Four Federal agencies are funding at least 95 ‘Climate education programs’. These programs are specifically designed to influence students, teachers, and the public in general about climate change. Based on their summaries (which I will share) these programs are not intended to present information and let the public decide for themselves. Instead, they are designed for two goals. One, to influence the public to accept and take action on climate change. Two, to increase the future workforce involved in climate change fields. I will take each agency in turn, look at their stated goals, then look through some of the programs they have funded.
To be very clear, these programs do not further climate research. They are not studying the atmosphere or oceans. They are not studying clouds or albedo. We know nothing more about the state of our climate from these programs. Their sole purpose is education.
I’m going to explain my own view shortly. I do believe that the climate is changing, and that humans have had a minor role in this occurring. I do not believe that the future of the planet is in jeopardy. I object to these programs for multiple reasons, but one main contention is the fact that they all make the assumption that future climate change is overwhelmingly negative and that we absolutely must take serious action now. These programs all appear to assume catastrophic warming will occur unless action is taken. Enough of what I think. Look at the programs yourselves and see what you conclude.
NASA’s Global Climate Change Education initiative
NASA’s funding program is called Global Climate Change Education (GCCE) initiative. Here is their website. Here are their goals:
The goals of the Global Climate Change Education project are to use NASA’s unique contributions to climate and Earth system science to:
* improve the teaching and learning about global climate change in elementary and secondary schools, on college campuses, and through lifelong learning;
* increase the number of people, particularly high school and undergraduate students, using NASA Earth observation data/N ASA Earth system models to investigate and analyze global climate change issues;
* increase the number of undergraduate students prepared for employment and/or to enter graduate school in technical fields relevant to global climate change. Forty projects have been awarded at organizations across the United States for innovative and engaging ways to better educate students and the public on the science surrounding Global Climate Change.
First goal is to improve teaching about climate change in schools, colleges, and ‘through lifelong learning’. I’m not sure what that last one is but I know what schools and colleges are.
Second goal is to increase the number of people using NASA models and data.
Third goal is to increase the number of undergrads entering fields relevant to climate change. The 40 number is outdated, this program has now funded 57 projects.
So now that we know their goals, let’s look at some specific programs. You can follow along on NASA’s awardee site, which lists all the grants and institutions. I’ll link all the titles so you can click them to view their full details if you wish. For the rest of this article, bold is mine unless otherwise stated. If you don’t like sarcastic comments just ignore my commentary between project summaries.
University of California, Riverside
“The Down to Earth Climate Science” project will: (1) help students understand climate science in the 21st century; and (2) provide educators a way to integrate NASA data and Earth Science models into a coordinated series of lessons about climate change issues. Many students leave college without the scientific tools to evaluate the claims of climate change skeptics or to understand the importance of climate change science for themselves. They not only lack understanding about specific climate change issues, but are even unaware of the tools needed for understanding or the importance of modeling as a guide to facing the impacts of climate change. Moreover, when first generation college graduates are asked by friends and family to explain climate change, they often cannot articulate the issues or the scientific findings..
Classroom lectures focus on ways that NASA observes the Earth; these prepare the student for labs that make use of graphical learning tools and out-of-class exercises that serve as tools for exploratory learning. Inherent in this synthesis of NASA tools, lectures and exercises is a constant theme of thinking about Earth systems from a modeling standpoint. This approach prepares the next generation of students and leaders to understand and articulate issues. This is critical in a media-driven society that often considers “data models” pseudo-science…
This program specifically mentions climate skeptics. Many poor college students leave college without the scientific tools to “evaluate the claims of climate change skeptics”. This implies that if only college students had proper tools they would never accept the argument of those climate skeptics. It is automatically dismissing any argument against the consensus opinion. Additionally, they lament the fact that students are unable to articulate the issues when they are “asked by friends and family to explain climate change”. Their solution? Teach them NASA science! Why? This approach prepares the next generation of students and leaders to understand the issues, which is critical in a media-driven society which often considers models pseudo-science. This project is a blatant attempt to teach college students to reject anything other than the standard narrative on climate change, and to foster a trust in climate modeling.
2008: From EARTH to the Sky: Student Experiential Learning in Global Climate Change
From Earth to the Sky: Student Experiential Learning in Global Climate Change
This project will be an innovative application of a successful model for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education that we have developed over several years. We have developed a series of courses at Drexel University from Global Warming 101 for the general undergraduate population to Biophysical Ecology for advanced students and Issues in Global Change for seniors…
The new course will use NASA satellite data to provide support for the reality of global climate change (not accepted by many non-science freshmen) and will add discussions of the economic impacts of climate change (so that students will understand the implications of global climate change for society’s future allocation of resources.
Again, here is another program specifically intended to push students into accepting “the reality of global climate change”, which is “not accepted by many non-science freshmen”. Not only that, but the program wants to teach the economic impact of climate change. Why? So that students understand the implications for “society’s future allocation of resources”. Phew, am I glad this program received tax dollars! Society would have been up a creek without a paddle if these students weren’t so well educated.
University of Toledo
Project Summary: Through this project, an interdisciplinary group of faculty from across the University of Toledo including social and physical scientists will develop five stand-alone, online modules for 7-12 students to improve student (and teacher) learning of climate change topics by addressing common misconceptions. Constructivist theory says that misconceptions are a barrier to student learning and need to be addressed before students can move on. This project addresses funding category D/M and goal 1 as specified in the Cooperative Agreement Notice. The highly politicized topic of climate change has many misconceptions held by students (and teachers alike)…
Each module will address a misconception and have a driving question related to the misconception. The modules will span topics from the impact of greenhouse gases on terrestrial planets, impacts of climate change on local populations and ecosystems, short-term weather versus long-term climate change, economic risk: what are the consequences to doing nothing and reducing individual carbon footprints. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the misconceptions and modules that we proposal, we expect teachers from subjects beyond science such as social studies to utilize these modules.
I wonder what misconceptions (or misperceptions?) arise in regards to ‘reducing individual carbon footprints’? It’s also heartening to see that this project will also include social studies teachers. I’m sure they’ll stick to teaching the science.
University of California, San Diego
Despite decades of scientific observations and analyses, misconceptions abound over the reality and causes of climate change, and few in the public fully understand the scientific basis for concern. This project directly addresses this challenge, as well the challenge of increasing the STEM workforce relevant to global change, by developing a course sequence in “Climate, Technology, and Culture” as part of the core curriculum at the University of California, San Diego’s Sixth College. The proposed course will educate freshmen in the basic scientific understanding of global climate change, the social challenges it entails, and the role of technology in understanding and addressing it…
Our approach will be to teach global climate change in terms relevant and important to our students’ lives, by engaging students in analyses and modeling activities that make direct use of NASA observational data, that instruct them in the uncertainties of that data, and that illustrate the impact of observed and potential impact of predicted future climate change on their lives and communities. The proposed course will provide students with both the motivation and scientific foundation to pursue academic study in STEM fields that have bearing on climate change, and a basis for informed decision making as global citizens, whatever career they might pursue.
So this core curriculum will be developed for freshman. It will teach….what? A “basic scientific understanding of global climate change, the social challenges it entails, and the role of technology in understanding and addressing it”. Does that sound unbiased? What if a student is presented the basic understanding of climate change, but then decides that he or she doesn’t believe the problem is grave enough to require action? Well then they will probably flunk the course, because they need to understand the social challenges it entails, and the role of technology to stop it. You can only learn those things if you already believe it is a problem. What’s the main goals here? A basis for informed decision making as global citizens. Yikes.
Many studies show that climate change has already begun to affect natural and societal systems, and even the most optimistic international agreements allow for continued greenhouse gas increases and significant future climate change. Ongoing climate impacts will be monitored by a growing array of observational systems, both space and land-based, while projections of impacts are made by complex global climate models. To advance the use of these “forecast” systems, colleges and universities are advancing the level of training in model development within traditional earth and atmospheric science departments, and simultaneously expanding training in the use of climate models and model output to non-traditional areas — biology and chemistry departments, centers of public health and learning science, and business and law schools.
To keep pace with this demand, climate modelers and educators need to transform the primary climate science tools for delivery to users well beyond the walls of climate research institutions. In the emerging economy it is critical that we prepare the next generation to make use of the tools-of-the-trade and the data they produce, because many professions will require a workforce trained to recognize climate impacts before they happen. This will help society adapt sensibly and efficiently to climate change, make responsible decisions about mitigation strategies, and avoid any disastrous consequences.
I am so glad this project got taxpayer funding. Can you imagine what might have happened if it hadn’t?
Wheeling Jesuit University
2009: Exploring Global Climate Change Through Problem-based Learning
The leading geoscientists 200 years ago were confident that Earth’s climate could not dramatically change in less than a 1,000-year cycle. Today’s geoscientists tell a different story. Today we are in a new era, the Anthropocene Epoch, scientists say. This epoch is characterized by changes in global environmental conditions resulting from interactions between humans and the planet. Education and public policy must immediately address the causes and impact of this global climate change. NASA research and mission resources provide key data to document, study, and educate youth through adults about the indicators, consequences, and challenges of Earth’s rapidly changing climate. Summary data from NASA satellites document dramatic changes in sea ice mass, carbon dioxide, sea level, global temperature, and the size of the ozone hole. How these changes will progress, their impact on human life, and actions we humans need to take are the science focus of this problem-based learning (PBL) effort we propose.
I’m not even sure what to highlight here. It’s hardly coherent….but worthy of tax dollars!
University Of Nebraska
Climate change is one of the most serious global environmental problems that society faces. Many studies indicate that misconceptions and misunderstandings exist among people, of all ages, about the potential causes, consequences, and solutions. Teachers play an important role in minimizing these misconceptions and associated misunderstandings during a student’s formative years. The goal of this project is to test the hypothesis that if middle school to high school educators (grades 6-12) learn about climate processes and climate change in the context of their own environment by employing the basic principles of mass and energy balance, then there will be statistically significant improvement in their climate and Earth system science literacy.
This study will ensure that teachers minimize any misconceptions and misunderstandings about climate change that students may have during their formative years. Is this really what teachers are for? Correcting every misconception about a certain subject? What if the current scientific understanding is wrong? Teachers need to teach students how to acquire knowledge and make decisions for themselves, not blindly accept the current popular scientific belief.
Public Broadcasting Service
As American teachers work to integrate science – and especially climate change — across the curriculum in a manner that makes the science tangible and current, PBS and NASA have a tremendous opportunity to provide these teachers with professional development that is just-in-time and applicable to the lessons they are teaching. By combining forces, our organizations can improve teacher knowledge and student learning on a continuous basis.
Nothing in particular to highlight here, just pointing out that PBS is ‘combining forces’ with NASA to teach climate change. And using even more tax dollars.
The changing climate is one of our greatest challenges. Taking steps to prepare for change and to slow it depends on an informed public which in turn depends in part on K-12 education. This project seeks to educate students by strengthening teachers’ disciplinary knowledge of the climate system and how it affects societal resources and ecosystems on which we rely. The project will help teachers and students understand the current and projected impacts of climate change, as well as options to mitigate and respond to those impacts.
Preparing for climate change and attempting to slow it depends on K-12 education. Why is that? Because the next generation needs to “understand the current and projected impacts of climate change, as well as options to mitigate and respond to those impacts.” With such conclusions already drawn, what chance does a child have of truly understanding the issue?
These are just nine of the 57 projects which NASA is funding (or has funded). Most of them deal with teaching educators (school and college) in how to more effectively communicate climate change, usually by using NASA data. All of them deal with teaching climate change to the public. Funding numbers have been difficult to find, but it appears that the program started in 2008 with $6 million, and received about $10 million in 2009 and another $10 million in 2010. I’m still looking into those numbers. That means the average program receives something around $450,000. This appears to be consistent with the amount recieved in the NSF program, which I’m coming to next.
It is not a lot of money compared to NASA’s total budget. However, the impact that tens of millions of dollars have over a short period of time in a very specific application could potentially be significant. In many of the summaries, the projects estimate how many people they can specifically reach. Entire college classes or high school classrooms are the target, with thousands of students available to educate. NASA’s GCCE may only cost the taxpayers $20 or 30 million, but the impact on our students (high school and college) is unknown.
NSF’s Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP)
The NSF’s program is called the Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP). This is a new program, only starting in 2010. Here is the press release when the program’s first awards were made. It contains an easy to view summary of each individual program in a nice list. So far this program has funded 15 projects intended to educate the public about climate change. Here are the CCEP’s goals:
The Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP) program seeks to establish a coordinated national network of regionally- or thematically-based partnerships devoted to increasing the adoption of effective, high quality educational programs and resources related to the science of climate change and its impacts. Each CCEP is required to be of a large enough scale that they will have catalytic or transformative impact that cannot be achieved through other core NSF program awards. The CCEP program is one facet of a larger NSF collection of awards related to Climate Change Education (CCE) that has two goals: (1) preparing a new generation of climate scientists, engineers, and technicians equipped to provide innovative and creative approaches to understanding global climate change and to mitigate its impact; and, (2) preparing today’s U.S. citizens to understand global climate change and its implications in ways that can lead to informed, evidence-based responses and solutions.
Practically the same as the NASA program in its stated goals. Let’s look at some of their programs. Unlike the NASA summaries, these include the dollar amount given, so there is no guessing.
University of San Diego
An award has been made to the University of San Diego to establish a Phase I Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP) in collaboration with California State University San Marcos, The San Diego Foundation, the Steve Alexander Group, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The overall goal of the CCEP Phase I project is to establish a coordinated national network of regionally- or thematically-based partnerships devoted to increasing the adoption of effective, high quality educational programs and resources related to the science of climate change and its impacts. This project will focus on involving “Key Influentials” (thought and opinion leaders, trend-setters) to increase awareness of climate science, mitigation, and adaptation issues among the non K-16 population in the San Diego region. The project targets a diverse audience, including local elected officials representing 18 cities and the County of San Diego, the Hispanic/Latino community, the real estate development community, faith-based communities, and tribal communities.
NASA focused primarily on teachers, but the NSF grants do not have that focus. In this project, they are involving “thought and opinion leaders, trend-setters”, as well as elected officials, minorities, the real estate community, and faith based and tribal communities. They intend to increase awareness of climate science, mitigation and adaption. I think we can safely assume that the “trend-setters” will focus more on mitigation and adaption than climate science. The NSF grants also differ from NASA in their target audience. The NASA grants generally targeted students, while the NSF can target anyone. This grant targets the non K-16 population. I’m not exactly sure what that entails (everyone not in high school or college?). Clearly this grant is very open-ended.
Chicago Zoological Society
The overarching purpose of the Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network is to develop and evaluate a new approach to climate change education that connects zoo visitors to polar animals currently endangered by climate change, leveraging the associative and affective pathways known to dominate decision-making.
I’m not sure this is entirely original. Cute polar animals have long been the poster-child for climate change education. However, now they are intentionally presenting them in zoos for educating visitors about climate change. The last clause in their opening statement is interesting, “Leveraging the associative and affective pathways known to dominate decision-making”. Could I get a psych student to translate? It sounds to me like they are intentionally appealing to emotion in order to affect the visitor’s decision making. Another interesting fact about this project? Michael Mann is listed as a Co-Principal Investigator, with the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University listed as a partner. I do not know if this means Mann gets money for this project, or if he is simply an adviser.
National Academy of Sciences
This award focuses on the impacts of climate change for engineered systems. The goal is to catalyze and transform engineering education in K-12, science museums, and undergraduate engineering departments to prepare current and future engineers, policymakers, and the public to meet these challenges.
In coming decades, climate change and society’s responses to it will require enormous transformation of the nation’s technological infrastructure. Current US education falls short of preparing the country for this challenge. Educational platforms must focus on the multiple, complex interactions between engineered systems and the Earth’s climate system. At the same time, transformation raises societal challenges, including trade-offs among benefits, costs, and risks, and opportunities for building public trust, confidence, and engagement. New education must integrate technical and normative learning, knowledge, and skills, in formal and informal educational venues.
This question is directed at taxpaying Americans. Did you know that “climate change and society’s responses to it will require enormous transformation of the nation’s technological infrastructure”? What’s that? You don’t believe this claim is true? Well too bad, you’re funding it.
University of South Florida
The overall goal of the CCEP Phase I is to establish a coordinated national network of regionally- or thematically-based partnerships devoted to increasing the adoption of effective, high quality educational programs and resources related to the science of climate change and its impacts. This project will focus on the impacts of climate change in coastal areas, with sea level change as a core theme. The audience targeted by this project includes higher education and K-12 faculty, informal science educators, and college and K-12 students across the region, toward ultimately reaching the broader community.
The specific goals include to:
1) Prepare a new generation of climate scientists, engineers, and technicians;
2) Prepare our region’s citizens to understand global climate change and its real-time manifestations, and how to mitigate its impact;
3) Produce new knowledge about climate change, about preparing students to work on climate-related problems, and about means for effectively engaging the broader community in understanding the issue.
This grant funds teachers, who in turn teach students, who are taught methods for “effectively engaging the broader community in understanding the issue”. This also has sea level change as a core theme. Considering there is absolutely NO evidence showing that the rate of sea level has increased this seems an odd focus. Who would better know that sea level rise hasn’t been a problem than folks in south Florida? I suppose they will rely on models to project how bad it will be in the future. No one can argue against the future.
These are just four of the 15 programs the NSF has funded. I’ve already written about a fifth program entitled “Making the Global Local – Unusual Weather Events as Climate Change Educational Opportunities”. In this post, I wrote about how the program intends to educate weathercasters to incorporate climate change into their broadcasts, and it even goes so far as to single out weathercasters who reject the scientific consensus and use a ‘conflict resolution framework’ to help them ‘accept the scientific consensus’. I am in a conversation now with several people involved in the project to get their point of view, and I’ll write about it in the future.
There are 12 more programs, and these are funded by NOAA.
NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Grants Program (ELG)
So far both the NASA and NSF program are specifically directed towards climate change education. The NOAA program is not exclusively for climate change education (called climate literacy), but also on ocean literacy as well. However, I have found 12 programs which specifically focus on climate change. Here are the ELG’s goals:
The ELG competitions have consistently demonstrated alignment with at least one of NOAA’s mission goals and with NOAA’s Education Strategic Plan:
Require a robust project evaluation plan; promote best practices; emphasize partnerships with NOAA offices and programs to leverage NOAA scientific, educational and human resources; and, finally, promote ocean and/or climate literacy. Additionally, we strive with each opportunity to fund projects that complement rather than duplicate grant programs and other educational efforts offered by other NOAA offices and other Federal agencies.
These grants have been given since 2005, and there is a healthy balance between grants for ocean literacy and climate literacy. However, this is changing. The 2011 grants are in process now, and the focus has switched heavily towards climate literacy instead of ocean literacy. This was explicitly stated by a NOAA member in this phone transcript. This phone conference call was held for potential ELG recipients to learn about the program and ask questions. Starting at the bottom of page 39, the following conversation takes place:
(David): Okay, all right. And the second question, this is minutiae perhaps. Page 4 up at the top you mentioned that in particular increasing climate literacy. Should we interpret that as being a primacy of climate literacy over ocean literacy or other things? Or is that just sort of a generalistic statement?
Sarah Schoedinger: As Carrie emphasized, no, we are definitely putting a greater emphasis on climate literacy. It does not mean we’re not interested in ocean literacy-focused projects. We are. But given what’s going on in the state of the world today, climate literacy is a strong focus for this.
Sarah Schoedinger: And that’s why it’s stated there. As she said, those words were chosen very carefully.
(David): Okay, thank you.
I think we can safely assume the majority of 2011 awardees will be focusing on climate change.
Conveniently for me, someone has already gone through the past NOAA ELG grants and singled out which ones were given for climate change education. Carrie McDougall at the NOAA Office of Education, I thank you for the following graphic. She gave this slide show presentation on the ELG program on March 15, 2010. Slide 13 shows all the climate change projects from 2005-2009. Here is the picture:
That’s eleven programs. In the 2010 funding there was one program specifically devoted to climate change:
Hurricanes and Climate Change: Local Impacts and Global Systems Jennifer Santer, Miami Science Museum
There is no further information on that project. Altogether, NOAA has funded 12 projects dedicated to climate change education. It seems nearly certain that this number will grow substantially in the coming years.
EPA’s Environmental Education grants (EE)
The EPA also has a program called Environmental Education grants (EE), and a quick glance shows several programs specifically focused on climate change. There have been more than 3,300 grants made since 1992. These are substantially smaller grants than other agencies although some do get into six figures. By looking at the summaries the vast majority do not deal with climate change, at least not as their central focus. However, some do:
Global and Multicultural Education Center $4,838
Manny Pedram, 3009 Holmes Street, Kansas City, MO 64109-1435
Climate Change: Myth or Reality
This project involves teachers who participate in weekly seminars on climate change and teaching strategies. Staff from the Global and Multicultural Education Center, in partnership with the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Continuing Education faculty, conduct workshops for teachers. These workshops give teachers an opportunity to examine the complexity of the climate change issue. Teachers participate in exercises to develop conflict resolution and problem-solving skills. These professional development activities focus on teaching skills strategies and effective classroom techniques for teaching students about global environmental complexities of climate change. Teachers then incorporate climate change information into their lesson plans to teach students how they can become environmental stewards.
While I don’t know if they decided climate change was a myth or reality, I can guess. Considering they received federal funds and they plan on teaching students how they “can become environmental stewards” I’m going to guess they don’t think it is a myth. Here’s a much larger grant:
Headquarters grant National Audubon Society, Inc. $120,000
Judy Braus, 700 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Climate Change “Train the Trainers” Workshop and Pilot
Under this project, the National Audubon Society helps community and educational leaders across the country acquire the knowledge, skills, and resources to educate people about climate change issues and assists in developing the skills to make decisions about reducing their carbon footprints. Audubon uses a “train–the-trainers” online conferencing workshop for individuals selected from various Audubon centers and their partner community-based organizations to enhance their knowledge about climate change and develop scientifically accurate and educationally sound programming to engage the target audiences. In the workshop, the leaders learn how to design new programs as well as components about climate change that can be embedded into courses that their organizations already offer. Workshop participants are provided with materials that can be used for local outreach and programming. After the workshop, Audubon pilots the development, implementation, and evaluation of climate change programming, with the objective of reaching new audiences and capturing best practices for dissemination among Audubon’s entire network of centers and partners. Results of this project include education leaders who are better trained and equipped to educate people across the country about what they can do to affect climate change, citizens who are more aware of how their actions affect climate change, and a model for climate change that can easily be replicated in other regions. The key partner in this project is the National Wildlife Federation, along with a variety of community-based organizations.
Here are a few other grants I’ve found focused on climate change. I won’t comment on them because I think you already get the picture:
Headquarters grant California Institute for Biodiversity $56,000
Carol Baird, 1660 School Street, Suite 105, Moraga, CA 94556
Sierra Nevada Climate Change Program
Through field experiences and an interactive multimedia curriculum, the Sierra Nevada Climate Change Program provides teachers with direct experience and tools to develop their skills and apply them to the classroom. The 10-day program, hosted by the California Institute for Biodiversity, is for middle and high school teachers from across California. The program includes a 6-day institute held at the Jack L. Boyd Outdoor School in Fish Camp, California, led by an instructional team consisting of scientists, educators, and instructors. During the program, teachers participate in a hands-on curriculum focused on the Sierra Nevada ecosystem, watershed dynamics, and the impact of climate change on these ecosystems. The program includes guided experimental design, science activities, and role-playing exercises. Participants receive curricula and materials they can use during the school year. After they participate in the program, teachers are eligible for a student transportation grant so that their students may participate in outdoor scientific and stewardship projects. The program seeks to provide teachers with a professional development experience that directly affects their ability to address environmental education issues with the students, especially the impact of climate change. Key partners include California State Parks, California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the California Academy of Sciences.
Resource Innovation Group $24,281
Robert Doppelt, P.O. Box 51182, Eugene, OR 97405
Climate Brigade Program
This project (1) completes a model for outreach to households around climate change and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;(2) runs two pilots on outreach to businesses in Eugene on the same topic; and (3) plans to disseminate the model regionally and nationally. The program trains Climate Masters during a 10-week train-the-trainer program modeled after the Master Recycler program and mobilizes a brigade of citizens to fight climate change. Once trained, the brigade conducts outreach around reduction of GHG emissions in homes and businesses through individual and business climate consultations (which include personalized audits and site-specific recommendations) and attends conferences to speak about the program and distribute literature.
Oregon State University $11,000
Melissa Feldberg, P.O. Box 1086, Corvallis, OR 97339
Climate Change Workshops for Teachers: Moving from Information to Action
Oregon State University holds two on-site climate change workshops for middle and high school science teachers. The project develops a cadre of teachers in Oregon who are equipped with the latest research-based information and teaching materials on climate change to be shared with their students and other teachers in their area. The project is designed to focus on “information to action” — to encourage teachers and students to develop specific projects and changes in personal lifestyles to reduce their contribution to climate change. The project is further designed to emphasize the importance of informing students and the public on current environmental research and stimulate critical thinking and problem solving skills; and improve teaching skills in environmental problem solving using the topic of climate change.
South Dakota Discovery Center $24,971
Anne Lewis, 805 W Sioux Avenue, Pierre, SD 57501
Biomonitoring for Climate Change
Biomonitoring for Climate Change is a project that trains and equips educators to develop the environmental literacy of their students. The goal is to provide educators the skills, knowledge, and resources to teach about climate change using hands-on activities, and then implement ecological monitoring activities that yield data to track conditions sensitive to climate change, among other ecological stressors. This project provides professional development for teachers so they may begin to improve instruction about climate change, biomonitoring (ecology monitoring), and how the two relate. The guidelines for preparation and professional development of environmental educators published by the National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education are used in designing the training.
United Nations Association – USA $5,000
Dorothy Paul, 20 East Market Street, Iowa City, IA 52245
Taking on the Challenge of Global Change
Taking on the Challenge of Global Change uses public forums to explore the risks posed by climate change, the challenges those risks present, and solutions to the problem. A public hearing is held at Iowa’s Capitol to continue helping citizens learn about issues and processes and to present to the public positive and innovative proposals for solutions to problems related to climate change. The overall goal of the project is to make Iowa a safe and environmentally healthy and sustainable state.
Chicago Public Schools, District #299 $90,307
Jon Schmidt, 125 South Clark Street, 12th Floor, Chicago, IL 60603
Carbon Emissions Reduction Action Project (Ce-RAP)
The Chicago Carbon Emissions Reduction Action Project (Ce-RAP ) creates opportunities for students and teachers in the district to learn about climate change by implementing environmentally focused service-learning projects. Through Ce-RAP, high school students work to reduce carbon emissions in their communities and address the problem of climate in a structured manner. The expected outcome of Ce-RAP is to implement carbon emissions reduction projects across the district and enable schools to work together to address climate change. As a part of the carbon reduction projects, students learn about the consequences of climate change, become familiar with the city’s Climate Action Plan, and learn how to conduct carbon emission inventories. Using this knowledge, students conduct emission inventories of their schools, homes, and at local organizations to gather data and establish a baseline of emissions. Students then work with their schools and families to begin to reduce the carbon footprint. The projects are led by teachers and supported with resources, technical assistance, and access coordinated by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS)-Learning Initiative. Ce-Rap builds instruction capacity among teachers by providing training, curricular resources, and access to hands-on service projects that enhance classroom learning. Key partners include the City of Chicago’s Department of Environment, the Sierra Club of Illinois, and the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization.
Catonsville Campus of the Community College of Baltimore County $89,379
Christopher Fox, 800 South Rolling Road, Building M, Baltimore, MD 21228
Community Education and Technology Initiative
The Community Education and Technology Initiative (CETI) addresses climate change and its potential effects on communities. This project is intended to educate high school students and teachers, community college students and teachers, and members of local communities throughout Maryland. The CETI includes two integrated activities designed to enhance understanding of climate change at the local level. The first activity, the “Beat the Heat!” competition, involves high schools and communities working in partnership to develop emission reduction or emission sequestering strategies. The second activity, the “Nine Lives” community forums, includes presenting 18 community-focused climate change education workshops at Maryland’s community colleges. The CETI is sponsored by the Community College of Baltimore County Environment Project in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Association of Community Colleges.
I don’t know the total number of programs the EPA has funded which were entirely dedicated to climate change. I found 11, but the number is likely higher. Also, most of these grants were in the past 2 years, showing an recent increase.
This post has been a quick overview of the (at least) 95 projects devoted to climate change education, all funded by taxpayers. However, this is only the beginning. To the best of my knowledge, all of these programs are continuing. The NOAA program seems to have taken a sharp turn towards focusing on climate change even more heavily. The funding for these groups does not seem in question. In fact, it appears that more agencies want a piece of the climate education pie. Listen to what Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said at the Sustainability Summit on Sept 21, 2010:
Until now, we’ve been mostly absent from the movement to educate our children to be stewards of our environment and prepare them to participate in a sustainable economy. That work is taking hold in corporations, in other agencies of the federal government, as well as colleges, universities, and schools across the country…
Educators have a central role in this. A well educated citizen knows that we must not act in this generation in ways that endanger the next. They teach students about how the climate is changing. They explain the science behind climate change and how we can change our daily practices to help save the planet. They have a role in preparing students for jobs in the green economy.
Historically, the Department of Education hasn’t been doing enough in the sustainability movement. Today, I promise you that we will be a committed partner in the national effort to build a more environmentally literate and responsible society.…
The Blueprint is our proposal to reauthorize and fix the No Child Left Behind Act. As many of you know, NCLB held schools accountable for student achievement in reading and mathematics. That has led to a narrowing of the curriculum, and no one—teachers, parents, or students—is happy with the state of affairs. We want all students to have access to a well-rounded, world-class curriculum—and that curriculum should include environmental literacy. For the first time ever, the Department of Education will be supporting locally developed models that teach environmental science.
Under the Blueprint, we will create a competitive grant program that will support new, promising instructional practices that are capable of increasing student achievement and engagement. The President has proposed $265 million for this program in his fiscal 2011 budget. These grants will support subjects such as the arts, foreign languages, history, and civics—all of which receive funding under current Education Department programs. Because we recognize the importance education plays in the sustainability movement, these grants also will support environmental education.
Now the Dept of Education will be providing grants for environmental education. If this trend continues, every single Federal agency will have a program directed at funding climate change education.
Do we really want Federal agencies to be funding climate change education? They already spend an outrageous amount on climate research themselves. In a free society people’s lives are not guided by the central government. These programs attempt to influence education at both the school and college levels. They attempt to influence citizens through cooperating zoos, weathercasters, and a myriad of other societal routes. They attempt to push citizens into certain careers. They openly direct resources from tax payers into combating one particular (perceived) problem.
I am a taxpaying American and I don’t support these programs. If you agree with me (and are American), here is the link to find and write your member of Congress, and here is the link to find and write your Senator. It’s our money being used, meaning we have every right to voice our concerns. I would ask that you please be civil.