Lesson Planet: Teaching Sustainability Educator’s Workshop

List of presentations

Powering Sustainability: The Good News on Energy, the Environment and Our Future

Dr. Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences
Dr. Alley is a glaciologist with training in geology and materials science from Ohio State and Wisconsin. He studies the flow and stability of ice sheets, their climate records, and the way they interact with the landscape. Dr. Alley’s discovery that climate change can occur abruptly over decades, rather than over long time scales, and his ability to convey this to the public through his popular writing make him an important figure in climate change. He is the author of more than 250 peer-reviewed scientific papers, several textbooks, and two popular books, The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future (Princeton Press, 2000) and Earth--The Operators’ Manual, (Norton, 2011). He was the host of PBS’s three part series, Earth—The Operators’ Manual.

Presentation description: We are the first generation that knows how to build a sustainable energy system that is economical, environmental, and ethical. Solving this great challenge can increase employment and expand access to energy. Failure to solve this challenge risks damaging climate change as well as long-term energy scarcity. Dr. Alley will provide the key background information, and then lead a discussion and exploration of the major issues.


Resolved: Climate Change is Not a Crisis

Dr. Peter Buckland, Postdoctoral Fellow, Sustainability Institute
Dr. Buckland works on academic programming at Penn State’s Sustainability Institute. He curates The Field Guide to Teaching Sustainability, coordinates special programs and presentations for sustainability and assists with the Sustainability Leadership minor, faculty development and co-teaching Foundations of Sustainability and Leadership. Peter has communicated widely on sustainability, environmental issues, education, and music in popular and peer-reviewed press ranging from Green Jobs for a New Economy, The Yale Cultural Cognition ProjectReviews of the National center for Science Education, International Journal of Illich Studies, and others.  In 2015, Peter received his Ph.D. in Educational Theory and Policy.  His dissertation, The Unsuspected Teachers: Environmental Identity and Sustainability Education in the Anthropocene combined qualitative research on sustainability education policy entrepreneurs’ environmental identities with poetry and memoir. It sought to uncover trajectories to foment deeper sustainability cultures in colleges and universities.

Presentation description: In this presentation, I recount my attempt to get around the thorny “worldview backfire effects” that climate change elicits. I narrate an email exchange I had with a parent who was dismissive of anthropogenic climate change—a geologist nonetheless—and my teaching strategy.  In particular, I crafted an Oxford style debate on the resolution, “Climate change is not a crisis” because of my research and understanding in risk perception in psychology and science communication. The presentation will be of interest to people interested in science education, civic and deliberative education, communication, and the social sciences.

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