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Interagency Climate Education Frank Niepold NOAA Climate Program Office (UCAR) Jill Karsten NSF Directorate for Geosciences.

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Presentation on theme: "Interagency Climate Education Frank Niepold NOAA Climate Program Office (UCAR) Jill Karsten NSF Directorate for Geosciences."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interagency Climate Education Frank Niepold NOAA Climate Program Office (UCAR) Jill Karsten NSF Directorate for Geosciences Ming-Ying Wei NASA Earth Science Education Science Mission Directorate

2 Climate Science Literacy is… …an understanding of your influence on climate and climate’s influence on you and society. A climate literate person: understands the essential principles of Earth’s climate system, knows how to assess scientifically credible information about climate, communicates about climate and climate change in a meaningful way, and is able to make informed and responsible decisions with regard to actions that may affect climate.

3 Obstacles to Achieving Climate Literacy Climate science is complex and multi-disciplinary – needs to be taught across the curriculum and through learning progressions Most naturally taught via Earth system science (ESS) class, but... Inconsistent location of ESS in K-12 curriculum; usually middle school <30% of H.S. students take an ESS class, often as a remedial science No AP program other than 1-semester AP Environmental Science Often not accepted as a laboratory science during college entrance Most ESS teachers have limited STEM and geoscience content knowledge <10 HBCU’s and only 14% of community colleges offer ESS-like degrees 83% of undergrad programs threatened by budget cuts/consolidations Need standards and assessment strategies regarding climate Literacy implies action: need to connect content to factors that motivate individual behavior, without advocating specific actions Informal education venues are extremely important, but not well aligned

4 Climate Workforce Issues Scientists & Technicians Geosciences community is small (~800 PhDs/year) and lacks diversity The climate research agenda is becoming increasingly inter-disciplinary, as priorities move to adaptation and mitigation The small footprint of ESS in community colleges hampers recruitment and training of a technical workforce Educators Catch-22 situation due to the status of ESS in K-12; need fundamental reforms to increase the demand-side and improve training Anticipate increased demand for informal educators with climate expertise; how do we control quality? Policymakers Unclear whether we have evidence-based effective strategies for providing professional development to this community

5 Advancing climate literacy – Interagency efforts Use the “Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science” (Version 2, March 2009) framework to organize resource development. (NOAA, NSF, NASA grant coordination) Establish a voluntary national climate education curriculum for K-16. (NOAA and NSF grants) Continue investments in climate education research that lead to more effective strategies. (2010 NSF grant) Provide a focus within federal agency programs on professional development for formal educators. (NOAA, NSF, NASA grant coordination via USGCRP EdIWG) Support creation of interpretive and educational programs and products that leverage existing outreach and extension networks and informal science education venues. Develop new resources and tools that utilize “new media” and emerging outlets for widespread dissemination and public engagement in climate. (USGCRP EdIWG) Foster development of an agency-wide protocol for designating and labeling educational programs of merit (Climate education collections) (USGCRP EdIWG and NSF funded grants) Establish mechanisms for monitoring public understanding of climate literacy, and related actions. (NOAA and NSF grants) 5 Coordinating Federal Investments in Climate and Earth System Science Education -- Developed from ongoing discussions within the USGCRP Education Interagency Working Group

6 Frank Niepold US GCRP Education Interagency Working Group (co-chair) NOAA Climate Program Office (UCAR) Jill Karsten US GCRP Education Interagency Working Group (co-chair) NSF Directorate for Geosciences Ming-Ying Wei US GCRP Education Interagency Working Group (co-chair) NASA SMD/Earth Science Education

7 Guiding Principle. Humans can take actions to reduce climate change and its impacts 1. The Sun is the primary source of energy for Earth’s climate system 2. Climate is regulated by complex interactions among components of the Earth system. 3. Life on Earth depends on, is shaped by, and affects climate 4. Climate varies over space and time through both natural and man-made processes 5. Our understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies, and modeling 6. Human activities are impacting the climate system 7. Climate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives


9 …a continuum of competency and is an ongoing process. Literacy Progression Target Audiences Uninterested and/or unaware Climate science interested Climate science attentive Climate science engaged CLIMATE LITERACY INFORMED DECISION MAKING KNOWLEDGE AWARENESS Climate Literacy is…

10 How well do US college graduates understand important science ideas? 1. A seed grows into a large tree. Where did the mass of the tree come from? 1. What if I told you that the mass comes mainly from the carbon dioxide in the air?

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