Polar Center offers climate change guidance to middle, high school teachers

Russell Graham, director of Penn State's Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum, talked about how climate change can affect the habits and habitats of mammals at a workshop for middle and high school teachers hosted by the Polar Center at Penn State. Credit: Michelle Bixby / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Polar Center at Penn State hosted middle and high school teachers from across the state for a workshop to discuss ways of addressing climate change in the classroom.

"It's not all bad news," said Richard Alley of Penn State's Department of Geosciences after clicking through a number of harrowing line graphs illustrating 10,000 years worth of climate change. He continued to say that, "If we don't invent something new, we're cooked ... we're the first generation that doesn't have to use fossil fuels faster than nature can make it for us ... the world really does need the bright students that you teach."

The workshop included a panel of Penn State professors, eager to spread the word. Although the subject of climate change is often laced with pessimism, the overarching message that emerged is one of promise. According to Alley, the ability to affordably and sustainably power the planet exists, and we need our next generation to help move it forward. He displayed a map and highlighted an area roughly the size of Texas that, with current solar technology, would be enough to provide the world's energy.

Jacqui Wagner, a biology teacher at Penns Valley Area School District, said that "It's nice to be able to bring it around and show the students that there's hope and empowerment. They're the ones who are going to need to make the changes."

Participating teachers will be returning with their students for an interactive learning experience March 27 during The Polar Center's Polar Day 2015.

Last Updated August 10, 2015