Climate Change Overview
Climate change is a result of pollution of massive amounts of heat trapping particles called greenhouse gases over the last 200 years of industrial activity. Humans have been responsible for the influx of GHGs by burning fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas to produce energy. While humans have benefited significantly by the energy produced by burning fossil fuels, the increase of CO2 and energy in the natural systems has a wide variety of impacts on the environment. Climate change affects biodiversity and hence ecosystem vitality, people’s health, economics, livelihoods, and agriculture.
Climate change is especially important for children to understand because youth will experience the impacts of climate change in their lifetime. Despite this, many teachers and parents are unsure how to teach climate change to their students or children. In Next Generation Science Standards that California schools must soon adopt, climate change is to be taught in 6th grade science. When teaching about climate change, it’s helpful to focus on regional impacts, and to focus on solutions to leave children hopeful and action oriented. Similarly, place-based education is shown to produce more engaged and volunteer minded citizens.