Bob Hock, Steve Schneider, Ohio discussed on Climate One

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Students are going to be monitoring air quality and that's going to put their parents out of a job At the coal mine because they're going to be doing this carbon accounting and all this stuff My project gained a lot of negative press locally But once I was asked to go and present to the coal mines what my students were doing they realized that what we were doing was building good scientists And everyone benefits a coal mine and the community benefits when you have good scientists when you have kids who know how to ask questions and collect data and that really changed the tone of this very inquiry based project around local air quality but I use that anecdote to say that industry does have a big effect because the industry the local industry if it is extractive is where most of the community derives not only its income but also its sense of self This is something that I've been really challenged with as I've been teaching and resource extraction communities my entire teaching career is that when that resource extraction ends there is a void And that's challenging And parents feel that maybe they might they might portray it in a different way Maybe it's distrust of the science maybe it's challenging the teacher for teaching something that's not researched enough But at the core it's people mourning the loss of an industry and the loss of livelihoods And so trying to flip that picture that we're teaching climate change because we want to help our students develop new industries And that's why I focus so much on renewable energy in my classroom was because hey we are continually increasing in our demands for energy in our planet and we just can't possibly do that on the backs of carbon And you actually teach students how to install solar panels at the school is that right Yeah exactly So I helped work on some curriculum with a partner group called solar energy international that does training for mostly electrical contractors and big utility companies and we said hey how do we create a class a high school level class where kids can learn the basics of electricity which is cross curricular I mean it's physics It's chemistry It's engineering And how do we emphasize these important skills that students are learning in their science classes but also give them something hands on something meaningful and a job certification So students earned an entry level certificate as a solar electrical installer And we install the few arrays at our local high schools We had a total of about 50 kW that we installed and students from across the political and economic spectrum took this course and gain valuable skills and also felt like they were doing something about climate Have you encountered industry either opposition or resistance or misinformation there in the schools in the heart of coal country in Ohio Not directly I can't say that I've really felt that presence Primarily I've only taught in the inner city primarily with what's in the bipod community So my biggest challenge is really making sure that that community in particular sees themselves even within this discussion at all They're so often disconnected with from nature Don't have access to parks And even just being disconnected from nature there's always this sense of they're very keenly aware and the communities that I teach in their keenly aware of social justice they just don't see the climate emergency as a social justice issue with a lot of time So they don't see themselves squarely within it And so we bring up things like Flint Or until we bring up things like air quality and a lineup to the instances of asthma or you know until we until we bring up green jobs and why this community is not being trained for them in particular So until we really outline these factors for them so that they can see themselves as a part of this discussion especially as bob hock youth that is really a major concern that I deal with is just really inserting them into the conversation As we close can each of you state what worries and what gives you hope about climate science education and schools in the U.S. Personally again just seeing how diverse the conversation is becoming big on social media and the right spaces That conversation is increasingly more and more diverse I'm really encouraged to see that because you see so much opportunity in it I think we work with some of the brightest I was just not this bright when I was I am lord all the time I have amazingly bright these students are so really giving them more agency to control the conversation because they're controlling this conversation and a lot of spaces And the way that they control it resonates especially as we're looking at the landscape on how to bring in the voters and what the landscape is going to look like in the future I'm very much encouraged that the youth is a lot more aware than what we as their parents were That's for sure Ben When I first started my teaching career about ten years ago I felt like we were done arguing about evolution I was teaching in a rural school district in the middle of communities that do in their family lives have a pretty huge issue with evolution But we were done debating it We were done presenting it as a debate in class It was the law of biology the first law of biology I guess what gives me hope is that climate change I had a professor once Steve Schneider at Stanford And he would always say you students you active activists climate activists You guys are just so impatient This stuff takes two generations And yes it's bad Yes you should be riled up But you need to have patience because it takes two generations and we've seen this with plate tectonics We've seen this with evolution We've now seen this with climate change that it takes two generations and it feels in my perspective that we're past the arguing about the science phase And I know Ann is more in the trenches in terms of state legislatures and things like that Maybe they're not passive but it seems like kids are past it Climate change is happening and it's affecting them and we need to make concrete changes in order to address the climate emergency And that is not something we're debating So that gives me hope I guess what doesn't give me hope and what I'm scared of is that it feels like there's always going to be some battle that science teachers are going to be on the front line of And I'm hopeful that maybe for the climate emergency we've gotten past that I'm scared that this next battle may have some other unintended consequences And what worries and gives you hope what gives me hope is science teachers and administrators like Leah who back them up They are really an amazing and committed group And they are willing to put themselves on the front line and teach these topics even in places where they are reasonably expectant that there's going to be pushback on it They need our support many of them need education themselves and climate change They didn't learn enough about it in college to feel confident teaching it but we can do that And we are doing that And the public opinion has swung a long way towards the vast majority of people accepting that climate change is an important problem to deal with And for all the really difficult aspects of the last administration nobody is unaware of climate denial right now And even in very conservative communities there are voices that want their students to learn about it and to be prepared And so in spite of all the difficulties with dealing with this fragmented underfunded overworked school system I see a lot of hope for this changing in the right direction and the next ten years And read Leah dots and Ben grey's thanks for coming on climate one to talk about climate education and miseducation.

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