My daughter enjoys her primary school. Tragically by the time she completes primary school there may be no ice in the Arctic in September.
This is something that should be discussed at every school.
I’ve listed below some suggested questions for the classroom this September. I’d be grateful to any teacher who wants to submit lesson plans which we will make freely available on the SETS entry page (www.schoolenergysavings.com.au).
Daily update of Arctic Sea Ice extent
Arctic Tipping Point: A North Pole without Ice
Big call: Cambridge prof. predicts Arctic summer sea ice “all gone by 2015”
Questions – Primary School Level
- Where is the Arctic?
- Why is the ice disappearing?
- When did the ice last disappear?
- How old do you think you will be when there is no ice in the Arctic?
- Other than the ice disappearing, how else is our climate changing?
- What might happen because the climate is changing? Sea level rise, etc?
- What is CO2?
- What does CO2 come from?
- Why are CO2 levels growing so quickly?
- Is there a relationship between CO2 levels and the Arctic ice melt? How has this been determined?
- Why should we be trying to get CO2 levels back to 350 parts per million?
- Why are we humans not slowing the rate at which we produce CO2?
- Why isn’t this being discussed on television or on the radio?
- Who should be trying to stop the rate of growth of CO2?
- Its too late to save the Arctic. But what can we save?
Questions – High school level
“The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.” Winston Churchill
- What will happen when there is no ice in the Arctic?
- When did this last happen? What is the historical precedent?
- For a high school maths or science student the statistical figures in the article predicting no summer ice by 2015 can be discussed. What is a standard deviation? Why is the scientific method and the use of mathematical techniques important in climate change science?
- Why is it important to back up opinions with evidence to support that opinion? How is the strength of the evidence established. When an article is published in a scientific journal what does the term “peer reviewed” mean? The second link above refers to an article that has been published in a scientific journal. How credible is this compared with the opinion of a journalist?
- Why do the opinions of journalists about scientific matters often have more influence than published peer reviewed science?
- For any student Winston Churchill’s quote can be pondered in light of the loss of Arctic Ice. “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”
- What is the context of this quote?
- Are there any similarities today?
- What are the consequences?
- Is reducing Australia’s carbon emissions by 5% by 2020, based on 2000 emissions levels, going to have a significant impact on reducing global climate change? If not, what would?
- What would be more than a half measure?
- What is your family’s carbon footprint? Use the Australian Greenhouse Gas Calculator to estimate it. http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/AGC/home.html
- What contribution are you making to climate change? What can you do about it?
- OK, lets say you have reduced your family’s carbon footprint to zero. Will that stop climate change? What else needs to be done?
- Why is it that whilst information about the science of climate change is readily available, there is so little action?
- What could you do to encourage wider action?
- The loss of the Arctic sea ice is inevitable. Yet humanity has known about global warming and climate change for quite a while. Imagine you were conducting a trial as to why something that could possibly have been avoided hasn’t been avoided. Decide who you would bring to the dock, what they would be charged with, and what lesson should be learnt. Act it out as a role play.
- Do low lying island like Tuvalu have a right to sue wealthier nations for sea level rise?
- Discuss the correlation between big tobacco, big oil, big coal, human health and packaging laws.