Posted by DrJeff
Copyright 2009 | About this blog
A COMMITMENT TO ACTION AT BotU
My motivation for starting Blog on the Universe (BotU) was to show that science education can and should be about “conceptual understanding at an emotional level.” I use content in the earth and space sciences as the interdisciplinary vehicles because that’s my area of expertise, and given the universe contains everything, I’ve got a pretty large playground. I wanted to help teachers and parents inspire our children so they could be part of the great human adventure of learning and exploration.
I also had in mind another more pragmatic goal—to address America’s need in science and technology education. I firmly believe that if we don’t inspire out next generation of scientists and engineers, then we are headed to third world status in the coming decades. We’ve got to compete in the 21st century marketplace.
But this year I have become deeply deeply concerned with the future of our world. I have a beautiful boy and girl ages 7 and 4, and I am driven to do something so they don’t grow up in the nightmarish world that might be—if the human race doesn’t make informed decisions now about global warming and climate change. It is a topic that is in desperate need of conceptual understanding at an emotional level.
In my mind there is also a dramatic confluence of issues. Addressing global warming is the greatest technological challenge of our time. Inspiring America’s next generation of scientists and engineers to meet this challenge is a natural way for America to compete and lead in the 21st century marketplace. And this is happening at a time when America needs to retrench its workforce in the wake of the financial crisis and globalization. Am I the only one that thinks this is an alignment of cosmic proportions (pun intended)?
So I decided to dedicate a significant effort at Blog on the Universe to climate change education. Recently I poured everything I could into the post called A Day in the Life of the Earth: Understanding Why Climate-Change is Human-Induced. I tried to come up with a basic and clear definition of the problem, and an explanation of why the finger of blame points squarely at the human race. The conclusion is not rocket science. The conclusion is obvious.
I sent a draft for review to Jim Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Dr. Hansen is one of the world’s leading authorities on global warming. He loved the post, so I asked if he could write a foreword. He did—
Public understanding of climate change depends on an understanding of time scales. Goldstein [Dr. Jeff] does a brilliant job of making clear the rapidity of the human-made intervention in the climate system, and the correlation of global warming with the appearance of technology powered by fossil fuels.
Please take a look at this post, see if it’s meaningful to your education efforts, and pass it forward via email and your social networks. It is vital we educate the public. With links to the real data, and a commitment to conceptual understanding, I think this post does a pretty good job. Also of possible interest, it was published at Huffington Post.
I now have 5 BotU posts designed as powerful lessons on global warming and climate change, covering topics such as: the fragility of the atmosphere; human population and the impact of technology; and the implications of continued and dramatic population growth.
Each of these posts is summarized in the Teachers Lesson Planner, which provides: the essential questions, concepts addressed, objectives, math skills, and any relevant special features (e.g. interdisciplinary connections, hands-on activities, web links, etc.)
Please help me spread word of these posts / lessons to teachers, parents, and environmentalists, and their organizations, world-wide. If you need me to help you with dissemination, or to add a voice to your cause, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Center Director, NCESSE
September 16, 2009
2 Responses to “Global Warming & Climate Change”
October 2nd, 2009 at 4:29 am
The effect of Global Warming these days is even worse. I think every government should pass stricter laws on Carbon Emissions. we should also concentrate more on renewable energy sources and avoid fossil fuels.
October 7th, 2009 at 4:30 pm
My class was wondering … approximately how long will it take to orbit around Mercury?
While orbiting in space, can the astronauts determine at this point what percentage of damage global warming has occured in our Earth’s atmosphere?