental Communication, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 42–62.

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UNESCO. (2011) ‘YouthXChange: Climate change and lifestyle guidebook’. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002128/212876E.pdf Vaughter, P. (2016) ‘U.N. policy brief: Climate change education: From critical thinking to critical action’. Retrieved from: https://ias.unu.edu/en/news/climate-change-education-from­ critical-thinking-to-critical-action.html#info


ENGAGEMENT FOR CLIMATE ACTION Nicole Barbara Rom and Kristen Lee Iverson Poppleton

When National Geographic polar explorer Will Steger left his home in northern Minnesota and relocated to the city of St. Paul in 2005, his mission was to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change in the Polar Regions and inspire politi­ cal action to address climate change. Steger is most known for his legendary expe­ ditions. He led the first confirmed dog sled expedition to the North Pole in 1986 without resupply, the first north-south traverse of Greenland in 1988, the longest crossing of Antarctica via dog sled with an international team in 1989–1990, and a crossing of the Arctic Ocean from Russia to the Canadian Arctic in 1995. All ice shelves Steger crossed on his expeditions have since disintegrated as a result of climate change, from the Larsen A and B ice shelves on Western Antarctica to the Ward Hunt Ice shelf on Ellesmere Island, the launching spot for his North Pole expedition.Will Steger is not only known as an explorer who accomplished many “firsts,” but also one who accomplished many “lasts”; not a single one of his expe­ ditions could be replicated today due to the drastic changes resulting from climate change in the Polar Regions. Will Steger established Climate Generation with the metaphor of the expedi­ tion, the power of the eyewitness story, and the importance of education as a foun­ dation. Essential to Climate Generation’s work is Will Steger’s powerful eyewitness account. During his 50 years of polar exploration, Steger witnessed the disintegra­ tion of ice shelves that he has traversed. In 2002, most of the Larsen B ice shelf, an area the size of Rhode Island, collapsed in just three weeks.This shelf took his team months to cross via dog sled. Steger’s story is a tangible and deeply personal call to action; his eyewitness experience has served as a means to engage tens of thousands of people in climate change solutions and was also the impetus for Climate Genera­ tion’s programming. Recognizing the urgency of climate change and the limited window for action, Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy (Climate Generation) recognizes the

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urgency of addressing climate change, as well as the integral need to include all communities, including those historically marginalized. Centering community voices in its work and programs is essential to a rapid transition to a low-carbon world and is a growing effort in the organization.To meet the challenge, individu­ als need to understand how climate change impacts their future and translate this knowledge into constructive action. Building on Will Steger’s eyewitness perspec­ tive, Climate Generation utilizes the power of eyewitness accounts and personal story, acknowledging that as the world warms, every individual has a climate story to tell. Climate Generation shines a light on the potential of youth, educators, and communities to catalyze a stronger, inclusive, more vibrant climate movement. With a hopeful, solutions-oriented approach, Climate Generation provides educa­ tors, youth, policymakers, communities, and business leaders with the resources and opportunities to engage in solutions to climate change. Across these audiences, its programs work through a ladder of engagement: • • •

Build climate literacy Develop powerful climate advocates Elevate leadership

Theory of change Climate Generation intentionally leads with a hopeful, solutions-oriented approach and the words and concept of climate change. This is a deliberate choice as it believes that in order to truly solve a problem, you must understand what it is and its root causes, and you must deliberately name it. Additionally, Climate Genera­ tion uses an equity lens in the development of its programming, striving to create and deliver programs that are equitable, center-marginalized communities and to elevate voices and solutions from these communities. Many environmental nonprofits focus specifically on individual sectors, includ­ ing influencers – people in business or policy, educators, individuals in specific communities, or youth. Climate Generation strategically engages with multiple audiences to create sustained and broader impact that results from the development of new networks and diverse leaders in a community. Climate Generation builds bridges and links to strengthen social capital that creates community resilience. Research shows that social capital is especially critical for community resilience, such as when communities face a weather-related disaster (Aldrich and Meyer, 2015). Innovation and system change arise from intergenerational perspectives within a community, as well as an intersectional approach across audiences.Accord­ ing to research examining the effectiveness of an educational intervention designed to measure child-to-parent intergenerational learning in coastal North Carolina, parents were able to change their opinion on climate change due to the influence of their children. Results suggest that intergenerational learning may be a promis­ ing pathway to overcoming socio-ideological barriers to climate concern (Lawson et al., 2019). Further support for educating different sectors on climate change

Engagement for climate action


was recognized by the National Science Foundation in its funding of the Climate Change Education Partnership Program, which supported programs in multiple sectors including formal and informal education, influencers, youth, and indigenous peoples (CCEP, 2017). Climate Generation understands that climate change is a highly complex issue and that equitable solutions cannot be found if only the climate science and policy lens is considered; a comprehensive perspective of climate change impacts and solu­ tions is required to realize its vision. Research confirms that scientific understand­ ing is not what determines people’s actions or opinions with regard to climate change (Kahan et al., 2012). In addition, “the sense that one’s actions, in com­ bination with the actions of one’s community and those with whom values are shared, have the capacity to make the desired impact” (Allen and Crowley, 2017). Climate Generation is committed to addressing the intersection of climate change and economic, social, and racial disparities, and working closely with partners who understand this interface. Climate Generation is grounded in a theory of change that believes communi­ ties collectively hold the power to innovate and demand climate change solutions. Empowering individuals in their communities to make long-term, lasting change requires building knowledge about climate change (climate literacy), understanding personal connections to climate change, and developing powerful advocates through a model of collaboration and partnership. “If people feel like their communities can be effective in responding to climate change, then they will be empowered to respond collectively at a scale commensurate with the problem and appropriate to communities’ unique needs and situation” (Allen and Crowley, 2017). Partner­ ships allow for authentic solutions across the relevant intersections each commu­ nity experiences. Climate Generation strategically collaborates with partners across issues, regions, and audiences to move grassroots action and amplify diverse voices into leadership. By engaging educators, youth, and the public, Climate Generation asserts that communities can be better positioned to build a resilient and equitable future. In this chapter, Climate Generation describes its approach with multiple audiences and how it engages them in addressing climate change.

Approach and impact In order to accelerate and implement action on climate change, Climate Genera­ tion is: •

Building public will for strong climate action at the local and state level through coaching people on how to tell their climate stories, trainings, and community convenings Preparing educators and their students across the US to understand the prob­ lem from a multidisciplinary perspective and to implement climate and clean energy solutions by providing curriculum resources and professional develop­ ment offerings

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• •

Pushing businesses and policymakers to take climate action by engaging them in conversations, trainings, and convenings Elevating Minnesota high school youth voices to effectively articulate climate solutions at their schools, in their communities, and through public policy that advances equitable policy solutions and holds policymakers accountable for their decisions

The impact of Climate Generation’s efforts include: • • • •

Mainstreaming climate change education across all subjects Normalizing conversations about climate change impacts and solutions Emboldening leadership of policymakers and businesses to act on climate issues Elevating the moral imperative and a future built on innovation through youth voices

Each year Climate Generation reaches 5,000 educators, 3,500 youth, and thou­ sands of people through community engagement. Climate Generation prioritizes programming that engages across audiences for effective, strategic, and long-term climate action. Climate Generation considers three key factors in the development of its work. They include: • • •

Ladder of engagement Strategic selection of audience Targeted activities

The following section will cover what is meant by Climate Generation’s ladder of engagement, strategic selection of audience, and targeted activities, and how they each shape its approach and impact.

Ladder of engagement Climate Generation consistently provides a ladder of engagement for the audiences it serves to: 1) build climate literacy, 2) develop their ability to be powerful advo­ cates, and 3) elevate their leadership. As defined by NOAA, climate literacy is an understanding of your influence on climate and climate’s influence on you and society.A climate-literate person: • • • •

understands the essential principles of Earth’s climate system knows how to assess scientifically credible information about climate communicates about climate and climate change in a meaningful way is able to make informed and responsible decisions with regard to actions that may affect climate (US Global Change Research Program, 2009)

Engagement for climate action


Climate Generation builds upon this definition of climate literacy, knowing that with an issue as wide-ranging as climate change, attaining climate literacy involves all scientific disciplines as well as a grounding in the social, economic, and political forces at play. With this comes an understanding of the social justice implications of climate change, specifically how and why climate change disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. A climate literate person has the knowledge,


Climate Generation Humanities Module (2019)

158 Nicole Rom, et al.


Climate Convenings Toolkit (2016)

dispositions (how to respond), competencies (skills and abilities of how and when), and the motivated, environmentally responsible behavior to address climate change. Climate Generation’s curriculum resources (www.climategen.org/education) and youth and community toolkits (www.climategen.org/climate-change-resources/) provide a foundation for building climate literacy. The second rung on the ladder of engagement, developing powerful climate advocates, involves helping individuals understand their personal stake in this issue.

Engagement for climate action


This starts with a question of identity to build out individual climate stories, recog­ nizing that the purpose of storytelling is to engage and educate others. Stories are a powerful way to connect the head, heart, and hands on climate change and can evoke an emotional connection to climate change that is essential for motivating a long-lasting commitment to solutions. By creating this connection and helping people develop their own story, Climate Generation provides everyone – youth, educators, business leaders, or community members – with a starting point to pub­ licly share why climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed. Climate Generation coaches and develops the stories of over 100 people each year, with 50 quality stories amplified in conversations with policymakers online and in earned media, such as Minnesota Public Radio’s Climate Cast program. According to one storytelling participant: Climate science is important. The data that are collected help to give us an idea of what is happening to our planet. But, as every scientist knows, data are not stories.Thinking about, and forming your climate story, is an important part of involving yourself in developing strategies to combat climate change and to help educate others.We all need a purpose to push us into action, and with climate change, that purpose comes from within.


Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) interviews a Climate Generation pro­ gram participant for broadcast on MPR News Climate Cast program

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Finally, the third rung on the ladder of engagement recognizes that everyone has the potential to be a leader in their sphere of influence. Climate Generation uses its print and digital media connections, leadership role in policy and coali­ tion spaces, events, storytelling collection, and earned and social media to elevate powerful climate leaders. Every year Climate Generation connects more than 20 individuals who have received Climate Generation coaching to tell their stories through a variety of leadership opportunities. For instance, Climate Generation mentors youth to facilitate an annual summit with their state’s governor and to speak at national conferences. Climate Generation sends a delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change annual Conference of the Parties (COP) through its Window Into COP program. In 2015, Climate Gen­ eration elevated the importance of education to innovate and inspire solutions by sending a delegation of ten educators to the climate summit in Paris. In 2018, it sent a delegation of business leaders to the summit in Germany, elevating private sec­ tor leadership in climate action locally and internationally, continuing to build on past delegations of youth, educators, and multi-sector representatives to the annual climate summits.An educator delegate remarked: My experience as part of Climate Generation’s Window into Paris program has transformed my classroom by bringing the complex problems of the world into my classroom. It has allowed [my students] to view the problem of climate change as both a world citizen and a US citizen.

Strategic selection of audience Climate Generation is strategic in its selection of targeted communities, taking into account: • •

• • •

Geography: is this a community with a unique story to tell and share? Policy importance: are there policymakers that play an important role in this community, whether as a champion whose leadership should be elevated or as a potential champion? Equity: is Climate Generation the best messenger? How will its work elevate concerns and voices of marginalized communities? Network: which partners are already doing work in this space? Does Climate Generation bring something new or different? Capacity: does Climate Generation have the staff capacity, expertise, and resources to put in the time that is needed to develop a new relationship to this community?

Youth There is no denying the power of youth voices to elevate the moral and urgent need to address climate change. Young people are inherently powerful, able

Engagement for climate action


to sway public opinion, organize for social change, and envision critical new solutions from their unique generational perspective. Millennials are the most engaged US age group on climate (AP-NORC, 2018) and seven in ten Millen­ nials think climate change will affect them in their lifetime (Fery et al., 2018). Climate Generation creates opportunities for youth, specifically high school youth, through mentorship and coaching, to bring forward their authentic voices and leadership. Youth empowerment is core to Climate Generation’s work. Climate Genera­ tion’s youth programs use a grassroots approach to youth engagement in both pro­ cess and practice.Young people, equipped with organizing skills and peer support, can lead powerfully from their own experience to garner attention from the fami­ lies and communities in which they are deeply embedded and inspire action on climate change solutions (Lawson et al., 2019).Young people are key stakeholders in shaping public policy decisions that will directly impact their future and quality of life.As shown by the recent youth climate strike and Sunrise movements, organ­ ized youth can influence policy, such as the Green New Deal resolution and the UK commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.Youth mentored by Climate Generation co-developed a Minnesota Green New Deal with local legislators that reflects the vision behind the nationally introduced Green New Deal resolution (Anzilotti, 2019). While many programs rely on an adult-driven approach, Climate Generation intentionally creates opportunities for student choice and leadership in shaping the direction of their schools, community action projects, community convenings or campaigns. As a result, Climate Generation’s youth leaders launch authentically youth-driven campaigns and community events, giving their message and outcomes more power. Climate Generation provides youth involved in its programs with the back­ ground knowledge of climate change and root causes, and it supports their sustained personal development of identity, personal connection to the issue, and access to policymakers over the course of an academic year. Climate Generation focuses pri­ marily on high school youth, recognizing that this generation is the generation that will inherit the consequences of climate change. Climate Generation has worked with over 35,000 youth ages 14–28 across Minnesota and the Midwest since youth programming began in 2008. Climate Generation is a recognized leader in Minnesota for its ability to mobi­ lize articulate youth spokespersons for strong climate action. Since 2008, Climate Generation has played an integral role in influencing governors and policymakers from diverse political backgrounds on climate leadership.Youth leaders prepared a vision for Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty for his Next Generation Energy Act, ultimately passing in 2007, which established aggressive carbon reduction goals and the state’s first renewable energy standard. In 2010, working with Democrat Governor Mark Dayton, youth supported his veto on a bill that would have rolled back the 2007 law.This was followed by helping to shape his 2013 State of the State speech to include climate change, securing a solar standard in 2013, and mandating energy efficiency improvements in 2014.

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Most recently, Minnesota high school youth formed and led the movement Minnesota Can’t Wait, mentored and supported by Climate Generation and other local nonprofit organizations. Minnesota Can’t Wait called upon the state’s politi­ cal leadership (the governor and other decision-makers) to take urgent action to address climate change through executive, legislative, and regulatory action. This youth-led movement came together in 2018–2019 and caught significant, ongoing attention from local and national media, as well as having an initial meeting with newly elected Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan just three days into their term, resulting in the governor announcing a 100% carbonfree energy commitment 55 days into his term.

Educators Today’s students will inherit the impacts of climate change, and we have a respon­ sibility to prepare them to adapt, mitigate, and innovate in the face of change. Edu­ cation is a tool for empowerment, and climate change education is a critical part of any climate change solution (Henderson et al., 2017). Not only are educators critical messengers of climate literacy and solutions; they are also the most consist­ ent adult mentors in students’ lives. In addition, schools have the opportunity to act as living laboratories of innovation and learning. Climate Generation recognizes the complexity of climate change and the importance of interdisciplinary climate change education. Climate change educa­ tion has historically been tied to the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines, but climate change is an issue that impacts political, social, and economic dimensions and can be used as an integrating context for all subjects. Support for including climate change beyond science is grounded by a recent state­ ment from the National Science Teachers Association which advocates for “inte­ grating climate and climate change science across the K-12 curriculum beyond STEM” (NSTA, 2018). Climate Generation’s curriculum resources are aligned to science, social studies, and language arts standards, and they encourage students to think beyond science alone. Climate change education beyond STEM is effective.A recent partnership with the Lowell School in Washington DC involved mentorship through the process of integrating climate change across the sixth-grade humanities curriculum. The impact of integration was seen in the first year when students showed academic gains in reading and high engagement with the curricular content (Siegner and Stapert, 2019). Despite climate change being part of national science standards and a logical integrating piece for social studies and language arts (Kumler and Vosburg-Bluem, 2014), there are only a handful of organizations providing training and resources for this cross-curricular approach. Climate Generation works with 5,000 educators annually in formal and informal environments (science museums, zoos, environ­ mental learning centers, etc.), who teach grades 3–12 across subjects and grade levels. Since 2006, Climate Generation has connected with over 17,000 educators

Engagement for climate action


through its flagship Summer Institute for Climate Change Education, workshops, the sharing of curriculum resources, and monthly education newsletter. The pro­ gram stays current with the trends in education and climate science, meeting the needs of educators in both formal and non-formal settings. Climate Generation’s professional development is built on the following principles: 1 2

3 4 5 6 7 8

Connect educators to a diverse network of educators and mentors Design and provide training with a foundation in the education standards including Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and C3 National Social Studies Framework Provide vetted, relevant, age-appropriate curriculum resources Build action competence Provide opportunities to hear from and observe experts in climate science and education Develop educator confidence in addressing misinformation and denial Provide time and space for reflection, planning and practice Devote time to discussions of equity

Climate Generation’s professional development evaluation results consistently show an increase in educator knowledge of basic climate science, as well as their confi­ dence and intention to implement climate change and energy education in their education setting (Climate Generation, 2018). For example, at Climate Genera­ tion’s 2018 Summer Institute for Climate Change Education, over 50 educators from 21 states utilized Climate Generation’s tools and resources to increase their climate literacy, self-efficacy, and intent to implement climate change education into their classrooms. At the start of the Institute, only 10% of educators reported feeling “extremely confident” in teaching climate change causes and 4% in teach­ ing climate change impacts.After the Institute, those numbers increased to 52% and 54% respectively. Climate Generation also offers curriculum resources for grades 3–12 that can be downloaded free from its website: www.climategen.org/education.Topics cov­ ered include climate change basics; climate change communication; climate change impacts on the Polar Regions, Minnesota, and the National Parks; international climate policy; and the basics of energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Its resources are tied to online materials that include videos, interactive games, and blogs. Each resource is aligned to state and/or national standards in science, as well as language arts, STEM, geography, and mathematics and supports the Next Gen­ eration Science Standards.

Community engagement Seventy percent of Americans believe climate change is happening, yet Americans estimate only 54% believe it. Research shows that the perception of a lack of social

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consensus leads to lack of social engagement (Ballew et al., 2019). This is seen in the statistic that only 35% of American discuss climate change often with family or friends (Leiserowitz et al., 2018). Climate Generation’s community engagement efforts seek to develop, empower, and normalize conversations on climate change through the sharing of climate stories and community-led events. Climate change is a daunting issue, and understanding the data, trends, impacts, and solutions can be overwhelming. To make things more complicated, in an era of misinformation about climate change, the issue – and even the science – has become politicized. It is becoming more difficult to decipher credible sources and to sift through the scores of opinions in the media.The combination of these com­ plexities makes public conversations about climate change relatively scarce: politics is often seen as a controversial topic, and climate change can seem risky to bring up when you don’t have “all the facts.” This dynamic is playing out in our local communities, and the result is that the topic of climate change is rarely discussed in meaningful ways. In order to build community engagement on the issue and create climateresilient communities, Climate Generation begins by reframing the story, providing tangible opportunities for communities to come together to talk about the trends, causes, consequences, and the multitude of solutions that are already underway, without overlooking the personal connection this issue has to peoples’ lives. Peo­ ple need to feel empowered to talk about climate change through engaging with others in their community who are concerned about climate change (Geiger and Swim, 2016). Typical public forums on climate change in the public sphere often consist of a podium presentation with a message of “doom and gloom,” resulting in an audi­ ence of people who feel depressed and powerless. Recognizing this, Climate Gen­ eration created a new approach to climate change conversations. They designed public forums to build understanding, inspire emotional relevance, and enhance investments that create socially cohesive, resourceful communities. When it comes to implementing climate change solutions, local communities are powerfully positioned to create an undercurrent of momentum and ambitious pathways to change that our national and global leaders cannot easily ignore.Yet in many communities, there are significant gaps in climate literacy, political will, and awareness of tangible climate action opportunities. To bridge this gap, Cli­ mate Generation has developed a best practices guide, Climate Convenings Toolkit (https://go.climategen.org/Community-Convening), which shares its model and method for hosting convenings on climate change at the community level. These Climate Convenings have catalyzed change in places where they have been held. Recognizing that every community is unique, Climate Generation focuses on the local region’s specific climate impacts and solutions, community resources, policymaker influence, and networks, which are important to building commu­ nity resilience. Climate Generation’s aim is to convene and connect community members where they live, work, and play for greater impact.As conveners, Climate Generation understands that the answers for creating climate-resilient communities

Engagement for climate action


are held within the people who make up that community – in fact, those people are the experts. Knowing your audience must begin with seeking to understand what they care about and by tailoring messages and resources to meet their unique needs. Building rapport and trust with community members is a priority in Climate Generation’s community engagement work and ultimately determines the level of engagement that each community achieves. As a result, community engagement must be collaborative, interactive, relational, and participatory. In this realm, Climate Generation focuses on the coaching of individuals to communicate their climate stories as a tool for action, provides meetings with policymakers, and empow­ ers community members to convene their community in a discussion of climate change impacts and solutions. The following theoretical framework was developed to guide the design, plan­ ning, and implementation of Climate Generation’s community convenings. It was tested by an external evaluator who assessed its effectiveness through observations of the convenings, surveys of participants, and follow-up focus group discussions. 1 Start with the community and what they care about – connect on common values 2 Strive to make the event a mirror of the community 3 Recruit peer groups 4 Focus on local impacts 5 Be solutions-focused 6 Connect through stories 7 Include trusted messengers of community, science, and solutions 8 Provide real, tangible solutions 9 Provide multiple opportunities to engage in different ways 10 Follow up Climate Generation has successfully worked in several communities across Min­ nesota and in other states through public forums with Will Steger and through its community convening model, reaching thousands each year and garnering signifi­ cant media attention. Climate Generation’s Climate Minnesota project (2012–2014) reached 12 communities, over 1,000 community members, 100 organizations, and 25 policymakers and resulted in over 90% of participants engaging in some type of climate change action. Lasting impacts of this work included the 100% clean energy pledge made by the mayor of Rochester, Minnesota, and legislator conversations in three communities, bringing community member stories to policymakers.This program was recognized by the White House in 2014 for building climate literacy and elevating climate change education in communities. Climate Generation also has developed a more in-depth model of engagement with communities through its Talk Climate Institute. Talk Climate focuses more on developing, listening to, and sharing personal stories over a two-day workshop. No matter the experience level, every attendee is considered an expert on this issue with something to contribute from their particular background, history, and

166 Nicole Rom, et al.

perspective. Participants spend time discovering, writing, and sharing their own personal climate stories. Stories include pivotal moments, impacts and losses, and solutions and hope. Knowing that individual action on climate change is not adequate to the scale of the problem, participants engage in solutions workshops that take their personal climate story to a level of collective action.They learn different ways to share their stories with the media and policymakers, how to build a community convening around their stories, and how to connect their stories with the science of climate change. This program was created to increase people’s confidence in understand­ ing climate change science, how social justice intersects with climate change, how to communicate about climate change, and how to take action on climate change. Through it participants gain confidence in their ability to explain, mobilize, and communicate about climate change and bring their knowledge back to their com­ munities and workplaces to take action.Talk Climate has been adapted to be held in the St. Paul urban center in Duluth, Minnesota, with a focus on Ojibwe culture and in partnership with the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh to engage rural Penn­ sylvania in discussions of climate change.

Policymakers Policymakers play a key role in establishing the policies that can rapidly address climate change. Climate Generation is able to bring the compelling voices of youth, educators, and community members to policymakers in ways that elevate


Climate Generation’s Talk Climate Institute features visual drawings by Drawnwell LLC (Talk Climate Institute, Duluth, Minnesota, March 2019)

Engagement for climate action


the individual’s story and desire for action. Climate Generation has a proven track record of working closely with Democratic and Republican Governors in Min­ nesota and has strong relationships with key climate champions and moderate clean energy champions. Climate Generation’s successful meetings between Minnesota policymakers and its stakeholders, as well as community events where policymakers show up, have resulted in policy wins: Renewable Energy Standard (2006), Next Generation Energy Act (2007), and a solar standard (2013). Over 13 years of engagement in Minnesota’s climate and clean energy policy arena has taught Climate Generation that empowered and articulate youth and community members can play a powerful role in shifting the public debate, build­ ing public will, holding policy makers accountable, and moving hearts and minds.

Business leaders The private sector plays an integral role in advancing climate change action, and climate-aware business leaders are key players in any company’s effort to address climate change. While many businesses are making strong climate commitments, many companies admit they are not being pushed hard enough in setting bold climate targets and need peer support to ratchet up these ambitions and make them public. Climate Generation has engaged with the business community since 2012. At first informally as program sponsors, Climate Generation began to build trust and partnership, and over time several corporate supporters recognized its expertise in climate change and began asking for deeper support to engage with their employ­ ees and supply chains and for peer networking opportunities.


Climate Generation’s MN is Still In: Leadership on Climate Action features visual drawings by Drawnwell LLC (June 2018)

168 Nicole Rom, et al.

Climate Generation’s role with business leaders is to help these individuals nor­ malize the conversation on climate change in corporate America by offering cus­ tomized trainings and convenings with business leaders and community partners. For example, in June 2018 Climate Generation hosted MN Is Still In: Leadership on Climate Action (go.climategen.org/MN-Still-In), where over 75 Minnesota business leaders announced their top three climate goals, many making them pub­ lic for the first time.

Targeted activities Climate Generation’s strategic audiences engage with the ladder of engagement through any one of the following activities: •

Institutes.These multi-day events build climate literacy and powerful advocates through a progression of activities, networking opportunities, personal reflec­ tion, and intention setting beyond the Institute. Through participation, indi­ viduals join a community and are offered opportunities for further engagement and leadership. Evaluations consistently demonstrate an increase in climate lit­ eracy, self-efficacy, and awareness of resources, as well as actions they can take. Convenings. This public gathering/forum is planned and informed by a par­ ticular constituency and the community members in a particular geographic location, with mentorship from Climate Generation. It is tailored to the com­ munity and designed to bridge understanding on climate change and inspire solutions. Convening planning in itself is a community-building and leader­ ship exercise for the planning team in the community. Evaluations consistently show that: • •

• •

Participants increase their confidence to talk about climate change impacts and solutions The majority of participants meet at least two people at the convening they could connect with if they needed advice about how to deal with climate change Nearly 90% of participants take climate action after the convening

Sustained coaching and mentorship. Climate Generation works with individuals over months and years, building their climate literacy, developing their advo­ cacy, and offering them leadership opportunities. Individuals from across audiences benefit from story coaching and facilitation for convening plan­ ning. Evaluations show a high number of individuals have taken on leader­ ship through speaking at public events, writing letters to the editor, and sharing their climate stories with policymakers. In addition, Climate Gener­ ation has a growing cohort of youth, educators, and community champions poised for local and national speaking opportunities and adult mentorship of youth.

Engagement for climate action


Challenges Climate Generation is part of a larger climate movement with backward and for­ ward momentum for climate action. External political and social forces are a con­ tinual influence; however, with demographic and geographic program diversity, coupled with financial support from a variety of revenue sources, Climate Genera­ tion is able to have sustained impact. Organizationally, maintaining a multi-sector approach does occasionally challenge staff capacity and resources by spreading the organization thin. It takes consistent and persistent effort to pause programming to ensure connectivity and synergy for strategic impact. While the organization has created a culture that does pause for reflection, it runs up against the real sense of urgency the climate issue demands.Additionally, climate grief, the emotional sensa­ tion associated with the loss of people, places, and experiences impacted by climate change, has an emotional and mental impact on the professional staff and the audi­ ences Climate Generation supports. This requires acknowledgement and space to honor the pain and grief and to use this as a motivator for continued action. There are a multitude of challenges impacting climate change education, includ­ ing the spreading of misinformation from fossil fuel-funded think tanks such as the Heartland Institute (Worth, 2017), teacher lack of basic climate science knowledge, and a lack of support from administration for teachers to pursue professional devel­ opment opportunities (Plutzer et al., 2016). In addition, teachers who seek Climate Generation resources and training are often those who are inclined and motivated to address climate change in their educational setting. For Climate Generation to truly mainstream climate change education across all subject areas, it must reach teachers beyond the choir, and it continues to try new outreach ideas and partnerships to do so. The mainstream climate movement has excluded marginalized communities and not made space for their voices in discussions of solutions. Climate change impacts Indigenous nations and communities of color most severely, and solutions to climate change must come from those communities who are most impacted. Climate Generation is challenged with diversifying its staff, board of directors, and programming and with elevating the voices of those most impacted. Climate Gen­ eration recognizes it must use an intersectional lens so they do not recreate the oppressive harm from past practices, institutional racism, and patterns related to power and privilege.

Conclusion Everyone alive today is the first to really experience climate change’s effects, and they have the greatest influence to address it. Climate Generation is committed to addressing this responsibility. In order to galvanize a generation, normalizing con­ cern for climate change in everyday lives and conversations must be the priority to influence public and political will for action. Climate Generation is poised to help people teach climate, talk climate, and act on climate.

170 Nicole Rom, et al.

Businesses, community leaders, educators, youth and policymakers are key play­ ers in the effort to address climate change.Through Climate Generation, thousands are climate literate – that is, they have an understanding of the causes and conse­ quences of climate change, know how to talk about them, and know how to take action equal to the urgency of the changing climate.Thousands of individuals and communities are sharing the climate impacts they have felt and their motivation for taking action, and are demonstrating that they have the skills and resources to act on climate change. Climate Generation’s core mission and values are deeply rooted in the hope that comes from working with young people, educators, and committed individuals. With over a decade of experience, Climate Generation has learned that the greatest impact results from building bridges – connecting around a value or concern genu­ inely shared, and there is no shortage of ways climate change impacts society.With programming grounded in personal storytelling, education, and public organizing, Climate Generation is demonstrating that climate action is underway and already making a difference.

References Aldrich, D. P., & Meyer, M. A. (2015) ‘Social capital and community resilience’, American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 254–269. Allen, L. B., & Crowley, K. (2017) ‘Moving beyond scientific knowledge: Leveraging partici­ pation, relevance, and interconnectedness for climate education’, International Journal of Global Warming, vol. 12, no. 3–4, pp. 299–312. Anzilotti, E. (2019) ‘How youth organizers are pushing Minnesota toward its own Green New Deal’, Fast Company. Retrieved from: www.fastcompany.com/90333138/ how-youth-organizers-are-pushing-minnesota-toward-its-own-green-new-deal Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (2014–2019) ‘MTV/AP­ NORC youth political pulse, March 2018: Young Americans’ political outlook and perspectives on the trump presidency issue brief ’. Retrieved from: www.apnorc.org/ projects/Pages/HTML%20Reports/youth-political-pulse.aspx Ballew, M., Gustafson, A., Bergquist, P., Goldberg, M., Rosenthal, S., Kotcher, J., Maibach, E., & Leiserowitz,A. (2019) Americans underestimate how many others in the U.S.Think global warming is happening. New Haven, CT:Yale Program on Climate Change Communication,Yale University and George Mason University. Climate Change Education Partnership Alliance (CCEP). (2017) ‘Climate change education: Effective practices for working with educators, scientists, decision makers and the public’. Retrieved from: http://ccepalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/CCEP_Final_ Feb2017.pdf Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy. (2018) ‘Climate generation summer institute for climate change education evaluation results 2006–2018’. Retrieved from: go.climategen. org/past-summer-institutes Fery, P., Speiser, M., Lake, C., & Voss, J. (2018) ‘American climate metrics survey: March 2018. Millennial climate concern spikes, and they’re acting on it’,ecoAmerica and Lake Research Partners. Retrieved from: https://ecoamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/ ecoamerica-american-climate-perspectives-march-2018-1.pdf

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Geiger, N., & Swim, J. (2016) ‘Climate of silence: Pluralistic ignorance as a barrier to climate change discussion’, Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 47, pp. 79–90. Henderson, J., Long, D., Berger, P., Russell, C., & Drewes,A. (2017) ‘Expanding the founda­ tion: Climate change and opportunities for educational research’, Educational Studies, vol. 53, no. 4, pp. 412–425. Kahan, D. M., Peters, E., Wittlin, M., Slovic, P., Ouellette, L. L., Braman, D., & Mandel, G. (2012) ‘The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks’, Nature Climate Change, vol. 2, no. 10, pp. 732–735. Kumler, L. M., & Vosburg-Bluem, B. (2014) ‘Climate change in the social studies classroom: A why and how to guide using the C3 framework’, Social Education, vol. 78, no. 5, pp. 225–229. Lawson, D. F., Stevenson, K. T., Peterson, M. N., Carrier, S. J., Strnad, R. L., & Seekamp, E. (2019) ‘Children can foster climate change concern among their parents’, Nature Climate Change, vol. 9, no. 6, p. 458. Leiserowitz, A., Maibach, E., Roser-Renouf, C., Rosenthal, S., Cutler, M., & Kotcher, J. (2018) Climate change in the American mind: March 2018. New Haven, CT: Yale Pro­ gram on Climate Change Communication, Yale University and George Mason Uni­ versity. Retrieved from: https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/ climate-change-american-mind-march-2018/ National Science Teachers Association [NSTA]. (2018) ‘NSTA position statement: The teaching of climate science’. Retrieved from: www.nsta.org/about/positions/ climatescience.aspx Plutzer, E., McCaffrey, M., Hannah,A., Rosenau, J., Berbeco, M., & Reid,A. (2016) ‘Climate confusion among U.S. teachers’, Science, vol. 351, no. 6274, pp. 664–665. Siegner, A., & Stapert, N. (2019) ‘Climate change education in the humanities classroom: A case study of the Lowell school curriculum pilot’, Environmental Education Research’, Online First. U.S. Global Change Research Program [USGCRP]. (2009) ‘Climate literacy:The essential principles of climate sciences:A guide for individuals and communities’. Retrieved from: www.eldis.org/document/A60862 Worth, K. (2017) ‘Frontline: Climate change skeptic group seeks to influence 200,000 teachers’. Retrieved from: www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/climate-change­ skeptic-group-seeks-to-influence-200000-teachers/




Teaching from the heart through the arts Patrick Chandler, Beth Osnes, and Maxwell Boykoff

Introduction Poet Albert Pike once wrote,“What we do for ourselves dies with us.What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal” (1871). Pivoting to environmen­ tal communications, we might consider it in this way: what we are aware of dies with us.What we then do based on that awareness remains and is immortal. What happens after we’ve raised environmental awareness? This is one of the most challenging questions for educators focused on large-scale environmental issues.Whether the subject is climate change, marine debris, ocean acidification, or any of the seemingly overwhelming environmental challenges we are cur­ rently facing, introducing the problem is clearly only the first step in moving forward. An informed citizen is not necessarily an active citizen. Information is not enough to create change (Kollmuss and Agyeman, 2002). This is especially true in a time when our country is so deeply polarized and the meaning of truth itself has been questioned. In order to move forward, we must find methods to connect the information we teach with a will and a method to create change. The authors of this chapter propose that we do so through the integration of art and science. We do not propose bringing art and science together simply because we have done the research to support the effectiveness of the methodology, although we have (Gold et al., 2015; Boykoff et al., 2018; Boykoff and Oonk, 2018; Boykoff and Osnes, 2019; Osnes et al., 2019).We have decided upon this focus because each of us has discovered through our own experience as educators, academics, and citizens that the combination of science and art is one of the few ways to connect the head and the heart, overcome communication barriers, and support students in moving beyond the despair so often felt when the enormity of global environmental issues is acknowledged (Doherty and Clayton, 2011).

Creative climate communications


In the following chapter, each one of the three authors will present a key experience that moved them to focus on science/art integration in a narrative format. Our hope is that this chapter will leave you feeling ready to embrace art/ science integration in your classroom and feel justified in doing so by current research.

An environmental educator’s art/science journey By Patrick Chandler Author’s note: Readers may find it curious that I begin this section with a focus on marine debris, but I believe it is appropriate because it is a very simi­ lar issue to climate change in both impact and education issues. Like climate change, marine debris is a global pollution problem with consequences that often go unseen. Like climate change, when students realize the enormity of the problem, they often feel hopeless and disempowered. This section offers a case study on overcoming communication barriers and empowering students and the public by combining art and science to communicate and present solutions. In 2010, I moved to Homer, Alaska, to teach intertidal ecology and marine biology for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies (CACS). Shortly after arriving, I was asked by CACS to take over as the Alaska International Coastal Cleanup Coordinator for the Ocean Conservancy and to run CoastWalk, one of the oldest marine debris collection and monitoring programs in the country. I was shocked by the amount of plastic pollution in remote and otherwise pristine areas. Some beaches collected thousands of pounds of plastic per mile every year (Pallister, 2012). Audra Mitchell argues that marine debris and other global pollution phenom­ ena can create “a responsive ethos based on a sense of shared vulnerability and exposure” (2015).This well describes what I hoped to elicit following my introduc­ tion to plastic pollution on Alaskan coastlines. I worked to clean more beaches, give more talks, and collect as much data as I could. But it wasn’t long before I realized I was giving my talks to the same audiences, reporting to the same groups, and cleaning the same beaches. I had no hope of creating a “responsive ethos” through the methods I was using.This was not just because I wasn’t reaching new groups; it was because the folks I was speaking to already agreed with me on the issues I was presenting. It is a challenge for any of us to reach beyond our own communities when communicating about the environment because we automatically trigger agreement or barriers based on the cultural, political, familial, and other lenses that information must past through (Boykoff, 2011). So, the question for me became how to use methods that went beyond verbal and written communication – how to engage the affective realm before the cognitive in the hope that this would bypass barriers and open hearts and minds.

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In 2011, I met Angela Haseltine Pozzi, Executive Director of the Washed Ashore Project, while presenting for CACS at the Fifth International Marine Debris Con­ ference in Honolulu.Washed Ashore brings hundreds of volunteers together to cre­ ate giant sculptures of the marine animals most affected by marine debris; each sculpture is made from plastic picked up off the beach during volunteer cleanups. The sculptures awaken the senses, gain public and media attention, and promote solutions to the global problem of marine debris. I knew these works of art/science integration had the potential to engage new audiences and overcome many of the communication barriers I had struggled with, so I found funding to create a set of sculptures in Alaska through a partnership between Washed Ashore and CACS. I began to reach new groups by touring Alaska with the exhibit and teaching marine debris art workshops. Consequently, students and communities who had never con­ sidered the issue in Fairbanks, Denali National Park, and other inland locations were asking what they could do to reduce plastic pollution in their own communities. In 2015, I moved to Oregon to become the first Education Director for the Washed Ashore Project. By that time, nearly 70 sculptures had been created and split into three installations that traveled to zoos, aquariums, and museums around the country to educate and engage students and the public. Past venues include the Smithsonian National History Museum, Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Geor­ gia Aquarium, Shedd Aquarium, and SeaWorld Parks. The exhibits are generally booked two years out because informal education centers around the country rec­ ognize the value of teaching through aesthetically excellent art to start conversa­ tions about policy and habit solutions to global issues. Creating community marine debris art has helped Washed Ashore reach thou­ sands of students and community members at exhibit sites. But the fact remains that the most equitable and inclusive method of teaching art/science integration is to bring this combination into the classroom.While many schools have the fund­ ing for field trips and excursions, many do not, and their students don’t have the opportunity to visit local institutions.To ensure equitable access, we must bring art/ science integration to schools. To create change quickly, we must involve both students and their communities in finding solutions to environmental issues. This can be done by creating works of art/science in the classroom to show the community through a school exhibit or performance either at the school or in public venues. Michale Rohd, author of Theatre for Community Conflict and Dialogue: The Hope Is Vital Training Manual writes that,“The act of expression is an act of connection – through it we become positive, active participants in our lives and in our communities” (Rohd, 1998). When students’ families come together to see what students have created, there is an incredible opportunity to start conversations and move toward action on the issues that students present because a connection has been established that opens the doorway to collective action.With that focus in mind, I began to work with the Inside the Greenhouse (ITG) in 2017. ITG is an endowed initiative of the University of Colorado Boulder which works “to deepen our understanding of how issues associated with climate change

Creative climate communications


are/can be communicated, by creating artifacts through interactive theatre, film, fine art, performance art, television programming, and appraising as well as extract­ ing effective methods for multimodal climate communication” (ITG website). Through its many projects, ITG strives to work with students and communities rather than create works of art and science for them.This is an important differ­ ence from Washed Ashore’s focus. Working with students in communities is key to giving youth a seat at the table in deciding how their community is prepar­ ing for climate change. Showing pre-designed works of art/science integration in exhibits can start conversation, but it doesn’t go far enough; to move quickly on environmental issues, we must focus on action and empowerment rather than conversation alone. Over the past year, I’ve been working with a team at the University of Colorado (CU) and Jefferson County School District to coproduce and pilot a curriculum that brings together art and science for the embodied exploration of fossils, energy, and climate for fourth- and fifth-grade students in Colorado.This partnership com­ bines two successful CU projects – “Shine” and Fossils in the Classroom – with the pedagogical expertise of primary school teachers.“Shine” is a musical performance that weaves together climate science and artistic expression into a funny and pow­ erful story that spans 300 million years of geological time (Osnes, 2018). Fossils in the Classroom is a hands-on science curriculum designed to engage students and teachers in the study of ancient prehistory.Together this musical performance and hands-on science curriculum create an interdisciplinary approach that provides a larger context for understanding the interrelatedness of fossils, energy, climate, and us. By combining these two successful embodied learning projects – one art and one science – this “new” resource provides real world context to a unit of study that can seem removed from students’ everyday lives. As a culminating event, on Earth Day 2019, 80 fourth- and fifth-grade students performed Osnes’ play to their com­ munity, integrating what they had learned from the lessons and offering solutions to environmental issues to their local and school communities. After the performance and piloting the lessons, one teacher said, “It was such a valuable tool to incorporate dance and performance in the classroom that I will utilize these methods for the rest of my teaching career.”Witnessing youth arts and performance gives adults hope (Rohd, 1998). Engaging youth in solutions-oriented arts focused on resilience and climate change increases their level of hope and, consequently, creates positive action (Ojala, 2012). Giving youth a feeling that solu­ tions to climate change are within their control can motivate behavior that benefits families, local communities, and the world (Stevenson et al., 2016). Whether the focus is fine art, performance, media, or another art form, bringing art and science together to teach about environmental issues has amazing potential. Regardless of whether the focus is marine debris or climate change, we must work to implement innovative education methods in classrooms around the country to empower communities to demand changes to local and national policies. Actively engaging in the arts supports students in initiating change and creates community conversations that can lead to action. Throughout history, the arts have been an

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agent of change in society. We owe it to our students to give them the voice the arts can provide.

Green suits: sustainability in action in and around the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) By Beth Osnes We will not be able to merely think our way out of our current environmental situation.We must take risks of the imagination, shake up our behavior, and make unlikely connections.We will benefit from offering students new opportunities for communicating that are visual, physical, playful, and a bit silly.That could all seem frivolous, yet I have a hunch something important can happen when we connect around delight. During the fall semester of 2018, six Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) secondary schools – three high school and three middle school art or language art classes – participated in the “Green Suits BVSD,” a participatory photography project. Middle and high school students photographed scenes of sustainability in action including one or more students dressed in a full-body green suit with a leafy sash. The photos highlight one or more of the following themes in the schools and school communities: food, energy, waste, transportation, and nature/ environment. Along with their photo, each student wrote a description of up to 150 words describing how the photo relates to their chosen sustainability theme. Review criteria for judging the photos for inclusion in the culminating exhibit focused on 1) the relationship between the image and the selected sustainability theme or action area, 2) the clarity of the 150-word description of the image’s relationship to the selected sustainability theme, 3) aesthetic considerations including com­ position, focus, lighting, color, and originality, and 4) technical considerations including exposure, detail, and color balance. Each school selected up to 20 of its students’ best photographs. A jury of local arts, science, and sustainability profes­ sionals chose the top photos to be exhibited.The winning photo was chosen by local celebrated photographer, James Balog, acclaimed photographer featured in the films The Human Element and Chasing Ice. Balog is also a scientist, adventurer, and president and founder of the Colorado-based Extreme Ice Survey and Earth Vision Trust. “Green Suits BVSD” was inspired by an Inside the Greenhouse project I began in 2016 while touring the Inside the Greenhouse show,“Shine,” in Europe in con­ junction with the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities Initiative.As a pro­ fessor of theater and environmental studies at the University of Colorado, I am interested in the embodied communication of climate through performance, both onstage and off. In London, I first had the idea to wear a green suit outside near the Thames to make literal the greening of the city and to document that through photography. In addition to engaging in arts-based planning for long-term efforts

Creative climate communications


for resilient and greener cities, I was attracted to the immediate aesthetic and expe­ riential gratification of the green leafy figure of a human inhabiting the city.As we traveled to the next city, I tucked my green suit in my backpack and donned it for a photograph in Paris near the Eiffel Tower and in Barcelona at the Gaudi Museum. Not only was it fun and strangely liberating, it prompted both delight by passersby and unlikely conversations about environmental issues both during the taking the photos and after when sharing them through social media. I have gathered hun­ dreds of photos by myself and by many others on all seven continents and have curated them into a Green Cities collection hosted on the Inside the Greenhouse website (Inside the Greenhouse, 2019). In 2017, this collection was part of the Faculty Exhibit at the CU Museum of Art in the form of several large prints, large collages of photos, and a monitor screen scrolling through all of the photos in the collection. In addition, museum visitors could check out a green suit from the museum to contribute to the online project. After visiting this exhibit, Marda Kirn with EcoArts Connections – a producer of arts and environmental science collaborations – initiated this “Green Suits BVSD” collaboration by bringing together BVSD Sustainability Coordinator Dr. Ghita Carroll; Dr. Lisa Gardiner, a scientific educator at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Center for Science Education; and myself. Our combined motivation for this collaboration was to invite students to express their vision of sustainability on and around their schools through this quirky costumed photography project in order to create a photography show to be exhibited in numerous venues over the next two years. The result is that “Green Suits BVSD” features nearly 80 photographs taken by middle and high school students in a display from April to October 2019 at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, which receives over 90,000 visitors per year. This collaboration allows for youth expres­ sion on sustainability and climate to be featured in a place of positive social power and prominence in regard to the production of scientific knowledge on climate change and sustainability.Visual exuberance of expression enlivens the halls of this important research facility.The next exhibition will be hosted at the Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Complex at the University of Colorado, and after that at a local city library gallery. The impact of this project on the students can be gleaned in part by read­ ing some of the written descriptions by students of their photos. A Boulder High School student wrote, “My photo shows the green-suited figure posing in front of a colorful fence found in the gardens, painted with vegetables and other grown goods, promoting not only the practical aspects of growing your own food but also the colorful happiness it feeds into.” Photography was a uniquely effective medium for this student to convey the inspiration she garners from the splendor of color associated with locally grown food.A Casey Middle School student wrote, I think getting people in a bunch of green suits is much more impactful than some person standing on a stage and telling you to throw away your

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Uli Miller, Casey Middle School student (right), brings attention to recy­ cling though her spirited embodiment in this photo

Source: Photo by Michelle Ellsworth.

waste. This photo is meant to bring attention to the importance of recy­ cling in a fun way. I chose the flip over the recycling can because it catches the eye and hopefully makes you look and think a little longer about this important topic. The capturing of an exceptional physical feat through photography helped this student draw attention to a sustainability issue that was important to her. I’m interested in discovering what students can say when we guide them in through physical and embodied expression. By basing the subject matter in scien­ tifically determined categories of consequence for achieving a sustainable future, we can expose the significance of these issues through photography. As my eye delights in one quirky photo after the next, a smile effortlessly creeps onto my face, and the weight on my chest seems to lighten.Through the lens of youth, a picture of a beautifully sustainable future comes into focus.

Creative climate communications


What do hurricanes and humor have in common? By Max Boykoff Over time, I have grown to appreciate the many pathways there are to learning and knowing. Key moments in my past have shaped my current and ongoing research pursuits into ways in which experiential, visceral, emotional, and aesthetic learn­ ing inform scientific ways of understanding and engaging with various issues. I have grown fascinated by how these pathways to knowing then have the power to potentially elicit a range of responses and actions in the face of issues, such as the challenge of 21st-century climate change.As I have searched for ways to lever­ age positive change, I have gravitated into university classrooms as a place to build competence, confidence, and capacity of students as future influencers of climate actions. A key event in my particular story is intertwined with Hurricane Mitch that struck Central America in October 1998. Its impact was felt across the region, but most acutely in the country of Honduras, where I was living at the time (see


Map of Honduras

Source: Boyer and Pell 1999.

180 Patrick Chandler, et al.

Figure 12.2). To date, the storm was one of the strongest hurricanes on record in the western hemisphere (Morris and Wodon, 2003). The hurricane – with sustained winds of 180 mph, and gusts of over 200 mph – made landfall in northeastern Honduras (see Figure 12.3). Hurricane Mitch carved a southwesterly path through the country – spinning over the northern part of Nicaragua as well – and through the capital city of Tegucigalpa and through the southern region.While rain dumped from the sky at the rate of one to two feet per day, some regions reported up to 75 inches of total rainfall (NOAA, 1999). The unusual strength of and damage from the hurricane was also linked to human-induced global climate change (Estrada et al., 2015;Trenberth et al., 2018; Contento et al., 2019). Damage was also exacerbated by the unsustainable nature of Honduras’s export-oriented global capitalist development model. Honduras has followed a development model of export-oriented growth based largely on crops of bananas and coffee for over one hundred years (Morris et al., 2002). This path to development has marginalized many of the poor, while strengthening the power and influence held by a small group of wealthy landowners, local and national pub­ lic officials, and ruling elites. Assessing the human toll of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras, it was estimated that over two million people were displaced or left homeless (approximately 40% of the population) while approximately 8,000 humans ultimately perished (Martínez et al.,


Satellite image of Hurricane Mitch – October 27, 1998

Source: NOAA, 1999.

Creative climate communications


2017). Throughout the country, an estimated 70–80% of transportation infrastruc­ ture was destroyed, along with 70% of agricultural production (Ranganath, 2000). At this time, I was living and working in agriculture in Duyure, Honduras, as part of the US Peace Corps. I had been living there for just over a year when the hurricane struck. During the days of the storm I joined with a six-person rescue team dispatched on foot to the edges of the swollen Choluteca River to help evacuate families whose homes were being swept away by flooding waters. Hur­ ricane Mitch was a life-changing event for everyone in Honduras (including me), and reverberations continue to be felt in terms of immigration pressures, poverty, and violence to this day. This intense experience prompted me to carefully contemplate the catastrophic combination of natural forces and human influences that contributed to this disas­ ter. In short, it stirred up considerations and questions that led me through further work in agriculture back in the United States and the co-founding of a nonprofit organization working to secure funding for relief and rebuilding projects in the aftermath, which then expanded to community-initiated and community-led envi­ ronmental, health, and educational needs in southern Honduras as time went on. In addition, through involvement in Central American solidarity groups in Santa Cruz, California, I wended my way into an interdisciplinary doctoral program in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz. I was fueled by interests in the coproduction of climate change risks between the scientific community, policy actors, and the public. I was particularly fascinated by the ways in which scientific technical knowledge intersected with political processes. My work in Honduras and firsthand experiences during Hurricane Mitch sharpened my focus on the need for further investigations of the socio-political processes involved in global climate change policy discourse. If decision-makers, citizens, and the environment had been more connected, it’s possible that some of the impacts of the tragedy could have been lessened. Resiliency is dependent upon relationships and exploring new ways to build those relationships through innovative communication techniques (e.g., Finewood and Henderson, 2019). Through my research and practice over the last 20 years, I have gravitated to the notion of many ways of knowing help to more comprehensively meet people where they are on climate change (Boykoff, 2019; Boykoff and Osnes, 2019). I have found that such approaches can help open multiple pathways to more capably iden­ tify and access sites of empowerment and engagement. As such, valuing aesthetic, affective, emotional, visceral, tactile, and experiential ways of knowing has drawn me into our ongoing Inside the Greenhouse (ITG) work. An example of these commitments is our ongoing project that mixes comedy and humor with climate change. As we see it in ITG, these are necessarily creative ways to find common ground on climate change. In our view, creativity essentially is applied imagination. Crea­ tivity can involve experimentation, risk-taking, openness to other points of view, suspension of stigmatism, and a willingness to possibly make mistakes as well as keep your self-consciousness in check.

182 Patrick Chandler, et al.

This commitment to creativity to enhance climate change engagement has manifested for us in ITG in a number of projects. For example, we have developed comedy and humor partnerships, events, and research outputs over the past four years. Comedic approaches offer potential to shepherd in new pathways of know­ ing through experiential, emotional, and aesthetic learning (Boykoff and Osnes, 2019; Osnes et al., 2019). Climate change comedy and humor can: • • • • • • •

Increase salience of climate change issues by exposing audiences to new insights Offer new routes to “knowing” about climate change through experience/ emotion Help increase accessibility of a complex, often-distant, long-term set of issues Engage new audiences by disarming defenses through laughter Increase retention of climate change information through effective storytelling Provide relief amid anxiety-producing evidence of causes and consequences of climate change Bridge difficult topics, overcoming polarized discussions through often­ entertaining/non-threatening ways

We have woven comedy endeavors along with other projects1 through our work in the classroom as we try to empower and equip our students to creatively con­ front – at multiple scales – a range of concerns and hopes they possess in the face of climate change. For me, humor and hurricanes are linked through ongoing efforts to reach dif­ ferent audiences through resonant scientific, experiential, visceral, emotional, and aesthetic registers. My experiences then motivate my contributions to ITG teach­ ing, research, and engagement. Going forward, we hope that our ITG work bolsters associated social science and humanities research in these areas as they relate to cli­ mate change action.These efforts can and should continue to expand.We strive for our ITG work to, in turn, continue to add value to work by researchers, students, practitioners, and members of the public citizenry who are interested in creatively and collaboratively confronting persistent (climate) communication challenges and improving climate communication outcomes.

Conclusion We, both educators and social science and humanities researchers, have spent much of the past few decades focused on raising awareness of environmental issues. By doing so, we have made great strides in furthering understanding of climate change in the United States (Howe et al., 2015). However, now that we have the attention of both students and the public, we seem to be stuck (Drewes et al., 2018).We may have spent too much time on “what” and not enough time on “what now?” Young people often grapple with feelings of despair and anxiety regarding global warming and its projected impact on our planet and can often feel helpless and

Creative climate communications


pessimistic (Li and Monroe, 2018; Osnes et al., 2019).A focus on science education alone does not address this despair. By combining art and science, we give students an opportunity to be honest and expressive; to work through grief, find hope, and act (Elliott, 2018; Osnes et al., 2019). This chapter has worked to provide examples of art/science integration that create change and address the educational needs that surround global environmen­ tal issues. We hope that the examples provided have demonstrated how bringing art and science together can empower students and help them inspire their communities.Through the creativity of the arts, their ability to encourage us to recre­ ate the world, and the wit and pragmatism of science and technology, we believe we can help students and communities find innovative solutions and take action to address climate change. In practice, this will look different in each setting; it should, for every location has different resources and needs. Partnerships can make for stronger projects, and we suggest that schools work with local groups, universi­ ties, businesses, and leaders by bringing them into the classroom to help produce science-informed collectively created art that can be shared with the larger com­ munity.The sharing itself must be a purposeful event in which students don’t just present their observations but ask for help from the community to address needs through action. Examples for our work can be found on the Inside the Greenhouse website, and we hope they inspire you to empower students through art/science integration.

Note 1 See www.insidethegreenhouse.org/projects for more

References Boykoff, M. T. (2011) Who speaks for the climate? Making sense of media reporting on climate change. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. Boykoff, M.T. (2019) Creative (climate) communications: Productive pathways for science, policy and society. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. Boykoff, M.T., & Oonk, D. (2018) ‘Evaluating the perils and promises of academic climate advocacy’, Climatic Change, Online First. Boykoff, M.T., & Osnes, B. (2019) ‘A laughing matter? Confronting climate change through humor’, Political Geography, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 154–163. Boykoff, M., Osnes, B., & Safran, R. (2018) ‘Contando estorias de la ciencia del cam­ bio de clima “Dentro del Invernadero”’, in G. O. Gómez, B. León, & M. Francés i Domènec (Co-Eds.), Comunicación Audiovisual de la Ciencia, Special Issue,TV Morfosis CNTD. Contento, A., Xu, H., & Gardoni, P. (2019) ‘Risk analysis for hurricanes accounting for the effects of climate change’, in Climate adaptation engineering, pp. 39–72. Butterworth: Heinemann. Doherty, T. J., & Clayton, S. (2011) ‘The psychological impacts of global climate change’, American Psychologist, vol. 66, no. 4, pp. 265–276.

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Drewes, A., Henderson, J., & Mouza, C. (2018) ‘Professional development design considera­ tions in climate change education:Teacher enactment and student learning’, International Journal of Science Education, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 67–89. Elliott, R. (2018) ‘The sociology of climate change as a sociology of loss’, European Journal of Sociology, vol. 59, no. 3, pp. 301–337. Estrada, F., Botzen,W.W., & Tol, R. S. (2015) ‘Economic losses from US hurricanes consistent with an influence from climate change’, Nature Geoscience, vol. 8, no. 11, p. 880. Finewood, M. H., & Henderson, J.A. (2019) ‘What higher education can bring to resilience: Reports from pace university’s water resilience conference’, Journal of Environmental Stud­ ies and Sciences, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 316–321. Gold,A. U., Oonk, D. J., Smith, L. K., Boykoff, M., Osnes, B. B., & Sullivan, S. B. (2015) ‘Lens on climate change: Making climate meaningful through student-produced videos’, Jour­ nal of Geography, vol. 114, no. 6, pp. 235–246. Howe, P., Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J., & Leiserowitz, A. (2015) ‘Geographic variation in opinions on climate change at state and local scales in the USA’, Nature Climate Change, vol. 5, pp. 596–603. Inside the Greenhouse. (2019) ‘Inside the greenhouse at university of Colorado project web­ site’. Retrieved from: https://insidethegreenhouse.org Kollmuss, A., & Agyeman, J. (2002) ‘Mind the gap:Why do people act environmentally and what are the barriers to pro-environmental behavior?’ Environmental Education Research, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 239–260. Li, C., & Monroe, M. C. (2018) ‘Development and validation of the climate change hope scale for high school students’, Environment and Behavior, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 454–479. Martínez, E. J. A., León, H. H., & Briceño, P. P. (2017) ‘Mapping environmental and socio­ economic impacts of hydrometeorological hazards across Central America. Study case: Honduras’, Revista de Política Económica y Desarrollo Sostenible, vol. 3, no. 1. Mitchell,A. (2015) ‘Thinking without the “circle”: Marine plastic and global ethics’, Political Geography, vol. 47, pp. 77–85. Morris, S. S., Neidecker-Gonzales, O., Carletto, C., Munguía, M., Medina, J. M., & Wodon, Q. (2002) ‘Hurricane Mitch and the livelihoods of the rural poor in Honduras’, World Development, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 49–60. Morris, S. S., & Wodon, Q. (2003) ‘The allocation of natural disaster relief funds: Hurricane Mitch in Honduras’, World Development, vol. 31, no. 7, pp. 1279–1289. NOAA. (1999) ‘Mitch: The deadliest Atlantic hurricane since 1780’, NCDC-NOAA. Retrieved from: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/extremeevents/specialreports/ Hurricane-Mitch-1998.pdf Ojala, M. (2012) ‘Hope and climate change:The importance of hope for pro-environmental engagement among young people’, Environmental Education Research, vol. 18, no. 5, p. 625. Osnes, B. (2018) ‘Youth shine in performance for resilience’, Theatre Topics, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 191–202. Osnes, B., Boykoff, M., & Chandler, P. (2019) ‘Good-natured comedy to enrich climate communication’, Comedy Studies, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 224–236. Pallister, C. (2012) ‘Southern Montague Island 2012 marine debris cleanup final report’, Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation. Retrieved from: www.goak.org/ filelibrary/2012 MCAF Montague Island MD Cleanup Final Report.pdf Pike, A. (1871) Morals and dogma of the ancient and accepted Scottish rite of Freemasonry. L. H. Jenkins, Inc. Edition Book Manufacturers.

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Ranganath, P. (2000) Mitigation and the consequences of international aid in post-disaster reconstruc­ tion. Boulder, CO: University of Colorado – Institute of Behavioral Science, Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center. Rohd, M. (1998) Theatre for community, conflict & dialogue: The hope is vital training manual. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Stevenson, K.T., Peterson, M. N., & Bondell, H. D. (2016) ‘The influence of personal beliefs, friends, and family in building climate change concern among adolescents’, Environmental Education Research, vol. 25, no. 5, pp. 832–845. Trenberth, K. E., Cheng, L., Jacobs, P., Zhang, Y., & Fasullo, J. (2018) ‘Hurricane Harvey links to ocean heat content and climate change adaptation’, Earth’s Future, vol. 6, no. 5, pp. 730–744.




Peter D. Buckland, Brandi J. Robinson, and Michael E. Mann

It is time for climate change educators to jump into civic life by more directly engaging with local, regional, state, and national governments. We must engage the public with the full set of facts, connect them to our shared moral values and convictions, and the stop ceding of ground to the “merchants of doubt” (Oreskes and Conway, 2010) and their followers.They have hamstrung action across all scales of government for 30 years for many reasons, some of which have to do with their media and message dominance, inattention and ignorance in the general public, and a lack of engagement in policy and politics by those who understand the science. If science were sufficient to change policy, it would have done so decades ago. Sci­ ence alone is clearly insufficient to reverse the climate crisis. But widespread civic climate change engagement – with climate educators playing a key role – might do it. In a democracy, those who understand what is at stake ought to use their knowledge and expertise to develop understanding, build will, prompt action, and see that it is achieved. In this short piece, we urge you the reader to go beyond gen­ eral citizenship to not only advocate for climate policy through standard methods, but to engage government – including local government – by speaking to repre­ sentatives directly and commenting on current policy considerations, participating on appointed governmental boards, running for office, and staying connected to people of like mind. Previously, some climate-change educators have argued for engaged, civic climate-change education because of its far-reaching educational impacts (Buckland et al.,2018).Noting that climate change requires social and economic transformations through collective action – not isolated individual action – they have urged educa­ tional responses connecting curricula to policy actions within American democracy. Civically engaged climate-change education fosters students’ abilities to engage in diverse interactions beyond the four walls of the classroom; to converse, deliber­ ate, and collaborate with different people; to think deeply about complex issues;

Science alone will not save us


and to learn to work for a safe and just world (ASHE, 2006; Gurin et al., 2011). When educators engage students in live climate-policy deliberations and debates, they craft an experience that makes ecological education and citizenship education synonymous (Orr, 1994; Bell, 2005), and supports core communication, analytical skills, peer-to-peer learning, experiential learning, and network and community building (Shriberg and MacDonald, 2013). It also – and perhaps most importantly – invites them to advocate, deliberate, and negotiate in the “the contentious world of identities, worldviews, and partisan politics” (Buckland et al., 2018, p. 170; see also Oreskes and Conway, 2010; McCright and Dunlap, 2011; Kahan et al., 2012) in a way that empowers people to work together for the coproduction of the public good. In our view, climate change educators of all stripes should take this lens and turn it toward their own civic lives. In 2014, one of us (Mike) argued that “it is no longer acceptable for climate scientists to remain on the sidelines.” Having seen something, they must say some­ thing (Mann, 2014). In just the last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2018) has warned us that humanity has 12 years to draw down emissions to meet the Paris targets. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Plat­ form on Biosphere and Ecosystem Services (2019) has reported that one million species are slated for extinction at least in part because of climate change, and the IPCC (2019) just reported that calamitous land use and climate change combined are threatening humanity’s ability to feed itself. It is no wonder that the World Economic Forum (2019) and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (Spinazze, 2019) agree that anthropogenic climate change stands as one of the top three threats to global stability, alongside unfettered cybertechnologies and the threat of nuclear weapons. At the same time, the price of grid-tied utility-scale solar photovoltaic technology has fallen so much that it is cheaper than natural gas per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in our own gas-rich state of Pennsylvania, electric vehicles are attaining both costand performance-competitiveness, soil-saving and carbon-sinking farming and land use practices are well-understood and deployable, green building and low- impact development stormwater technologies and practices have crossed a threshold across scales for new construction and renovation, and more.We are seeing something and it is time to do more than just say something because of the potential to effectuate something – including at the local level. Some educators may worry that engaging in public life about climate change will cause a partisan backfire and/or fail to prompt necessary action. These con­ cerns need to be addressed. Dunlap and McCright note that starting in the 1990s, conservative foundations, think tanks, media, and public intellectuals have led pol­ icy makers and rank-and-file conservatives and Republicans into extreme climate denial (2008).The situation has changed slightly in the decade since. Polling from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication shows that since 2010, belief that humans are causing climate change has increased across all surveyed partisan groups (Ballew et al., 2019). Focusing on the Republican Party, this can be observed with national political figures such as former Representatives Bob Inglis and Car­ los Curbelo (Bascomb, 2018), as well as former Environmental Protection Agency

188 Peter D. Buckland, et al.

secretaries William Ruckelshaus, Lee Thomas, William Reilly, and Christine Todd Whitman – all recognizing that climate change is real, caused by people, and ought to be taken on by placing a price on carbon (2013). However, many Republicans still doubt human causation of climate change (Ballew et al., 2019).These leaders continue to block and ridicule climate action and question basic science. See Sen. Mike Lee’s 2019 speech depicting Ronald Reagan wielding a machine gun while riding a velociraptor (Chiu, 2019), Sen. James Inhofe’s infamous snowball stunt (Bump, 2015), or interviews with Todd Baney, a Republican candidate for the local school board (Danahy, 2019). Resistance to reality is very present. From experience at our own public talks, in governmental meetings, and in bars and restaurants, simply talking about climate change in public life will inevitably create conflict. And yet, while climate change remains fiercely partisan among elected officials, the researchers with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication find more commonalities among public opinion (Marlon et al., 2018). For example, the percentage of adults who think global warming is happening is greater than 50% in every single county in the United States.When asked if they think global warm­ ing is mostly caused by human activity, that number decreases in some counties (as low as 39%, which is 18% below the national average), but perhaps not by as much as the political bickering around the issue would suggest. Marlon et al. find broad, bipartisan support among US adults for regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant (77%), setting strict carbon dioxide limits on existing coal-fired power plants (70%), or funding research into renewable energy resources (85%) (2018).The consensus of the public’s opinion on these various facets of the climate crisis demonstrate significant opportunity for local-scale conversations and more importantly, action. Research shows that arguments about climate change and other identity-laden topics can result in a “backfire effect.”This is a phenomenon whereby individuals become even more strongly convinced of their original position even when con­ fronted with evidence that contradicts or disproves it (Nyhan and Reifler, 2010). We acknowledge this effect and encourage readers to learn about climate-change communication techniques.The training available today about climate science and climate action from organizations like the Frameworks Institute (2017), Living Room Conversations (2019), Skeptical Science (Cook and Lewandowsky, 2011), and from scholars who have stated that the power of evidence-based communica­ tions interventions (Geiger et al., 2017) can and should serve educators so they can transcend their classroom walls. The great South African anti-apartheid leader Steven Biko said, “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed” (1987). The silence of climate literate people has reinforced a culture of oppressive “plu­ ralistic ignorance” that enables the merchants of doubt to suppress climate action. Pluralistic ignorance occurs when a majority of people misperceives other peo­ ple’s opinions and believes – falsely – that fewer people share their opinion than they actually do.The belief contributes to a lack of discussion about that topic, in this case climate change. Geiger and Swim write,“Despite a solid majority of the public being concerned about climate change, most underestimate the degree to

Science alone will not save us


which others are concerned” (2016, p. 79).Talk, then, is the basis of solution. Gei­ ger and Swim (2016) made two findings that lead us to believe we need to engage in civic life. First, people who did not themselves doubt climate change were less willing to discuss climate change when they themselves falsely believed that their peers would not share their opinions. Second, when people learned that others were more willing to talk about climate change, they themselves became more eager to discuss it.Taken together, this research suggests that alerting others to this pluralistic ignorance can lead to undoing it. It may also quiet deniers who may see themselves as a dwindling and out-of-touch minority, thereby pushing them back and freeing us from rhetorical bondage.When we talk about human-caused climate change and climate solutions in evidence-based, values-rich, and policyrelevant ways at nearly every civic opportunity that presents itself – whether in a public forum, in media, in government testimony, or in actual policy deliberation and crafting – we inoculate ourselves and the public from an insidious feedback loop of doubt and silence. It builds collective will, promotes action, and makes it possible for decision-makers (who may be us) to commit institutions to commit to policy changes. Before we continue, we want to recognize that climate change teachers are, like most teachers in the United States, busy, undervalued, and stressed. Whether you are a third-grade teacher, a secondary physics or social studies teacher, an unten­ ured fixed-term faculty at a community college, or the head of an elite Research I department, you likely have a lot on your plate.We do not ask those who are truly chasing their tails to make ends meet or fighting tooth-and-nail to get tenure to do more than is possible. We know from experience that jumping into civic life can take a fair amount of time and be emotionally taxing.We also know how reward­ ing it can be and often is.We are asking you to honestly reflect on your time, your values, your talents, and the challenge before us and carefully consider what role you might play or the role you may encourage your students to play. What we propose is built on our experiences as educators who have advanced climate reality and climate change solutions policy. Each of us has adopted roles in civic life that invite both accountability and scrutiny.We have advocated for policyrelevant action in the media, served as experts by providing testimony to regulatory or oversight bodies.All of us have published scientifically grounded pieces and done public presentations on the need for climate action in local, state, and/or national media and/or in peer-reviewed literature (e.g., Mann, 2014; Buckland et al., 2018; Buckland and Robinson, 2019). One of us has testified before Congress and the Senate on climate change (Mann, 2019). Two of us have served as advisers on political campaigns with explicit expertise on the science and/or policy aspects of climate change. All of us serve on technical committees related to climate mitiga­ tion and/or adaptation, with two of us having chaired governmental or intergov­ ernmental committees or working groups. One of us has run for and won political office as a local official and co-drafted, drafted, and passed climate-relevant poli­ cies or budgetary measures. Combined, we have seen the change that one person backed by a network of engaged people can make.

190 Peter D. Buckland, et al.

How can you get involved? The following list is far from exhaustive. It goes beyond the standard requests to sign petitions, write letters to the editor, write to members of your state or federal congressional representatives, vote based on climate change positions, and talk about climate change. Those are necessary, but insufficient actions. We invite you to learn about policy at some scale of govern­ ment and then address representatives at that scale, apply for a place on an appointed governmental board, committee, panel, or working group, run for office yourself, and – most importantly – never do anything by yourself. Climate-related policies are hiding in plain sight at every level of government. Many of us are used to thinking about it at the highest levels.This makes sense.The biggest climate policy developments of the last two years have involved Donald Trump initiating the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, the dismantling of the Clean Power Plan, or the undoing of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards, and then state responses to the administrations, whether by California’s challenge to all of the above by investing in renewable energy and continuing to push for high fuel efficiency standards. However, a great deal has happened at the local level, as evidenced by the signatories to the We Are Still In campaign, a signa­ tory statement that commits the signer to doing their part to meet the Paris Agree­ ment’s carbon goals. A perusal of the list shows state, departmental, city, municipal, university, and business entities joining together. Local action is decidedly more flexible than larger-scale governmental efforts that are often bogged down by their own weight. A unique opportunity thus exists to address a global challenge at the local level (Boyer, 2013). The city and municipal governments are able to act on climate change. Many studies have demonstrated the importance of this high-level support at any scale of governance for affecting meaningful action (Moloney et al., 2017).At the mini­ mum, these local governments have buildings, vehicles, and purchase electricity, fuel, equipment, and other materials. This is true of your water, sewer, refuse and recycling, and park authorities as well as your libraries and school districts. Many municipalities ranging in size from townships like Ferguson Township through towns and up to counties, also control land use through zoning. They can both limit activities on those lands through protective overlay districts and permit and incentivize zero-carbon or carbon-sinking activities and technologies.What is hap­ pening to promote renewable energy, high-efficiency buildings, electric vehicle infrastructure, or reforestation and natural habitat restoration that can enhance both carbon-sinking and stormwater management in your town or through your school? While these highly localized efforts may feel inconsequential in the totality of a global climate crisis, they serve important functions to educate community mem­ bers, prioritize climate change as an issue of local concern, and provide replicable, scalable solutions to be adopted at other levels of governance.We need not wait for our federal government or international coalitions to act. Going beyond zoning, has your local government passed a climate action resolu­ tion? If not, why not? If not, what role can you play in organizing a group that can effectively engage your local officials to foster passage of one? Given our experience

Science alone will not save us


writing such a resolution (see the appended Resolution 2017–14 co-authored by Peter) and then ensuring its goals were met through the creation of and Brandi’s chairing of an ad hoc Climate Action Committee, we know that this is both pos­ sible and necessary to efficiently and transparently pursue a climate-smart agenda (Buckland and Robinson, 2019). Fischer notes that, “In choices about how we want to live together – or how to solve the conflicts that arise in the struggle to do so – the experts are only fellow citizens” (2000, p. 42). Ultimately, the actions we take at the local level to address climate change are inherently based on decisions about how we want to live together. This creates the opportunity to strip climate change of its point­ lessly contentious politically divisive nature and instead focus on synergies in our aspirations for what our local communities should look like and how they should serve us. Local action is borne out of longstanding frustration with a lack of concerted effort from higher scales of governance, and its momentum is now magnified by our increasing understanding that the impacts of climate change are and will con­ tinue to be felt locally (Stone Jr., 2012). At the local level we can focus first on the impacts to which we are already likely committed by current and past emissions. In central Pennsylvania, those impacts emerge as hotter summers, increased extreme weather events, and associated increase in flooding (Shortle et al., 2015). By calling attention to these impacts and working collaboratively to address them, we cast a wider net of concerned citizens and stakeholders than simply appealing to those for whom climate change itself is a top concern. Instead, we find ourselves talking to our local farmers about the struggles they face with changing weather conditions or to parents concerned about the increased presence of Lyme-carrying deer ticks where their children like to play. These stories are perhaps what have long been missing from our earlier attempts to encourage widespread public action to address climate change.We have arguably focused too much on what climate change might mean for polar bears and penguins. In many cases it may be far more effective to focus on what climate change means for us. The science of climate change is just one piece of this puzzle, and the social construct surrounding the policies we craft to address (or neglect) it represents a bigger opportunity for opening pathways to common ground.Your role in civic action to address climate change could range from providing technical expertise and congressional testimony as Mike has done, serving in your local government in an elected capacity as Peter has done, leading an ad hoc committee of volunteer citizens as Brandi does, or commenting on local climate-related legislation as all of us have done. Or maybe your civic engagement in local climate takes an entirely different shape. Regardless, each of these roles shares a common goal – to move our communities closer to meaningful actions to reduce the causes and prepare for the impacts of our already-changing climate. Knowing that these local policies are out there in reality or possibility, consider applying to an appointed position in at least three areas. First, using zoning as an example, municipalities have planning commissions, many of which are voluntary.

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Planning commissions are good places for citizens with climate literacy to elevate the conversation on land use, buildings, transportation corridors, and community change. These commissions have the opportunity to nudge development in new ways, to elevate both developers’ and planners’ understanding of climate change and climate solutions. Second, other governmental entities have boards where your understanding might make a difference. Water and sewer authorities use a lot of energy and park authorities sometimes have a lot of land. Third, there are boards that have obvious bearing on climate, such as a Climate Action Committee or a Tree Commission. Readers should understand these positions are advisory in capacity. Can you run for office? Currently, the ship is rigged against climate action.That means that some rigging needs to be taken down and new rigging put in. If you believe, as Peter did, that you have the capacity to craft or co-craft local policy and shepherd it through the deliberation and decision-making process, consider run­ ning. Once in a position to make decisions, you might have the opportunity to change your electricity purchases if you live in a deregulated energy market, place a portion of land into a carbon-sequestering conservation easement, change your municipal vehicles to an all-electric fleet, or make solar energy production a per­ mitted and primary use in some zoning district while also limiting some activities like hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) or high-volume liquid petroleum pipelines through your community.All of these are indeed climate-positive actions.What can matter most to your neighbors is that these policies can increase people’s quality of life by enhancing community health, beauty, and mobility.What may matter most to elected officials is that many of these actions increase efficiency and decrease operating costs. Perhaps one of the most meaningful opportunities for engagement among cli­ mate change educators in their local communities is to create experiential learning activities for their students.The scope and sophistication of these projects will vary widely based on your grade level of instruction, but at each level, opportunities exist to allow students to apply concepts learned in the classroom to real world settings in their communities. This could be overseeing a greenhouse-gas emis­ sions inventory for the township’s operational activities or providing input for the drafting of an ordinance or resolution. It could be working with the township or school district to identify ways to reduce energy consumption in government buildings or residential homes. Teachers in K-12 settings could also partner with your school’s environmental clubs to create broader reach. Allowing students to apply their knowledge in their own communities provides a more engaging learn­ ing experience and could (indeed, should) provide benefit to the local government or other involved community partners. Climate change educators are uniquely positioned to serve as a pivot point between the curriculum they teach and its implementation in the field. In the fall of 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is partnering with ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability and several colleges and uni­ versities across the Commonwealth to provide 20 interested municipalities with

Science alone will not save us


greenhouse gas inventories and climate action plans completed through under­ graduate student projects.The students will undergo training with ICLEI and then collect, interpret, and analyze the data from their assigned municipality to create an emissions inventory. Following that work, students will then help draft climate action plans for the municipalities based on these inventories.While these munici­ palities are eager to pursue this work, they likely lack the human resources to accomplish it. Completing these tasks through student projects provides students with meaningful experience outside the classroom while allowing municipalities to advance their climate action goals.This model is replicable. If not cohort-based as this one is, it can also be accomplished at a more individualized level. In the spring of 2019, students in the Energy and Sustainability Policy program through Penn State’s World Campus completed government operations inventories for Pat­ ton and Ferguson Townships. Students have also worked with the State College Borough to evaluate transportation emissions.Your undergraduates are capable of this work, and there are other scopes of work that could be appropriately tailored to students in grades K-12. Finally, no matter what you do, do it with others.To paraphrase Ser Jorah Mor­ mont from Game of Thrones,“No climate change advocate can survive in this world without help” (2012). Each of us knows this on all fronts. Knowing that you are likely to face resistance and that there will be conflict, you need a team or coali­ tion. People can be vicious and may try to single you out, deploying what Mike has called “the Serengeti strategy” (Mann, 2015).You will therefore need to be organ­ ized, to understand the local and political context, and learn the sphere of your local government’s influence. Most of all, you will need one another’s moral support to persist. Establish and foster strong working relationships surrounding responses to climate change impacts. Here, you can neutralize the political in-fighting this issue often faces and find unlikely allies. Given the scale and pace of the climate crisis, it is time for climate change edu­ cators to embrace civic life. Fischer concedes that while at least on the surface, most people agree that civic engagement is a good thing, many people feel unsure of its efficacy (2000). Informed by an overwhelming mountain of evidence, we must connect our knowledge to shared values of justice, community, and well-being, and work together to overcome the modern “armies of the night” (Asimov, 1981) who have trampled on everything from local climate change education policy to renew­ able energy adoption. Educators, too often seen as mere replicators and instruments of the dominant social order should band together to effect and demand change where they live. As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will” (1857). In a democracy, those who under­ stand what is at stake ought to use their knowledge and expertise to develop under­ standing, build will, prompt action, and see that it is achieved. In this short piece, we urge you the reader to go beyond general citizenship to not only advocate for cli­ mate policy through standard methods, but to engage government – especially local government – by speaking to representatives directly and commenting on current policy considerations, participating on appointed governmental boards, running for

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office, staying connected to people of like mind, and finding connections with your neighbors not of like mind.

References Asimov, I. (1981) ‘The threat of creationism’, New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from: www.nytimes.com/1981/06/14/magazine/the-threat-of-creationism.html Association for the Study of Higher Education [ASHE]. (2006) ‘Research on outcomes and processes of intergroup dialogue’, Higher Education Report, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 59–73. Ballew, M.T., Leiserowitz, A., Roser-Renouf, C., Rosenthal, S. A., Kotcher, J. E., Marlon, J. R., Lyon, E., Goldberg, M. H., & Maibach, E.W. (2019) ‘Climate change in the American mind: Data, tools, and trends’, Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 4–18. Bascomb, B. (2018) ‘GOP tax on global warming gases’, Living on Earth. Retrieved from: www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=18-P13-00030&segmentID=1 Bell, D. (2005) ‘Liberal environmental citizenship’, Environmental Politics, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 179–194. Biko, S. (1987) I write what I like. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Boyer, M.A. (2013) ‘Global climate change and local action: Understanding the Connecticut policy trajectory’, International Studies Perspectives, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 79–107. Buckland, P., Goodstein, E.,Alexander, R., Miuchnik, B., Mallia, M. E., Leary, N.,Andrejew­ ski, R., & Barsom, S. (2018) ‘The challenge of coordinated civic climate change educa­ tion’, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 169–178. Buckland, P., & Robinson, B. (2019) ‘How we can combat climate change’, The Washing­ ton Post. Retrieved from: www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2019/01/02/ feature/opinion-here-are-11-climate-change-policies-to-fight-for-in-2019/ Bump, P. (2015) ‘Jim Inhofe’s snowball has disproven climate change once and for all’,TheWash­ ington Post. Retrieved from: www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/02/26/ jim-inhofes-snowball-has-disproven-climate-change-once-and-for-all/ Chiu, A. (2019) ‘A senator’s argument against the Green New Deal: A machine guntoting Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor’, The Washington Post. Retrieved from: www. washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/03/27/senators-argument-against-green-new-deal­ machine-gun-toting-ronald-reagan-riding-velociraptor/ Cook, J., & Lewandowsky, S. (2011) The debunking handbook. St. Lucia, Australia: Univer­ sity of Queensland. Retrieved from: https://skepticalscience.com/docs/Debunking Handbook.pdf Danahy, A. (2019) ‘Video interview with Todd Baney’. Retrieved from: https://videoplayer. telvue.com/player/GNduNoua2rBThhw6N4PRP9OCSPf6B2ru/playlists/4810/ media/518921 Douglass, F. (1857) ‘Significance of emancipation in the West Indies’, Speech at Canandaigua, New York, August 3. Retrieved from: www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/ 1857-frederick-douglass-if-there-no-struggle-there-no-progress/ Dunlap, R. E., & McCright, A. M. (2008) ‘A widening gap: Republican and democratic views on climate change’, Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, vol. 50, no. 5, pp. 26–35. Fischer, F. (2000) Citizens, experts, and the environment:The politics of local knowledge. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Frameworks Institute. (2017) ‘Climate change’. Retrieved from: https://frameworksinstitute. org/climate-change-and-the-ocean.html

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Game of Thrones. (2012) Television broadcast, HBO, Season 2, Episode 7, original air date May 13. Geiger, N., & Swim, J. (2016) ‘Climate of silence: Pluralistic ignorance as a barrier to climate change discussion’, Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 47, pp. 79–90. Geiger, N., Swim, J., & Fraser, J. (2017) ‘Creating a climate for change: Interventions, efficacy and public discussion about climate change’, Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 51, pp. 104–116. Gurin, P., Nagda, B. A., & Sorenson, N. (2011) ‘Intergroup dialogue: Education for a broad conception of civic engagement’, Liberal Education, vol. 97, no. 2, pp. 46–51. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]. (2018) ‘Summary for policymakers of IPCC special report on global warming of 1.5 C approved by governments’. Retrieved from: www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/11/pr_181008_P48_spm_en.pdf Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]. (2019) ‘IPCC special report on cli­ mate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food secu­ rity, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems: Summary for policymakers’. Retrieved from: www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2019/08/4.-SPM_Approved_ Microsite_FINAL.pdf Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biosphere and Ecosystem Services. (2019) ‘Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and eco­ system services of the Intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services’. Retrieved from: www.ipbes.net/system/tdf/ipbes_7_10_add-1-_ advance_0.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=35245 Kahan, D. M., Peters, E., Wittlin, M., Slovic, P., Ouellette, L. L., Braman, D., & Mandel, G. (2012) ‘The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks’, Nature Climate Change, vol. 2, no. 10, pp. 732–735. Living Room Conversations. (2019) ‘Climate change conversation guide’. Retrieved from: www.livingroomconversations.org/topics/climate_change/ Mann, M. (2014) ‘If you see something, say something’, New York Times. Retrieved from: www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/if-you-see-something-say-something. html Mann, M. (2015) ‘The Serengeti strategy: How special interests try to intimidate scientists and how best to fight back’, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, vol. 71, no. 1, pp. 33–45. Mann, M. (2019) ‘Oral opening statement from Michael Mann testimony to U.S. House oversight committee hearing on climate change and natural disasters’, Speech at Washington, DC, June 25. Retrieved from: www.michaelmann.net/content/oral-opening­ statement-michael-mann-testimony-us-house-oversight-committee-hearing-climate Marlon, J., Howe, P., Mildengerger, M., Leiserowitz, A., & Wang, X. (2018) ‘Yale climate opinion maps, 2018’. Retrieved from: https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/ visualizations-data/ycom-us-2018/ McCright,A. M., & Dunlap, R. E. (2011) ‘The politicization of climate change and polariza­ tion in the American public’s views of global warming, 2001–2010’, Sociology Quarterly, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 155–194. Moloney, S., Fünfgeld, H., & Granberg, M. (Eds.) (2017) Local action on climate change: Oppor­ tunities and constraints. London, England: Routledge. Nyhan, B., & Reifler, J. (2010) ‘When corrections fail:The persistence of political mispercep­ tions’, Political Behavior, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 303–330. Oreskes, N., & Conway, E. M. (2010) Merchants of doubt: How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Press. Orr, D. (1994) Earth in mind: On education, environment, and the human prospect. Washington, DC: Island Press.

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Ruckelshaus, W. D., Thomas, L. M., Reilly, W. K., & Whitman, C. T. (2013) ‘The Repub­ lican case for climate action’, The New York Times. Retrieved from: www.nytimes. com/2013/08/02/opinion/a-republican-case-for-climate-action.html Shortle, J., Abler, D., Blumsack, S., Britson, A., Fang, K., Kemanian, A., Knight, P., McDill, M., Najjar, R., Nassry, M., Ready, R., Ross, A., Rydzik, M., Shen, C.,Wang, S.,Wardrop, D., & Yetter, S. (2015) ‘Pennsylvania climate impacts assessment update’. Retrieved from: www.pennfuture.org/Files/Admin/Pennsylvania-Climate-Impacts-Assessment-Update­ 2700-BK-DEP4494.compressed.pdf Shriberg, M., & MacDonald, L. (2013) ‘Sustainability leadership programs: Emerging goals, methods & best practices’, Journal of Sustainability Education, vol. 5, pp. 1–21. Spinazze, G. (2019) ‘It is still 2 minutes to midnight’, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Retrieved from: https://thebulletin.org/2019/01/it-is-still-2-minutes-to-midnight/ Stone Jr., B. (2012) The city and the coming climate: Climate change in the places we live. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. World Economic Forum. (2019) Global risks report 2019, 14th Edition. Retrieved from: http://wef.ch/risks2019

APPENDIX Resolution 2017–14

A RESOLUTION OF THE TOWNSHIP OF FERGUSON, CENTRE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA COMMITTING THE TOWNSHIP TO DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING A STRATEGY TO ACHIEVE NET ZERO GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS NO LATER THAN 2050; TO BECOME A LEADER IN THE REGION AND COMMON­ WEALTH IN PURSUING GOALS ESTABLISHED BY SAID STRAT­ EGY; AND TO ENGAGE OTHER STAKEHOLDERS IN A DIALOGUE TO DEVELOP COURSES OF ACTION TO REDUCE THE IMPACT OF HUMAN-INDUCED CLIMATE CHANGE TO PENNSYLVANIA AND PEOPLE AND PLACES AROUND THE WORLD. WHEREAS, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Frame­ work Convention on Climate Change in Paris agreed to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in order to prevent catastrophic harm to people and ecological systems on which life depends; and WHEREAS, the United Nations Environment Program’s 2016 “Bridge the Gap Report” concluded that, in order to have a 50% chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C, global carbon dioxide emissions from all nations must be net zero between 2045 and 2050, and to have a 66% chance of limiting warming to 2°C, carbon dioxide emissions from all sources must be net zero between 2060 and 2075. Moreover, to achieve these warming limits, many of the scenarios in the relevant literature that successfully limit warming to below 2°C assume that the use of negative emissions technologies is neces­ sary; and

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WHEREAS, both the magnitude and speed needed to achieve these reductions necessary to prevent dangerous human-induced warming urgently requires all local government entities to cooperate with other levels of government, the private sector, educational institutions, agriculture, and others to rapidly develop strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net zero to achieve the Paris Agreement’s warming limit goals; and WHEREAS, any delay in reducing GHG emissions makes the Paris Agree­ ment’s warming limit goals much more difficult, if not impossible to achieve, as existing GHG emissions levels are rapidly reducing the shrinking carbon budgets that must constrain total global GHG emissions to achieve said goals; and WHEREAS, a growing number of local government entities and private and public sector organizations around the world have committed to begin plan­ ning to reduce their GHG emissions to net zero as quickly as possible but no later than 2050 or, at minimum, achieve 100% non-fossil fuel generated electricity by that date; and WHEREAS, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,Article 1, Section 27 guarantees that,“The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common prop­ erty of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustees of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the ben­ efit of all the people;” and WHEREAS, Pennsylvania contributes approximately 1% of global GHG emis­ sions, which, according to the Commonwealth’s Third Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment Report, is affecting agriculture, energy, human health, infrastructure, recreation, water quality, forests, and other ecosystems in Penn­ sylvania, and human health and ecological systems around the world. Despite this, neither the Pennsylvania state government nor the clear majority of Pennsylvania local governments have established a GHG emissions strategy designed to achieve a GHG reduction target consistent with the urgent need to prevent very dangerous climate change; and WHEREAS, green building practices and standards have been established, and the cost of non-fossil fuel generated energy including solar wind and geo­ thermal power have fallen to the point that the replacement of fossil-fuel generated energy with renewable energy is reaching price parity with non­ renewable energy; and WHEREAS, green building and renewable energy industries employ thou­ sands of Pennsylvanians; and WHEREAS, agriculture and forestry have played important roles in Ferguson Township’s economy and culture for generations, and are integral in sinking carbon, providing additional ecosystem services, beauty, and recreation, as well as afford a high quality of life for people and our environment; and

Science alone will not save us


WHEREAS, universities in Pennsylvania, including Penn State University pro­ vide jobs that research, support, and educate Pennsylvania’s renewable energy industry and conduct international, national, state-level, and local climate assessments and planning assistance; and WHEREAS, the Township of Ferguson is a Home Rule Municipality whose governing Charter includes a Community and Environmental Bill of Rights guaranteeing a sustainable energy future.


2 3

The Township of Ferguson shall a) Immediately begin to develop a strategy to achieve net zero GHG emissions as quickly as feasible, but no later than 2050, and b) commit to achieving the GHG emissions reductions target determined by said strategy and by the date identified therein; and Lead by example to rapidly pursue these goals in a manner that is transparent, fair, and economically responsible; and Engage peer governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and universities to raise awareness and identify courses of action to reduce the impacts and embrace the opportunities created by human-induced warming to Pennsylvania and places around the world.


By:_____________________________ Steve Miller, Chairman Board of Supervisors [S E A L] ATTEST:

_______________________________ David G. Pribulka, Secretary


AFTERWORD Facing the climate crisis with courage Laura Faye Tenenbaum

Like many of you, I have strong opinions regarding education in the United States today, especially in the sciences. I always wanted to make an impact, inspire, and innovate. But I never expected students to pay attention, or care, or absorb anything that I had to impart.Why should I? If I wanted to get a message across, if I wanted students to listen to me, then I had to actively listen to them first. The process of education is an interaction. Listening builds trust, and trust is necessary for real learning. Rather than talking at students, I worked to find out what they came to the table with and how much they already did and didn’t understand. I acknowledged their intellectual value. Once I was able to take hold of where they were, and how they felt, and what sorts of ideas were spinning around in their heads, I began to earn their respect. During the 13 years I taught college-level introductory Earth science courses to non-science majors, I coerced my students to tell me what types of content interested them. These students delivered both honesty and candor, which in itself is something worthwhile.They told me that they believed science was too hard, too cold, and too difficult to understand. They believed science literacy was the amount of facts you know instead of what connections you can make to the world. When I asked students to write about their preconceptions, misconceptions, and stereotypes of science and scientists, they said,“I always believed that scientists were boring people who isolated themselves in their labs, only wore white lab coats their entire lives, and had no social life,”“I’ve always thought about science as an interest­ ing but confusing subject,” and “The teachers had a huge role . . . I think a science class all depends on how the information is delivered.” Students found it practically impossible to name a scientist, even though scientists make huge contributions, but they could easily list athletes, artists, and even business leaders.



On top of all that, many students are still forced to confront the antiquated, yet widespread, practice of instructors and educational institutions attempting to “promote rigor” by failing up to half the class. How grim. But students who fail out of science in school don’t merely vanish at the end of the semester: they grow up to become our neighbors and our fellow citizens.They influence society.They vote. Or they don’t vote, which is even worse.And as a community of scientists and science educators, we need to ask ourselves the question: are they the ones who are failing or are we the ones who are failing them? Are we closing the door to people who may bring something creative, or are we locking ourselves in? Those who feel judged, excluded, and ostracized miss the opportunity to acquire an understanding and appreciation for scientific methodology and can turn apa­ thetic or antagonistic toward the sciences. By the time they reach adulthood, too many people have become disconnected from science and end up feeling dumb. This starts early. I once asked a group of third-graders who were on a field trip to visit NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where I worked if any of them wanted to be a scientist when they grew up, and more than three-quarters of the class told me they thought they weren’t “smart enough.” I heard this a lot. Students told me they thought they weren’t smart enough all the time. During my decade at NASA, the most common thing people told me was,“I used to love science when I was a kid.” They used to love science, but not anymore. This indifference toward science has significant and substantial real-world impli­ cations as our society continues to face the perils of climate change and other envi­ ronmental challenges. Because we live on this planet together, our collective actions impact each other as well as other species, which means that every apathetic citizen or hostile denier represents a gamble on everyone else’s future. Of course, critical thinking and objective reasoning are hard. But beyond the difficulty of the subject matter, there are other more complex reasons that students struggle with feeling “not good enough.”When I was young, I hid my intelligence because I thought being smart wasn’t cool. In college, I felt intimidated by my graduate advisor. Try to imagine how difficult it must be for students who face economic disadvantages or people of color or LGBTQ. Bridges between rigor and inclusivity can help.We can preserve the rigors of the scientific method while simultaneously engaging a broader audience so that the sci­ entific message resonates in a more meaningful way for more people. Having a PhD and doing research is one way to participate in science, but it’s not the only way.We can encourage students to raise their intellectual capacity, but it’s also on us – the scientists, communicators, and educators – who can raise our own standards and expand our own capacity to make connections and impacts. We do this by going beyond the “us or them” mentality that keeps the science community separate and aloof, isolated in our ivory towers, somehow superior to the rest of the public. Using the term non-scientist is an example. Even at NASA, I heard coworkers refer to themselves as non-scientists. These were people who wrote content for science websites, created science videos, spoke about science, and even worked in the office of the chief scientist at NASA. If someone who works

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at a national science laboratory can’t feel comfortable enough to claim a seat at the table, then what does it mean for everybody else? At one agency-wide NASA meeting, a group leader declared conclusively that speakers who talk about science “must be PhD research scientists” rather than pub­ lic engagement specialists or science communicators. I totally disagree.This type of separation keeps science at a distance and intimidates people. It discourages people from wanting to join us. Communicating the value of science can only succeed in an atmosphere of inclusion away from rigid limits or narrow job labels.We have the opportunity to include, not alienate, those who want to communicate about sci­ ence or participate in a science-related career. Let’s support and encourage people. One of the best ways I found to engage students who’d been turned off or were stuck thinking science was boring and hard was by using multi-media. Gaming, play, and interactive media turned the lights on enough to coax students into learn­ ing. Remember, students are immersed in TV commercials, the Internet, pods and pads and 3D gaming technology. PowerPoint doesn’t do it anymore. When I tested NASA content on college student audiences, they told me they wanted to see more action and groups of scientists working together rather than “decapitated talking heads in front of a green screen.” Interactive media such as NASA’s Global Ice Viewer, interactive quizzes, the Images of Change gallery, 3D visualizations and apps, as well as storytelling that evoked emotion were all success­ ful strategies that engaged educational audiences. Using social media was another excellent way to get students involved in climate science activities. Live tweeting and posting on Facebook from science conferences or satellite launches was a great way to keep people informed about the latest climate-related news and info. Accompanying science campaigns into the field helped audiences follow along and participate in real time, as did sharing up-to­ date info on hurricanes, typhoons, floods, tornados, and storms around the world. Lastly, building and fostering relationships with agencies such as the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Climate, the British Ant­ arctic Survey, National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Applied Physics Lab­ oratory UW, Natural Environment Research Council, Climate Central, USAID, USGS, the National Weather Service, the Department of Energy, the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN), California Science Teacher’s Association (CSTA), American Geophysical Union (AGU), and more was critical for spreading the word about NASA climate resources in the classroom. I began working on NASA’s Global Climate Change website, climate.nasa.gov, as an education specialist. I created the “For Educators” portal on that Climate site and collaborated with PBS to create ten teacher professional-development Global Climate Change Modules and a series of “Tips and Tricks for Teachers” interactive guides. I was promoted to Senior Science Editor and wrote the popular weekly column,“Earth Right Now.” But shortly after Trump took office, NASA management removed me from administering our NASA Climate Facebook account. The censorship worsened until by September 2017, I’d been censored, intimidated by JPL Media Relations,



stripped of my duties, and barred from speaking to the press. Management sug­ gested I write something about Mars instead of climate. I felt that my responsibility to be honest to the American public about climate change outweighed my responsibility to protect NASA. Supporting the dysfunc­ tion or the cover-up of the dysfunction felt cowardly. I refused to stay quiet. On September 15, 2017, without any notice, a JPL manager removed my name and title:“Senior Science Editor: Laura Faye Tenenbaum” from NASA’s Global Climate Change website. I suspected it was an act of retaliation. By October 2017, I was forced out of my job at NASA. In this book, you’ve read about teaching climate science to children as young as kindergarten all the way through community college and university.You’ve read about climate education in the science classroom, the humanities classroom, the social science classroom, the arts classroom and informally, outside of any classroom. You’ve been exposed to ideas about professional development for educators and connecting through professional organizations on science education. You’ve also been inspired, hopefully, to do what I decided to do after I lost my NASA job – to participate in local government. Now is the time to run toward the challenge of the climate crisis with courage. Build relationships with your city council members. Have coffee with the director of your local utility. I did it, which means you can too.They’ll respect you and listen to you. Get your students involved.Teach them where their electricity comes from specifically. Go with them to your local power plant. Encourage them to become youth ambassadors and to help lead a youth commission. A few months ago, I was working on “The Big Lie,” a podcast about climate denial for Weather.com, so I attended the Heartland Institute’s conference on cli­ mate. I wanted to know who listens to these deniers and who attends their con­ ferences. Fortunately, one attendee described the audience for me: “This is a real grey-haired crowd,” he said. “There’s no youth here.” That fact should give every one of us hope and make all of us in the education community very proud.


American Educational Research Association (AERA) 107, 118–119 Anthropocene 29, 48 aquariums 97, 124–126, 136–137 arts 55, 172–183 backfire effect 187–188 big data 36, 39 capitalism 46–49, 180 civics 77, 79, 92, 124, 186–193, 201 cli fi (climate fiction) 58, 63–64, 69–70 climate advocacy 63, 92–93, 114–116, 118, 124, 134, 139–140, 143–144, 154, 156–160, 168, 186–194 Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP) 81, 155, 170 climate literacy 2, 21, 30–36, 73, 109, 123, 143–144, 154–157, 162–168 Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) 109–113, 117, 202 climate models 30, 33–37, 39–41 climate scientists 34 collective action 5, 11–13, 22–23, 61, 70, 186 community engagement 123–124, 136, 139–140, 144–151, 154–156, 163–170, 174–175, 186–194 community of practice 3, 87, 97–99, 127, 129, 132, 134, 138–139 Congress 65–66, 112–114, 189–191 connected classroom 36 curriculum 15, 31, 37, 39, 45, 59 – 61, 67 – 70, 80, 85 – 86, 91, 109 – 114,

117, 120, 162 – 163, 174 – 178, 186, 200 – 203 denial of climate change 2, 7, 15–16, 22–24, 35, 131–132, 136, 163, 169, 186–189, 200–203 Design Based Implementation Research (DBIR) 30–31, 33–34 disinformation 2 Earth systems education 29, 38, 114, 124–125, 156 educational standards 2, 4, 15–17, 22, 29, 31, 38, 41, 50, 59, 83, 86, 111–112, 120, 162–163 emotions 17, 18, 59, 78, 131–132, 134, 147–148, 154, 180–183, 200–203; courage 200, 203; despair 17, 136, 172, 182–183; fear 64, 131; grief 169, 183; hope 1, 14, 17–18, 59, 62, 84–85, 134–139, 148, 170; humor 179–183; love 8, 201 engineering 30–31, 38, 55, 191, 162 epistemology 30, 33, 45 experiential learning 59, 91, 179–182, 187, 192 federalism 4–5 fossil fuels 64, 74, 129–130 gaming 99, 163, 202 gender 12–13, 18, 21–22, 53, 201 government 1, 3, 22–23, 148, 186–193, 198, 203


humanities 57–70 indigenous knowledges 5, 44–48, 51–53, 55–56, 155, 169 intergenerational learning 12, 18–19, 21–24, 154 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 11, 187 knowledge acquisition 18, 49, 54, 68, 78–81, 90–92, 124–126, 134–136, 154–155, 181, 186, 192–193 leadership development 100–101, 119, 146, 149–151, 154–156, 160–162 learning community 87–89, 91–92, 96–103, 113, 119–120, 126, 128, 132–134, 137–140, 150–151, 168 local action 19–21, 44–46, 63, 78–85, 89–92, 144–151, 160–165, 190–195 March for Science 105, 115 mathematics 38, 55, 86, 91, 107, 162–163 misinformation 2, 35, 163–164, 169 moral obligations 11, 16, 40–41, 45, 64, 156, 160 museums 6, 64, 67, 124, 139, 151, 162, 166, 177 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 30, 36–39, 201–203 National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) 107, 118–119 National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) 105–106, 109–119 National Center for Science Education (NCSE) 108 National Science Foundation (NSF) 30, 36, 38, 77, 82, 97–98, 113–114, 127, 155 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) 105–106, 109–119 nature centers 102, 108, 124, 126, 136 neoliberalism 52 Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) 29, 30–31, 34, 36, 40–41, 83, 86, 109–120 Obama, Barack 190 ocean acidification 124, 172 ontology 45 parenting 12–14, 18–24, 60 Paris climate accords 11, 27, 75, 160, 187, 190, 197–198


place-based education 92, 136, 147, 150 pluralistic ignorance 188–189 polarization 11, 14, 123–125, 172, 182, 187 professional development 30, 38–42, 61, 68, 77–86, 90–96, 105–106, 110–117, 163 Project WILD 15–16 race 12, 18, 23, 53–56, 143, 201 recycling 50, 130, 178, 190 renewable energy 63–64, 88, 130, 161, 167, 187, 192 Republican Party 2, 161, 167, 187–188 resilience 123, 148–151, 154, 175 science communication 128–130, 134–136, 139–140, 172–176, 182–183, 201–203 scientific modeling 16, 30–31, 34, 38 sea level rise 11, 20, 63, 66–67, 124, 173 settler colonialism 5, 46–48, 55 social justice 48, 65, 78, 157, 166, 193 social media 24, 126, 140, 145, 160, 177, 202 social norms 18, 23, 46, 120 social studies 36, 59, 67–72, 91, 107, 162–163 Steger,Will 61, 153–154, 165 storytelling 53, 59, 153–154, 158–160, 169–170, 172–183, 202 student action 1, 23, 49–50, 62, 65–66, 85, 92; see also youth action sustainability 98, 100, 145, 176–178, 192–196 teacher professional development 16, 30, 37–38, 40–41, 61–62, 68–70, 77–80, 81–83, 86–87, 89–93, 106, 108, 111–112, 116–117, 120 think tanks 2, 169, 187 Thunberg, Greta 1 Trump, Donald 190, 202 UNESCO 108, 150 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) 5 water resources 44, 51, 53–55, 187, 190, 192 world views/ideologies 11–14, 45, 52, 85, 124–126, 146, 154–155, 187–189 youth action 143–151, 155–156, 169–172, 192–193, 200–203; see also student action zoos 97, 102, 137, 149–150, 174