Toward a Climate Literate, Energy Aware, Science Savvy Society
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The Essential Principles of Climate Science Literacy. Presentation given at the ICE2009 (Inspiring Climate Education) Conference in Copenhagen, Oct. 2009. By Mark S. McCaffrey, Associate Scientist ...

The Essential Principles of Climate Science Literacy. Presentation given at the ICE2009 (Inspiring Climate Education) Conference in Copenhagen, Oct. 2009. By Mark S. McCaffrey, Associate Scientist III,
The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES),
University of Colorado at Boulder, USA.
Uploaded by Claus Berg by permission from Mark S. McCaffrey.

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  • #1 Green School in the nation City has more Prius Hybids per capita.. but also more SUVs per capita.
  • “ When people are asked to make personal sacrifices for the greater good in the longer term, they seem to find 1,001 reasons why their particular behavior is so virtuous that this one particular deviation is really O.K.,” Bueno de Mesquita told me recently as we talked in his home office. “ ‘I have to drive an S.U.V. because I want to protect my little children from a car accident!’ ”
  • “ When people are asked to make personal sacrifices for the greater good in the longer term, they seem to find 1,001 reasons why their particular behavior is so virtuous that this one particular deviation is really O.K.,” Bueno de Mesquita told me recently as we talked in his home office. “ ‘I have to drive an S.U.V. because I want to protect my little children from a car accident!’ ”
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  • Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals- Global Environmental Change 19 (2009) Paul Murtaugh and Michael Schlax
  • A proliferation of recent studies have shown that children, especially in industrialized countries, are spending more time inside than previous generations. A child is 6 x more likely to play VIDEO Only 6% of children 9-12 spend time playing outside on their own According to KFF, children spend on average 6.5 hr/day =45/wk Scholars argue that this increased time indoors has not only resulted in children’s limited outdoor play in general, but specifically an extinction of DIRECT, SPONTANIOUS, UNSTRUCTURED experiences of nature. These scholars are not just Romanizing –studies have shown that direct experiences of nature have a profound impact on children’s emotional & physical development Therefore, “Nature Deficit Disorder” has become a popular diagnosis to describe Research suggests that children across cultures are highly pessimistic about environmental problems and the future state of the planet. David Sobel has coined the fear of environmental problems, and children fear of the natural environment in general ECO-PHOBIA. Such trends have results in a nation-wide movement to Limited knowledge from the lens of the children themselves Limited research on children growing up in different contexts Children’s concerns & perspectives are important 1.) Child-based environmental inequities 2.) Children are environmental stakeholders 3.) Children are important consumers, residents, decision- makers and future voters
  • 75% and above in each neighborhood expressed concern about these problems. THE FEELINGS CHILDREN COMMONLY EXPRESSED WERE FEAR. SADNESS FRUSTRATION Interestingly children’s future
  • FINALLY, I ASKED CHILDREN TO DRAW WHAT THEY THOUGHT THE EARTH WOULD LOOK LIKE IN 100 years. I DID SO to not only verify their previous statements in the interview, but to also see how their feelings impacted how they viewed both their future and the future state of the planet. MOST often chidlren across neighborhoods had HIGHLY APOCOLYPTIC VISIONS. Earth won’t exist in 100 years, We will all die or drown due to flooding Earth will catch on fire However other children drew the possibility of two worlds a good world and bad world depending on if humans change their ways to help protect the environment. DICHOTOMOUS VISION shows that some children are aware of
  • CHILDREN’S PESSIMITIC/ACOLYPTIC FEELINGS TENDED TO ASSOCIATE WITH VARIOUS MEDIATORS. TELEVISION SHOWS, NEWS MEDIA (ESPECIALLY AMONG WEALTHIER CHILDREN) WAS ASSOCIATED WITH NEGATIVE FEELIGNS IN ADDITION, MOVIES – ESPECIALLY DAY AFTER TOMORROW SCHOOLS ON THE OTHER HAND WAS ASSOCIATED WITH CHILDREN’S AWARENESS OF DIFFERENT PROBLEMS, BUT CHILDREN TENDED NOT TO DISCUSS LEARNING ABOUT THE NEGATIVE IMPLICATIONS OF ENVRIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS AS MUCH AS TV/NEWS/MOVIES/INTERNET FINALLY PARENTS WERE ASSOCIATED WITH CHILDREN’S KNOWLWEDGE OF THE SOLUTIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM – and those who drew those solutions ---
  • IN SUM, CHILDREN’S AWARENESS AND FEELINGS ABOUT ENV. PROBLEMS mediated through direct expereinces, as well as indirect experineces. TV, Movies and internent – significant role in shaping negative feelings about environmental problems WHILE Parents and schools were not mentioned as much as other sources, they seemed to have a positive impact on children’s awareness of the solutions to environmental problems. Prior scholarship shows that TELEVISION is the number source of children's environmental information across cultures, with schools a second leading source.
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Toward a Climate Literate, Energy Aware, Science Savvy Society Toward a Climate Literate, Energy Aware, Science Savvy Society Presentation Transcript

  • Toward a Climate Literate, Energy Aware, Science Savvy Society
    • The Essential Principles of Climate Science Literacy
    Mark S. McCaffrey Associate Scientist III The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Preface
    • Establishing Coordinates
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  • Colorado’s New Energy Economy
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  • A NASA-funded professional development program for teachers Making Climate Hot Effectively Communicating Climate Change Workshop for scientists, teachers, students and citizens The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences Education and Outreach Group
  • The GLOBE Program http:// www.globe.gov / Engaging Youth to Understand Climate
    • weather-water-climate
    • carbon-energy-climate
    • air pollution-human health-climate
    • ecosystems-biodiversity-climate Text
    • Climate Literacy Energy Awareness Network
            • CLEAN Collection
            • CLEAN Strand Map
            • CLEAN Community
    CLEAN Pathway
  • http://www.researchchannel.org /
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  • http://climateinteractive.org /
  • http://www.google.com/landing/cop15/
  • Bruce Bueno de Mesquita Games Theory Analyst Modeled the future of COP15 targets, and predicted that most countries will renege on them. No democratic government will seriously limit CO2 if it will hurt its citizens economically.
    • Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Predictioneer's Game, Chapter 12 (New York: Randon House, 2009).
  • Dr. James Hansen- NASA 1988 2009
  • Paleoclimatologist James White University of Colorado at Boulder
    • Climate change may:
    • Happen sooner (abruptly) than later
    • Be much worse than anticipated
    • Suggests moving inland and northward to survive
  • What’s the Goal?
    • Behavior Change (Mitigation)
        • Reduce individual/collective emissions
        • Foster more sustainable systems/lifestyles
    • Preparation for Changes (Adaptation)
        • Engage with broad stakeholders
        • Business, government, public health
    • Education/Literacy
      • Support informed decision-making
      • Cultivate science savvy societies
    • All Benefit From Personalized/Localized Feedback and Relevance
  • Chapter 1
    • The Essential Principles of Climate Literacy
    Plan B:
  • “ If you can graduate climate-literate graduates in every area – people who are going to become leaders in business, government, non-profit organizations and legal systems.... Toni Nelson Program Director American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment
  • ...If you can get a shift happening in their education and climate-literacy, then you shift the whole culture around climate.” Toni Nelson Program Director American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment
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  • Reviewed and Endorsed by U.S. Climate Change Science Program now the U.S. Global Change Research Program
  • & Energy Awareness (CLEAN )
  • Climate Literacy
    • Understanding the influence of climate on society…
    Photo: Scott Bauer Understanding the influence of climate on society… and society on climate
  • 1) Sun Drives Earth’s Climate 2) Complex Interactions 4) Natural Variability and Change 5) How Climate is Studied 6) Human Activities & Impacts 7) Consequences of Climate Change 3) Life & Climate Connected
  • Emerging Best Practices
    • Combine & Integrate Climate Science with Solutions &Opportunities
    • Elementary Level: (Keep it simple)
    • Local weather & seasonal observations & systems
    • Middle Level: (Expand Scope)
    • Regional climate processes & systems
    • Secondary & College Level: (Self & Society)
    • Global climate change science, solutions & systems
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  • Guiding Principle For Informed Climate Decision Humans can take actions to reduce climate change and its impacts
  • Climate information can be used to reduce vulnerabilities or enhance resilience... The impacts of climate change may affect the security of nations. Humans may be able to mitigate climate change or lessen its severity by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations...
  • A combination of strategies is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions... Humans can adapt to climate change by reducing their vulnerability... Actions taken by individuals, communities, states, and countries all influence climate.
  • The Sun is the primary source of energy for Earth’s climate system
  • Solar Energy Solutions
  • Text Climate Is Regulated By Complex Interactions Among Components of the Earth System 2.
  • Text Wind, Geothermal, Hydro Power, Storage, Nuclear 2.
  • Text Life on Earth Depends on, Is Shaped By, and Affects Climate 3.
  • Text Food, Bio-Fuels & Bio-Char 3.
  • Climate varies over space and time 4. through both natural and man-made processes
  • Daily, Seasonal & Regional Energy Patterns and Solutions 4.
  • Text Our understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies, and modeling 5.
  • Text Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Beyond 5.
  • Text Human activities are impacting the climate system 6.
  • Text 6. Strategies to minimize impacts
  • Climate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives 7.
  • Building Resilient, Sustainable Communities 7.
  • http://www.eoearth.org/article/Climate_Literacy_Handbook
  • Chapter 2
    • Out of Thin Air
  • CARBON
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  • ~10 Tons of Air per square meter +14 pounds per square inch at sea level
  • Jan Baptist van Helmont 1580-1644
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  • 99.9% of Atmosphere Doesn’t Capture Heat
  • 99.9% of Atmosphere Doesn’t Capture Heat But some “trace” gases do Water Vapor
  • The “Greenhouse Effect” allows liquid water to exist and life on Earth to flourish
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  • Watts per square meter
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  • NAS
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  • “ Our industrial civilization has been pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a great rate....
  • By the year 2000 we will have added 70 percent more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere...
  • If it remained, it would have a marked warming effect on the earth’s climate, but most of it would probably be absorbed by the oceans...
  • Conceivably, however, it could cause significant melting of the great icecaps and raise sea levels in time.” Planet Earth: The Mystery with 100,000 Clues National Academy of Sciences 1958
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  • A seed grows into a large tree. Where did the mass of the tree come from? What if I told you that the mass comes mainly from the carbon dioxide in the air?
  • Plants draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.
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  • Text Sunlight + water + carbon dioxide = carbohydrates (sugars) + O2 + water
  • Over millions of years, the carbohydrates are transformed into “hydrocarbons” or fossil fuels like coal.
  • One gallon of gasoline = 98 tons of biomass (buried solar energy)
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  • Chapter 3
    • Fear Factor
  • Carbon Legacy of US Female = ~6X Per Child Her Lifetime Emissions Murtaugh & Schlax (2009)
  • Text The Concrete Jungle: Environmental Awareness and Experiences of Nature Among Urban Youth Dr. Susie Strife University of Colorado at Boulder
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  • What types of environmental problems are children aware of? How do they feel about these problems? How do they perceive and talk about the future state of the earth?
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    • Environmental Awareness
    • Awareness of global problems & feelings/emotions
    • Sources of environmental information
    • Children’s perceptions of the future
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  • Encourages children to tell their parents: “If you care about me, don’t give me a world that will heat up by four-to-five degrees.” “ Now is the time for a National Energy Education Act.” July 2008 Secretary of Energy Steven Chu chatting with his boss, who as Senator proposed a Global Warming Education Act
  • http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org / ~700 Colleges & Universities Pledge to Develop Carbon Neutrality Plans, Courses & Education Experiences
  • Anthony Leiserowitz- Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media
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  • Chapter 4
    • Naive & Missed Conceptions
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  • “ In areas where data or understanding are incomplete, such as the details of human evolution or questions surrounding global warming, new data may well lead to changes in current ideas or resolve current conflicts.”
  • Not well addressed in State Science Education Standards 30 states do note impacts of anthropogenic change 19 states don’t mention at all 17 states focus on mechanisms 7 states note fossil fuels impacting climate 5 states note land use changes impacts 3 states focus on mitigation strategies
    • Less than 50% formally address climate change
    • Only a third of Earth and Physical Science teachers had professional development about climate change
    • About 10% had been actively discouraged from doing so
  • In summer we’re closer to the sun Axial tilt is reason for the seasons Schneps, 1985
  • Air is invisible and weightless Air has density and momentum
  • Climate is averaged weather Weather & Climate are different processes and studied differently
  • How could a few trace gases warm the entire planet? +99% of gas concentrations in atmosphere don’t capture heat Oh, and by the way, it’s not really like a greenhouse
  • Global warming caused by ozone hole Global warming caused by human activities, especially burning fossil fuels
  • Solar radiation bounces/reflects off Earth Incoming UV and visible are transformed into outgoing IR heat
  • Global warming is just natural cycles Human activities warm the planet
  • Energy is stuff from the ground (that we’re running out of) Fossil fuels = concentrated buried solar energy
  • Carbon is destroyed when burned Energy is converted into work/heat; matter is rearranged but not destroyed
  • Cars run on gas. Electricity comes from a power plant. Energy for transportation and electricity is generated by burning fuel to make heat.
  • We’ll be able to soon reverse global warming The accumulation of GHG in the atmosphere is difficult to slow, let alone reverse
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  • Jan Baptist van Helmont 1580-1644
  • Cornelius Bernardus van Niel 1897-1985 Sugar
  • Plants get their mass from water and nutrients through their roots Plants get mass from “thin air” and experience seasonal cycles
  • Chapter 5
    • Closing the Loop: Beyond Carbon Calculators & Polar Bears
  • Concentrated Buried Solar Energy Burning coal, created in climate of the past, impacts future climate
  • Based on EIA Annual Energy Review 2001 (EIA, 2003).
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  • Microwave Oven
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  • Footprint Calculators in Tons CO2 CO2 Converted Into Watts Adapted from “The Game Plan 1.0” Saul Griffin, 2008 Creative Commons
  • Adapted from “The Game Plan 1.0” Saul Griffin, 2008 Creative Commons
  • Adapted from “The Game Plan 1.0” Saul Griffin, 2008 Creative Commons
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  • Adapted from “The Game Plan 1.0” Saul Griffin, 2008 Creative Commons
  • Adapted from “The Game Plan 1.0” Saul Griffin, 2008 Creative Commons
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  • Use Photos and Videos from Cellphones with GIS to monitor environment and actions
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  • Participatory Sensing
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  • Climate Literacy Video Contest
    • Must be scientifically accurate
    • Peers vote on best creative work
    • Local and regional contests
    • National and international competition
    • Big prizes!!
    Nobel Prize for Climate Education
  • Green (solution) Grey (problem) Rich Poor The Fourth Quadrant
  • “ When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” John Muir
  • [email_address]