Last night I took a break from reading and listened to a Diane Rehm Show episode on climate change before I went to sleep. Big mistake! I kept turning the light back on to write down my thoughts from the show. These are my late night notes.
Listening to the news, it seems that people do not care too much about climate change because the environment is not as important as the economy. But as the probabilities of extreme weather events goes up so does the economic costs of dealing with these extreme events. (Think increasing gas prices because of Hurricane Isaac; increasing food prices because of the Midwest drought.) The problem we have in this country is that we do not understand our interconnectedness; people in New Hampshire do not think what happens in Colorado affects them and vise-versa, but it does. We are all interconnected, and not just to other Americans, but globally and with nature and economics too. If we are able to convey this interconnectedness to the common man, the “Joes and Janes,” people will realize that climate change is the top priority.
Last fall I was planning a lesson for ninth graders on food webs and I asked one of my mentors, an environmental educator, for advice on how to make the lesson different from middle school. She told me to focus on the interconnectedness of species, that interconnectedness is the hardest concept for students to grasp. After the role playing activity, in which most of the “students” died from the Texas drought, I had students write an ORQ on their place within the food web. One student’s response went something like this; “Well, if disaster struck and I couldn’t hunt for my food, I could just go to McDonald’s to eat.” I agree with my mentor, global interconnectedness is a hard concept for us to get. I believe that this is the most important concept that we need to demonstrate to our children; we will learn by being involved, by being connected.