Boston Globe and Museum of Science present ed panel on climate change
Submitted by Shawn Reeves
Talking to Your Kids About Climate Change was a live panel held online March 30, 2021, a zoom webinar from Museum of Science and Boston Globe.
Among the many difficult subjects that are important to discuss with your children is climate change, a topic that can be emotional and frightening for kids and adults alike. But what is the appropriate way to start the conversation? How can we comfort our kids when the threat is so imminent? How do we offer realistic hope? Kara Baskin, author of The Boston Globe's parenting newsletter, In the Family Way, interviews a panel of experts to offer a guide to navigating this sensitive issue.
Museum of Science
David Sittenfeld, representing MOS.
Moderator Kara Baskin
Lifestyle & Culture Writer; "In The Family Way" Author
THE BOSTON GLOBE
Dr. Jacqueline Ashmore
Executive Director |
Research Associate Professor
BOSTON UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY | BOSTON UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENTS OF EARTH & ENVIRONMENT AND OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Studies how can cities with finite resources respond to climate change.
Co-founder and CEO
CHANGE IS SIMPLE, INC.
Works with elementary schools, a program that gives workshops to students about sustainability and climate change.
Dr. Aaron Bernstein
Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment
HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH (HARVARD CHAN C-CHANGE)
Also a pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital.
Involved in Youth Climate Summit.
Climate Resilience Program Coordinator
CITY OF BOSTON ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT, climate resilience team
Preparing city for extreme heat and coastal resilience.
Senior Fellow with K12 Climate Action | Lecturer
ASPEN INSTITUTE | HARVARD
Moving education sector with leaders towards climate action.
Zoe defined climate change is different from weather—But it's about the atmosphere and oceans, patterns over longer periods of time. The impacts are measurable, from impacts on plants and animals to impacts on the physical environment that we notice, like flooding and temperature extremes.
Dr. Jacquie is interested in urban grey (cement/pavement) areas that are becoming unbearably hot, and related urban heat islands.
Kara—What should families know? Dr. Aaron—Climate affects air quality, access to food, other day-to-day issues seen as health threats. But children are envisioning their future and need to learn about opportunities for good action, mitigation, kindness.
Good ideas for families: Green spaces are good for kids and for the climate. Good food is good for kids and good for the climate.
Kara—What can kids do?
Laura—First, learn. Young kids can learn the blanket model, through analogous observations and analysis. Also first, especially for younger kids, kids can take action at their school.
Kara—How should we deal with denialism?
Laura—Most (78% in one study) adults support teaching climate change in schools. One Oklahoma teacher in "oil country" teaches about climate change and post-fossil-fuel jobs with local benefits.
Patrick—There are no complaints from teachers and parents when the learning is discovery-based.
Kara—What do we tell kids climate change is?
Dr. Jacquie—We tell kids that we are experiencing a trend of rising temperatures, and that we can intentionally change the trend for the better.
Zoe—Climate change solutions don't just rest with people in the STEM fields. Artists, writers can work on the issue. We need the diversity of interests because we need a diversity of solutions and mitigations.
Kara—What can parents do?
Dr. Jacquie—Model consumption choices. "Should we drive five blocks or bike or walk?" "Should we buy this or wait or find a swap?"
Laura—Model resilience thinking. It's similar to the pandemic. Have conversations with listening and methods for coping and improving.
==Actions families can start today==
Active transportation—Walking, biking, and skating.
Recycling can be fun for young ones, like a matching game.
Ask what schools are doing. Get schools to help rise above the activity threshold through collective action.
Fix and reuse things. Buy used.
Study your food.
Planting things in your yard.
Observing and experiencing nature.
Consider voting; definitely write to representatives; even though kids are too young to vote, they can study candidates and incumbents and interact with them in public.
App: I See Change
Learn about the Earth as a whole and its systems and places—Watch Planet Earth and such.
The Climate Optimist from Harvard C-CHANGE. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/c-change/climateoptimist/
==Lesson ideas inspired by this panel==
Are people driving too fast by our school, or in my neighborhood? Or is there a traffic jam there? What are solutions? Students build a radar speed detector for $30 with a kit from EnergyTeachers.org.
Beware the tradition in science education to force theory before experience, e.g. explanations before confirmation labs: Don't prevent students from taking action before the end of learning the background science. Let them work on the energy use of the school without making power and energy and kilowatt hours and gravitational potential energy and Faraday's Law prerequisites to active learning.
==Related resource I found==
NASA's Climate Kids
- The Climate Optimist: It's real, it's now, we have solutions. A newsletter. : https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/c-change/climateoptimist/
- NASA: Climate Kids : https://climatekids.nasa.gov/how-to-help/
- Change is Simple : https://www.changeissimple.org