School News

Climate Change Speaker

Sixth graders, mid-way through the new climate change curriculum, visited with UC Berkeley PhD student, Laney Siegner, this week. Laney shared actions people are taking around the world to address climate change.

The 6th grade climate change curriculum engages students in investigating the complex social effects of climate. Laney challenged 6th graders to explore multiple ways that individuals, businesses, cities, and nations can interrupt the impact of a rapidly changing environment.

Immediately, 6th graders began sharing their knowledge and cited how politicizing the issue has led to an impasse between the science community and climate change deniers. Students also recognized the difficulty in finding a solution that works for all people. Leaders, they said, have a responsibility to those who want to protect the planet and to those whose jobs and lives are dependent on the fossil fuel industry.

Capturing the 6th graders’ enthusiasm, Laney outlined several current movements that focus on addressing climate change issues. Individuals are choosing to live off the grid in tiny houses and committing to produce zero waste. Newly elected members of Congress are proposing the Green New Deal (part of the Sunrise Movement) aimed at initiating a large-scale transformation of the economy and society to stop climate change. And her list went on: Schools for Climate Action, pollinator-friendly solar farms, and COP24. At the end of Laney’s talk, students were inspired to share more ideas on how to combat climate change, including raising taxes on fossil fuels, making solar panels less expensive, and having leaders listen to all ideas and ask for help.

As 6th graders dive deeper into their climate change studies, they are gaining the ability to consider this 21st-century challenge through multiple lenses—geography, economics, civics, history, science, and literature. Thanks to visits from experts like Laney, they are also learning how problem-solvers around the world are tackling the problems right now and working toward a greener future for all.