Beyond Doom and Gloom: Including Solutions to Climate Change

Introduction

Problem:

Are you or your students worried about the impacts of climate change and not sure what to do to help create significant change? Many faculty and students recognize the importance of climate change yet don’t know how to substantially reduce its damage to people and the environment.

Solution:

Include this short video, powerpoint slides and optional short assignments in your course to help students understand how they can participate in one of the possible urgent solutions - a transition to a clean energy future. By connecting students to the student webpage that describes opportunities to participate in creating solutions, frustration and worry about climate change can be shifted to increased knowledge and productive actions.

Why Civic Engagement?

Information on civic engagement and student learning from Sustainability Improves Student Learning:

  • Students who participate in civic engagement learn more academic content (Gallini and Moely 2003).
  • Civically engaged students learn higher-order skills—including critical thinking, writing, communication, mathematics, and technology—at more advanced levels of aptitude (Cress 2004).
  • Civic engagement increases students' emotional intelligence and motivates them toward conscientious community action (Bernacki and Jaeger 2008).

Video

This short, approximately two minute video, will connect climate change to the need for cleaner energy and connect the viewer to ways to get involved in creating better clean energy policies at the state and federal level: http://tiny.cc/EnergySolutionsVideo

Assignments/Toolkit

Optional - after including the video, use these short but impactful assignments to:

  • Add questions into your exams
  • Insert an exercise about student involvement

Webinar: “Beyond Doom and Gloom: Include Solutions to Climate Change

Are you or your students worried about the impacts of climate change and not sure what to do to help create significant change? Are you connecting your students to ways to be involved in solutions? This webinar focuses on expert curricular materials to engage students in current and future solutions that can be used in any course and in any discipline. Watch this archived webinar to see how you can be part of reducing doom and gloom and share opportunities for progress.
Presenter: Debra Rowe PhD, President of the US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, and co-founder of multiple higher education national association networks for sustainability. (Debra is also the recipient of the Clean Energy and Empowerment Education Award from the U.S. Department of Energy in partnership with the MIT Energy Initiative.)

Key Energy Facts

Urgent Action Requested by Scientists: Thirty-One Top Scientific Societies Speak with One Voice on Global Climate Change Calling for Urgent Action, 28 June 2016

Clean Energy is a Key Solution to Climate Change: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Renewable Electricity Futures Study, 2012
Key Findings:

  • Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country.
  • The abundance and diversity of U.S. renewable energy resources can support multiple combinations of renewable technologies that result in deep reductions in electric sector greenhouse gas emissions and water use
  • Overall, these results suggest that significant expansion of renewable generation beyond the current levels (about 13% of total generation) could be achieved with little or no incremental electricity prices with continued advancements in renewable technologies.

Also see the Call to Energy Literacy and related resources.

Brought to you by DANS (Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability) and HEASC (Higher Education Associations' Sustainability Consortium). This initiative is an outgrowth of a call to energy literacy developed by Debra Rowe, recipient at MIT of the C3E Education Award, and Amanda Graham, HEASC Fellow and originally with MIT Energy Lab.