[asa] The ASA and Climate Literacy

From: Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Aug 25 2009 - 09:50:38 EDT

Randy, as some of my recent interactions here attest to and as we both
have personally experienced in churches the level of literacy
Christian lay people have with respect to the climate is very low. Our
members being professional scientists and technologists having gone
through the peer review process can wade through and often amplify the
arcane language of scientific journals. Our method of solving
controversy and communicating with our colleagues by adding more
"facts" does not work in this politically polarized age. One of the
downsides of the intense political controversy is that not only
climatology but science in general and individual scientists are
maligned. This latter effect is why I have waded into this area to
combat the cynicism driven by the disinformation of parties with an
economic self-interest to promote fear and obfuscation. As you well
know this goes all the way back to the 60s and 70s where these parties
were hired by the tobacco companies to prove in lawsuits there was no
"scientific consensus" about cigarettes causing cancer.

We need to be working with other professional societies such as the
American Association for the Advancement of Science's Project 2061 and
the American Geophysical Union, one of the largest earth science
organizations. Being both a professional society and a Christian one
we are in a unique place to bridge the gap amongst an audience that
desperately needs it. Speaking of the AGU they had some very helpful
seminars on this topic at their meeting in the Fall of 2007.


Improving the climate literary of students, educators and the public -
The Climate Literacy Initiative
AU: * Dupigny-Giroux, L L
EM: ldupigny@uvm.edu
AF: University of Vermont, Department of Geography 200 Old Mill
Building 94 University Place, Burlington, VT 05405-0114, United States
AB: The Climate Literacy Initiative of the Association of American
Geographers (AAG) was largely born out of the growing realization of
the misconceptions held by university students about the atmosphere,
weather, climate and increasingly, climate variability and change. One
way to quantify students' perceptions and scientific understanding
about a topic like global warming, was via the reflection rubric
common to service-learning pedagogy. This revealed the dichotomy that
students, and society in general, face between a research-style
presentation of scientific results versus an opinion article that
might appear in a local news outlet. These reflections also revealed
the underlying gaps in student knowledge about basic atmospheric
dynamics and the complexities of the linkages across the air-land-
ocean interface. In order to address these knowledge gaps, climate
pedagogy and resources are critical. A weather and climate needs
assessment of some Vermont K-8 teachers revealed that their primary
interests revolved around curriculum development and enhancement;
experimental learning for their students; innovative activities using
existing Internet-based resources and; professional development. This
presentation will highlights the activities of the Climate Literacy
Initiative, including its collaboration with the ESPERE group in
Germany and the Climate Change Education Working group, sponsored by
the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.

One of the things we've both noticed, namely, that controversy about  
origins and climate change go hand in glove. This has not gone  
unnoticed by the science education community in this case CIRES which  
is in my back yard.
: Teaching about climate change: lessons from evolution education
AU: * Wise, S B
EM: sarah.wise@colorado.edu
AF: Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences  
(CIRES), Campus Box 449 U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309,
AB: Climate change and evolution share the dubious distinction of  
being widely accepted by scientists, but hotly debated by the public.  
They are also marked by communication pitfalls, belief-based  
misconceptions, the influence of denial machines, and the risk of  
educator embroilment in controversy. Evolution educators have  
developed a number of successful strategies for overcoming these  
challenges, which may prove useful for climate change educators. The  
session will conclude with a discussion of teacher professional  
development opportunities which address the challenges presented by  
publically controversial science topics.
UR: http://cires.colorado.edu/education/k12/
CIRES is a treasure trove of materials both for the science educator  
and for those of us with outreach to churches. For example: http://cires.colorado.edu/education/k12/ClimateLiteracyP2P.pdf 
   Sarah Wise is doing research on what works when teaching about  
controversial issues in science. Any science educators out there could  
help her out by taking her survey here: http://cires.colorado.edu/education/k12/people/wise/
Finally there are a number of outreach activities done by NOAA and  
other federal agencies.
  How do we create a climate literate society? A review of Climate  
Literacy essential principles and fundamental concepts that ensure  
climate literate citizens and students
AU: * Niepold, F
EM: frank.niepold@noaa.gov
AF: NOAA Climate Program Office National Oceanic and Atmospheric  
Administration, 1315 East West Highway, SSMC III, Rm. 12727, Silver  
Spring, MD 20910, United States
AB: Through a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric  
Administration (NOAA) and AAAS Project 2061 we have collaborated to  
define climate literacy and develop weather and climate benchmarks for  
science literacy. The newly developed and revised national weather and  
climate science education standards were published in March of 2007 in  
the AAAS Project 2061 Atlas for Science Literacy volume II. This  
session will present the results of these projects as well as the  
publication of "An Abbreviated Guide for Teaching Climate Change." The  
Climate Literacy effort is working in parallel with the Ocean Literacy  
effort and has developed a Framework for Climate Literacy using the  
AAAS Project 2061 Atlas of Science. On April 10 - 12, 2007, AAAS and  
NOAA brought together 25 individuals for a workshop. They represented  
federal science agencies, formal and informal educators, non- 
governmental organizations, and other institutions involved with  
climate research, education, and outreach to build on the science  
education benchmarks. This effort resulted in a draft framework that  
will be used to engage the broad community to develop a robust  
conceptual framework that addresses the essential principles and  
fundamental concepts that climate literate citizens and students  
should know. That document has been reviewed and commented on during  
several rounds and will be available during the conference.
UR: http://www.climate.noaa.gov/education/
Also check out www.globalchange.gov. There you can find the recent  
report on what global warming is doing in various regions of the U.S.: http://downloads.globalchange.gov/usimpacts/pdfs/climate-impacts-report.pdf 
  and their Climate Literacy brochure: http://downloads.climatescience.gov/Literacy/Climate%20Literacy%20Booklet%20Hi-Res.pdf
Here's a sample:
The Peer Review Process
Science is an on-going process of making observations and using  
evidence to test hypotheses. As new ideas are developed and new data  
are obtained, oftentimes enabled by new technologies, our  
understanding evolves. The scientific community uses a highly  
formalized version of peer review to validate research results and our  
understanding of their significance. Researchers describe their  
experiments, results, and interpretations in scientific manuscripts  
and submit them to a scientific journal that specializes in their  
field of science. Scientists who are experts in that field serve as  
“referees” for the journal: they read the manuscript carefully to  
judge the reliability of the research design and check that the  
interpretations are supported by the data. Based on the reviews,  
journal editors may accept or reject manuscripts or ask the authors to  
make revisions if the study has insufficient data or unsound  
interpretations. Through this process, only those concepts that have  
been described through well-documented research and subjected to the  
scrutiny of other experts in the field become published papers in  
science journals and accepted as current science knowledge. Although  
peer review does not guarantee that any particular published result is  
valid, it does provide a high assurance that the work has been  
carefully vetted for accuracy by informed experts  prior to  
publication. The overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed papers about  
global climate change acknowledge that human acontributing factors.
I believe the ASA is well placed to be a helpful agent to work with  
Christians to promote climate literacy and science literacy in general  
as the AAAS Project 2061 said:
“Science, mathematics, and technology have a profound impact on our  
individual lives and our culture. They play a role in almost all human  
endeavors, and they affect how we relate to one another and the world  
around us. . . . Science Literacy enables us to make sense of real- 
world phenomena, informs our personal and social decisions, and serves  
as a foundation for a lifetime of learning.”
Rich Blinne
Member ASA
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Received on Tue Aug 25 09:51:20 2009

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