Are Northfield schools helping to make students climate literate?

Explorer Will Steger  had a commentary in last week’s Strib titled, Make America climate-literate. Here’s an excerpt:

Will Steger, photo by Amanda OdeskiIt wasn’t until 2002, when the Larsen B ice shelf disintegrated from western Antarctica — an ice shelf formed more than 12,000 years ago that my expedition team took a full month to ski across — that the facts of global warming prompted me to take action. In 2006, I decided to establish the Will Steger Foundation, where we support educators, students and the general public with science-based interdisciplinary resources on climate change, its implications and its solutions. Our goal is for educators and students to achieve climate literacy.

If the nation is to address climate change, it must begin with a public that is climate-literate. Starting with our educational system is critical. Teaching and understanding climate change is a process involving scientific inquiry and educational pedagogy; it is not about politics or partisanship. There is virtually unanimous scientific agreement about climate change. Yet due to both the inherent complexity of the topic and the social controversies surrounding it, confusion and doubt often persist. Climate change is now ultrapoliticized in the United States.

I’m curious to know what Northfield’s schools (district, charter, parochial) are doing in the classrooms on this ‘ultrapoliticized’ issue of climate change.  Are our educators using materials like those available on the Steger Foundation’s education page, are they ducking the issue, or doing something in between?

Some personal background:

I got to know Will Steger back in 1993 when I was hired to advise him on internet communications for his upcoming International Arctic Expedition.  The project took a personal turn when two of my sons, Collin and Graham (then ages 16 and 12) accompanied Steger and fellow explorers to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories for six weeks to test ham radio and internet communications with schools while his team did a training run, a "1000 mile dogsled and canoe-sled trek across the Canadian Barrens from Yellowknife, NWT to Churchill, Manitoba."

Will Steger in Northfield, 2006 Brianna Spittle, Gilly Wigley, Will Steger
Steger came to Northfield in 2006 to speak about climate change and his then new Will Steger Foundation. Right photo: my daughter Gilly Wigley and her friend Brianna Spittle geting a poster signed by Steger for a donation to the foundation. Here’s the audio of Steger’s presentation:

One Comment

  1. Kathie Galotti said:

    My kid had a pretty decent AP Environmental Science class 2 years ago….he’s not a great math/science student, but this one got him interested in at least knowing enough science to create good policies. I remember getting annoyed at his unplugging everything in the house every spare minute–but at the same time, he did raise our awareness of our use (and misuse) of electricity and more broadly, how individual actions contribute to global issues…..

    January 31, 2012

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