How to teach kids about climate change and save lives
Posted On July 11, 2021
Mayport, N.J. (AP) As the world’s children and teens watch the coronavirus unfold, it’s clear that climate change is one of the world inescapable topics for many.
The virus kills more than 20 million people annually, causing an estimated $20 billion in economic losses worldwide, according to the World Bank.
Yet as a result of climate change, we’ve seen the rise of extreme weather events, drought and more, according the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
And the science behind these risks is becoming more and more clear.
That’s because, as scientists have pointed out, we don’t yet know the full extent of the impacts climate change will have on our planet, the planet’s natural systems and our people.
As a result, educators around the world have begun working with their students to explore the climate-related risks of the future.
Mayport’s teachers’ program, Mayport Coastal Science PTA, aims to help the school’s students understand how climate change can change our planet.
But this is not just a PTA.
The school is actively working to make its students aware of the climate impacts on Mayport and other coastal communities.
“It’s not just about making sure our kids understand what is happening on the island, but we have to make sure our students understand what the impacts are on the planet,” said school superintendent Paul Auerbach.
The teachers have developed an interactive tool called “The Planet,” which teaches students about climate impacts, like sea level rise, sea level loss and more.
They also use this tool to help Mayport students prepare for the 2018-19 school year, which starts June 1.
The Mayport teachers are doing their part by creating a “Climate in Your Life” video series that includes a teacher’s guide, a video about sea level change, and a science lesson.
“We’re really concerned about how this climate change impacts Mayport,” said Auerbts.
The PTA and school staff are also planning to make the interactive video available online for Mayport parents and students.
MayPort students are taking their time learning about the risks climate change poses to the island.
As part of their curriculum, the Mayport teacher’s guides focus on the impacts of climate on the ocean.
The guides include a map of the ocean, a diagram of sea level changes and a list of ways to help protect the island’s residents from rising seas.
The guide also includes a list with tips on how to reduce the impacts from climate change on the environment and help our communities adapt.
Auerbaits said that by providing a resource for Mayports children that will help them understand the science of climate and its impact on our island, the teachers are helping their students “become more cognizant of the challenges we have as a country.”
In addition to the science lesson, the educators also are working on a video for MayPort parents about climate and coastal communities and how they can help their children prepare for this future.
“Our kids are the ones who are going to have to be the leaders of the school, because they are the one who are in charge of the next generation,” Auerbeck said.
The lesson plan is now available on MayPort.org.
And in an effort to educate the Mayors and school board members on climate and sea level impacts, the school board is also creating an interactive webinar series that will include an educator’s guide and a video explaining sea level risk.
The interactive video is being taught at a number of schools around the country.
“I think it’s really important for us to be educating the whole country and not just the students at this time, but the community at large,” Auberbach said.
“They have a stake in it and they have a right to know how they are going, and how the government is going to protect them.”
Mayport is also partnering with the MayPort Climate Solutions program to provide lessons and a support resource for the school.
The curriculum includes a video with a guide on sea level levels and a discussion of how to prepare for sea level rises and how to increase the resilience of the community.
The videos are available on the MayPulse website.