Three times this summer I have approached the idea of linking up with NASA on some of their projects and three times I come away empty. I can be involved with them, but there is always some limitation, like money or time commitment with fellow teachers or classroom curriculum schedule problems. FRUSTRATING. I am back again designing and implementation of new and potentially radical pedagogy that will break down the silo mentality of science disciplines and stress cross-disciplinary research and problem solving by all students in the classroom.
The reason I am writing is to express to you an idea that I am brainstorming which would not only help spark enthusiasm by students in the science classroom, but would contribute to student-initiated solutions to the problems of climate change. I am sending to you a copy of the most recent scientific evaluation on the effects of carbon dioxide emissions on the temperature of our planet. The bottom line is that the crisis point is imminent and I believe that the only chance of changing the course of events will be through education of the populace, thereby creating the will to take action and save our world as we know it.
I would like to start a nonprofit called “Carbon-Neutral” that would be an educational institution networked with scientists, engineers, business associates and policy-makers. This organization will help to provide influence and leadership that is necessary to make changes in our societies that will deter the ramifications of climate change resonating from global warming.
One of the main goals as outlined by this report by the International Energy Agency, “Redrawing the Energy Climate Map”, details the current need for action to secure investments in low-carbon and more efficient infrastructure to preempt future crisis issues of eliminating carbon-intensive assets later on. As teachers we have an opportunity to lace this issue into our curriculum providing a unifying theme, idea or goal to work for during the school year. This effort lends well to science education, but other disciplines can also contribute in this collaborative effort to change the world.
Early in the school year I discuss this issue with my students and I lay down the challenge to make a difference this year in their lives and in the lives of everyone around them. I try to embed, within the science curriculum, the goal of carbon dioxide emissions reduction as a constant issue demanding students’ thoughts and efforts to come up with solutions. The Greenhouse Project, Worm Farm Project and Alternative Energy Project are the means through which students create that sense of engagement and success in the classroom and within their community. Other projects such as the Solar Cooker Project and The Energy Conservation Project can lend to more effort by students to reduce the carbon footprint of our society helping to educate others of the need for change.