In our globalized and rapidly changing world, it has become increasingly important that students leave school equipped to address global challenges such as climate change. But global issues are complicated and many can induce anxiety in children. So how can we talk to students about climate change without suppressing their desire to learn more and take action?
It has been a big year for climate change. From the 2014 UN Climate Summit in New York City to troubling reports on mass extinction and defunation, the pending future of our planet is now a reoccurring topic in today’s current events. This week climate change made headlines once again with the release of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 5th Assessment Report (AR5).
“The world is in the midst of the sixth mass extinction.” This is one of the global challenges students must consider in this year’s World of 7 Billion video contest. But what is the sixth extinction and what is really going on?
If you’ve been to the beach this summer, odds are you spent your days splashing in the waves and listening to the sounds of the ocean rhythms. It’s easy to forget that our oceans are more than just a source of recreation; they are in fact a vital part of our global ecosystem supporting nearly 50% of all species on earth. And sadly, they are in grave danger.
The earth is warming, scientists tell us. Yet many of us in North America experienced one of the harshest winters in decades, with multiple blizzards and record-breaking low temperatures. How can our planet be warming when we still experience such extreme cold? The reason, as Neil deGrasse Tyson points out in a recent episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, comes down to the difference between weather and climate.
June 5th marks this year’s World Environment Day (WED). It is sponsored by the United Nations to encourage awareness on current environmental issues and how we can help abate them. This year the theme is ‘Small islands and Climate Change’ and is hosted by Barbados.
The recently released National Climate Assessment highlighted the results of climate research from hundreds of scientists and spoke the message loud and clear that climate change is happening now and the impacts are already upon us.
The new National Climate Assessment released by the government this week makes it clear – the effects of climate change are already being felt in every region of the United States and this is just the beginning. From more severe storms in the eastern U.S. to more drought and wildfires in the Southwest, we are already reaping what we’ve sown with unabated carbon and methane emissions. The Assessment, which brought together hundreds of experts, is more than just a static report.
This past Monday – April 7th – marked the celebration of World Health Day, sponsored by the World Health Organization. The 2014 focus was on the spread of diseases around the globe.
The first World Health Day was celebrated in 1950, back when world population was 2.5 billion. Since the day’s inception, our global family has added an additional 4.5 billion individuals. Let’s take a moment and consider some of the ways population growth has impacted the ability of diseases to spread.
“Though it must be nice to imagine there once was a time when man lived in harmony with nature, it’s not clear that he ever did.” Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.