North Pole Expedition Team on Climate Change Impacts in the Arctic Watch the video!
It was an honor to host the 25th Anniversary of the Steger International Expedition to the North Pole with the Minnesota Historical Society and the Consulate General of Canada in May.
Will and I were in Washington DC to promote our education and policy efforts earlier this week.
On Monday March 28th, the National Education Association and National Council for Science and the Environment hosted a lunch with non-profits and federal agencies working on climate education with the Will Steger Foundation. Will Steger shared his background as an educator, tales from his arctic travels and his passion and commitment to advancing science education, with a focus on climate literacy. Groups shared their efforts to provide climate education to educators and the general public through professional development, museums, citizen science programs and online learning environments. The discussion focused on the challenges with providing climate education such as recruiting teachers and addressing the attack on science and misconceptions about climate change. There was resounding agreement about the need to focus on the local impacts of climate change and local and regional climate education programs.Some of the incredible groups and resources that were featured in our discussion can be found here:
- PBS and NASA online professional development in climate change education
- American Association of Geographers Teaching About Climate Change
- Earth Day Network
- National Environmental Education Foundation
- EE Week
- Earth Gauge
- National Education Association Green Across America
- National Science Foundation (check out funding and Einstein fellowships for math and science educators)
- National Geographic Society Education Program
National Council on Science and the Environment Resources:
We also met with our partners at National Geographic Society to discuss future collaboration around Will's Eyewitness story, archives, and our climate education program.
On Tuesday we connected with our friends at the Norwegian Embassy for an event at The American University School for International Service around a Norway-American essay contest sponsored by the Embassy. The Embassy asked students to write an essay or political memo that addressed a question related to climate justice and migration. Two winners were announced at the event who will receive travel support to Norway for three days this summer. Will Steger shared his Eyewitness to Global Warming presentation as part of the program. While there, we were able to connect with the Norwegian Ambassador, Wegger Strommen and discuss future collaboration for a forthcoming Steger expedition in 2013-2014.
We quickly headed back to the Capitol for a meeting with Senator Klobuchar's staff regarding the pending amendments this week to delay the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. We urged her staff to recognize the important work we have done on climate change policy and the support we have across the country for protecting our public health and environment. We will stay tuned to see what happens this week in the Senate.
While in DC, we continued to run into people from our various walks of life, a testament to how connected we all are. From Will meeting a former North Face employee he worked with on the 1986 North Pole Expedition and 1989-1990 Trans-Antarctica Expedition, to me running into my Dad who was attending an Environment and Public Health meeting, we left DC feeling we had a very productive trip.
We spent our final day on our Alaska tour in Fairbanks exploring solutions to climate change. We toured the Permafrost Tunnel, originally built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to store vehicles outside of the extreme cold temperatures that define the interior of Alaska. Now, the tunnel is used primarily by engineers and arctic scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to study permafrost. The tunnel temperature is consistently held at about zero and has a putrid smell from thousands of years of earth decomposing. Together with a group of about 16, including faith and environmental non-profit leaders from the Fairbanks community, we toured the tunnel and learned about the various layers of permafrost.
Last night after Will gave a presentation at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) someone asked a very rare, but important question: What role can the social sciences play in response to climate change? This is a very important question. Of course, earth, atmospheric, and climate science are all important to our understanding of global climate change, but the social sciences can play an incredibly important role in helping us understand how human attitudes are shaped and the role of behavior change when it comes to environmental stewardship and reducing our carbon footprint.
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