All posts by Karl Donert

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IPCC Climate report focuses on science for citizens

The latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report from the climate scientists has given a ‘final warning’ to policy makers on the crucial need for action on climate change. It clearly says we must fast-track climate efforts across every country.UN image

The report states that “attention to equity and broad and meaningful participation” can build “social trust” and so “deepen and widen support for transformative changes.”. The  radical social changes encouraged by this report won’t happen without the consent and participation of citizens around the world.

For many years, this critical part of the climate change response has been ignored. Socially marginalised and economically vulnerable citizens, and those who are more impacted by changing temperatures, remain excluded from the conversation.

According to Climate Home News, Governments have a duty – embedded in article 6 of the Paris Agreementto educate their citizens on climate change, involve them in policymaking and ensure they have all the necessary information.

The UNFCCC’s Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) is made up of six elements: education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information and international cooperation. ACE image

These six principles are all core to public engagement, and most importantly to holding governments accountable.

Scientists providing even more frightening information about future impacts of climate change can be overwhelming and not helpful.

Positive campaigns are needed, involving education, that give people the feeling that it is possible to do something about climate change, they can be involved and that that something has the potential to make a difference.

The IPCC report highlights bringing people together to take action on climate change requires a bottom up,  participatory approach engaging and involving people. Climate education is one clear step we can and should take to inform and advise Governments and citizens to do more.

Find out more about Action for Climate Empowerment

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Where do teachers find the resources for teaching Climate change?

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and teachers play a crucial role in educating the next generation about it. However, with the vast amount of information available online, it can be challenging for teachers to find reliable and accurate sources of information on climate change.

misinformation imageResearch undertaken in preparation for the Teaching the Future project showed that most teachers rely on television reports and social media to get information on climate change, however unbiased reporting is not very common on many new channels and there have been many disinformation and misinformation campaigns spread on social media. FInd out more about these issues.

To address this issue, many teachers turn to trusted sources such as government agencies, scientific organisations, and educational institutions. For example, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a website called Climate.gov that provides a wealth of information on climate science, including articles, data, and multimedia resources. Teachers can use this website to access reliable and up-to-date information on climate change to incorporate into their lessons. The European Commission has an EU Science Hub on climate change.

march pictureThe Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition aiming to fight dangerous climate change. It has more than 170 member organisations active in 38 European countries, representing in excess of 1.500 NGOs and more than 47million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.

The European Climate Foundation (ECF) is a major philanthropic initiative working to help tackle the climate crisis by fostering the development of a net-zero emission society at the national, European, and global level. The ECF supports over 700 partner organisations to carry out activities that drive urgent and ambitious policy in support of the objectives of the Paris Agreement, contribute to the public debate on climate action, and help deliver a socially responsible transition to a net-zero economy and sustainable society in Europe and around the world.

IPCC logoAnother source of information is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is an organisation that brings together scientists and policymakers from around the world to assess the state of knowledge on climate change. The IPCC produces reports that summarise the latest research on climate change and its impacts, which teachers can use to stay informed and incorporate into their curriculum.

clinate reality project imageEducational institutions such as universities and research centres are also valuable sources of information for teachers. They often have specialised departments or programs dedicated to climate science that provide access to cutting-edge research and resources for teachers to use in their classrooms.

In addition to these sources, there are also numerous non-profit organisations that focus on climate education, such as the Climate Reality Project and Action for Climate Emergency. These organisations offer a range of resources, including lesson plans, webinars, and professional development opportunities, to help teachers incorporate climate education into their curriculum.

By staying informed and up-to-date on the latest research and information, teachers can help their students understand the science behind climate change and the importance of taking action to address it.

Find out more about education and climate change from the Teaching the Future Report

 

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Celebrating World Open Data Day

Open Data Day (ODD) was celebrated by the Open Data Charter this year on March 23rdODD logo 2023 . Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data all over the world, where groups and communities gather to reach out to new people and build new solutions using open data.

Creating awareness around open data and its benefits aims to encourage governments, businesses, and civil society initiatives worldwide to adopt open data policies and inspire others to do the same.

Since 2015, the Open Knowledge Foundation – in cooperation with other NGOs from the open data world – has offered mini-grants to support the facilitation of events around the globe. This year’s Open Data Day gave out mini-grants for communities that work on: environmental data, tracking public money flows, open mapping, data for equal development, and ocean data for a thriving planet.

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ODD is a chance for people around the world to support and encourage the adoption of open data policies by local, regional and central governments.

The Open Data Charter is a collaboration between over 170 governments and other organisations working to open up data based on a shared set of principles. EUROGEO has been a signatory of the Charter since 2019. It promotes policies and practices that enable governments and CSOs to collect, share, and use well-governed data, to respond effectively and accountably to the following focus areas: anti-corruption, climate action and pay equity.

The Teaching the Future project was presented by the project coordinator Karl Donert at the Open Data Charter series of events. EUROGEO has been involved in promoting access to open data through its projects and publications. The Teaching the Future data dashboard takes open climate data and makes it accessible to teachers and learners. Try out our open data climate dashboard.

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Testing the TTF Climate Data Dashboard

data dashboard imageTeaching the Future is an initiative to address the need for reliable authoritative climate-related data for students and teachers.

The Teaching the Future project has reviewed teacher needs, discussed the data issues with climate experts, teacher educators and climate scientists and invited responses from the wider educational community through involvement in the European Commission Education for Climate  initiative.

Data dashboards manage information to visually track, assess and displays a range of indicators, metrics and key data points to monitor the situation of a specific process.

Pilot testing of v1 of the Teaching the Future climate data dashboard is under way

dashboard imageA number of errors have been identified and bug fixes have been applied.

We have launched a second version of the data dashboard which is ready for testing – now there are 2 separate data dashboards
D1 – historical climate change data
D2 – predictions of future climate

Please support the project by helping us test the dashboard

You can access the latest version (v2) of the dashboard from
https://teachingthefuture.eu/climate-dashboards/

Download the guide/manual for data and dashboard functions

dashboard image -future climateOnce you have explored the data, we kindly ask you (including teachers and their students) to complete the short usability survey to help the dashboard development.

Did you find it easy to access?
Was the data easy to navigate? 
What features did you like?
What was most challenging?

Here are some activities you could try out

Historical data
Zoom in to your area/city/region country
Notice how the dashboard information changes
Now find a place nearer the pole – has it changed more or less?
What about the equator or Sahara desert?
What about mountain areas like the Alps? Or Seas like the Mediterranean?
Note you can expand each box and even download the data you selected and export it into Excel for further analysis

Prediction data
These are modelled data for the future based on low, medium or high greenhouse gas emissions
This is explained at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representative_Concentration_Pathway
Again the likely impact of climate change in the future can be explored using the maps and data

These modelled predictions are the basis of much of our policy developments – the class could discuss the challenges of decision making with future uncertainty

Hoping you find it interesting

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Most teenagers learn about climate change on social media – is this worrying?

An EdWeek Research Center survey recently showed that more than half (56%) of 14-18 year olds learn “some” or “a lot” about climate change through social media.

Social networks such as YouTube or TikTok can be places to generate new perspectives and connections, as well as to find high-quality learning materials. However, they are also great repositories of misinformation, lies and conspiracy theories.

It is no longer only necessary to teach the specific content to be taught. The immersion of social networks in the field of education implies the importance of teaching media literacy in schools. misinformation table

According to EdWeek Research Center survey, when it comes to climate change, social media is the third most cited source, closely followed by “teachers” and “parents”. Education professionals are surprised by the popularity of these channels for obtaining climate information.

Getting information about climate change through platforms like Facebook means that, on the one hand, influencers and no formed people generate information and, on the other hand, it is information designed to evoke emotions.

Are young people active seekers of information on climate change or do they come across it indirectly? Media literacy advocates that young people take the initiative.

It is essential to teach students to search for information and to be critical about sources.

This media literacy should include aspects such as:
Checking sources.
Understanding algorithms and the manipulation of what the user sees on social networks.
Critically questioning content creators and the motives they have when “posting” information on social networks.
Recognise sensationalist and emotionally charged content that escapes reason, logic or the scientific method.

The problem, is that the most common form of content consumption by adolescents is passive. This means that it is difficult to achieve these media literacy skills.

While the EdWeek survey finds encouraging parameters, ir also shows results that are scientifically untrue, such as students believe that the ozone hole affects global warming.

Source: Action for the climate emergency. Available heremisinformation video image

Still, according to secondary school teachers, students are increaxsingly becoming social media experts. If we can build media literacy skills, social media and Internet are powerful sources of information. This knowledge can be generating critical thinking and tools for comparison and debate in the face of differing opinions. In addition, these networks can serve to connect teenagers with others who share their own interests, for example using Twitter as megaphone for Climate activism.

Play the Youth Takes video

Source: EducationWeek. Arianna Prothero – January 30, 2023

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Earth Map shows climate data

Earth map graphicEarth Map (https://earthmap.org/) is an innovative and free application developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. It was designed in the framework of the partnership between the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and Google. Earth map facilitates the visualisation, processing, and analysis of land and climate data.

Earth Map allows everyone to visualise, process and analyse satellite imagery and global datasets on climate, vegetation, fires, biodiversity, geo-social and other topics.

It was created to support countries, research institutes and even farmers with internet access to monitor their land in an easy, integrated and multi-temporal manner. It is an interesting tool which can be used to help with teaching about climate and climate change.

Users need no prior knowledge of remote sensing or Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

Look at the video embedded here to find out more.

Earth Map’s data is divided into different thematic segments, including Climate, Geosocial, Vegetation, Land Degradation Neutrality, Water, Satellite images, Land maps, Forestry, Fire, Geophysical, Soil and Biodiversity.

The data allows users to visualise different layers of information to create maps and to generate statistics to describe the areas of interest.

These layers include data from the European Space Agency’s Climate Change Initiative, the Copernicus ECMWF Temperature and Precipitation ERA5 data and Global Forest Change tree cover loss.

Earth Map allows users to access and display information from different time periods. It  thereby gives  both a temporal (accessing time series data) and a spatial (visualising places) perspective to their areas of interest.

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Find out moreVisit Earth Map

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Teaching climate report published

Early in 2020, nine-year-old Sophie asked her teacher “Is it true we’ve only got ten years to save the planet?”
In that moment, her teacher was unsure what to say…..  (Kirby and Webb, 2021) 

systems thinking diagramThe first result of the Teaching the Future project has been published, looking to provide some recommendation to help answer this question.

The report concerns curriculum and pedagogical guidelines. It assesses the situation experienced in secondary schools as well as the opportunities provided by national curricula in partner countries. It explores climate, citizenship and digital teaching.

Sections examine the use of innovative teaching and learning methods and illustrate participative approaches to involve pupils in active citizenship activities.

The report includes a detailed review of recent academic literature, the results of interviews with focus groups of teachers and interviews with teacher educators.

The purpose is to be able to offer recommendations for relevant trustworthy climate education with suitable and reliable pedagogical approaches and tools.report-image

Reference: Kirby, P. and Webb, R., 2021, Conceptualising uncertainty and the role of the teacher for a politics of climate change within and beyond the institution of the school. Educational Review, 1-19

Diagram source: de Sousa, L.O., Hay, E.A. and Liebenberg, D., 2019. Teachers’ understanding of the interconnectedness of soil and climate change when developing a systems thinking concept map for teaching and learning. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 28(4), 324-342

Download report
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Changes in Global Ocean Circulation

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is a large system of ocean currents that carry warm water from the tropics northwards into the North Atlantic.ocean circulation image

It acts like a conveyor belt, driven by differences in temperature and salt content – the water’s density. As warm water flows northwards it cools and some evaporation occurs, which increases the amount of salt. Low temperature and a high salt content make the water denser, and this dense water sinks deep into the ocean.

The cold, dense water slowly spreads southwards, several kilometres below the surface. Eventually, it gets pulled back to the surface and warms in a process called “upwelling” and the circulation is complete.

This global process makes sure that the world’s oceans are continually being mixed, and that heat and energy are distributed around the earth. This, in turn, contributes to the climate we experience today.

Oceanographers have been continuously measuring the AMOC since 2004. These measurements have shown that the AMOC varies from year to year, and it is likely that these variations have an impact on the weather in western Europe. However it is too early to say for sure whether there are any long term trends.

Before 2004 the AMOC was only measured a few times, and to go back further into the past we need to look at indirect evidence (for example from sediments on the sea floor). The indirect evidence doesn’t always agree on the details, but it seems likely that there have been some large, rapid changes in the AMOC in the past (for example around the end of the last ice age).

Some scientists believe the changes to this ocean circulation poses a huge risk for Europe.  The devastating droughts last summer were caused by the AMOC being at its lowest point in 1200 years, and now they say it is the weakest it has been in the last 1600 years. Watch the video which explains findings from recent research.

An example of their potential impact

However, according to the UK Met Office, climate models suggest that the AMOC will weaken over the 21st Century as greenhouse gases increase. This is because as the atmosphere warms, the surface ocean beneath it retains more of its heat. Meanwhile increases in rainfall and ice melt mean it gets fresher too. All these changes make the ocean water lighter and so reduce the sinking in the ‘conveyor belt’, leading to a weaker AMOC. So the AMOC is very likely to weaken, but it’s considered very unlikely that large, rapid changes in the AMOC, as seen in past times, will happen in the 21st Century.

Educators need to be careful not to exaggerate the impact of such processes as teachers should try to keep to the facts and data, as AMOC has only been measured regularly since 2004 – we simply do not know, nor can we yet predict with any accuracy, what the future will bring. But it is an important issue that we ought to teach about and its impact on the development of previous ice ages for example as polar ice melted.

Find out more about the AMOC

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European Climate Pact meeting and education resources

The European Climate Pact is celebrating two years of taking climate action together, in our worlds, for our planet.Climate Pact meeting graphic

On 1 February 2023, the European Commission is bringing together Climate Pact Ambassadors, experts and activists to take stock of the journey so far and discuss ways to build a more sustainable Europe for the future.

You can network with the people and organisations involved in the European Climate Pact, hear about their achievements, and learn how you can get involved.

Find out more and register here (EU login required) to attend physically in Brussels or virtually,

The European Climate Pact is an initiative of the European Commission supporting theclimate pact logo implementation of the European Green Deal. It is a movement to build a greener Europe, providing a platform to work and learn together, develop solutions, and achieve real change.

The objectives of the Climate Pact are to:
– Raise awareness of climate issues and EU actions
– Encourage climate action and catalyse engagement
– Connect citizens and organisations that act on climate and help them to learn from each other.

The Pact provides opportunities for people,  communities, and organisations to participate in climate and environmental action across Europe.  By pledging to the Pact, European stakeholders commit to taking concrete climate and environmental actions in a way that can be measured and/or followed up.

The Climate Pact aims to help spread scientifically sound information about climate action and provide practical advice for everyday life choices. It will support local initiatives and encourage climate action pledges from both individuals or collectives, helping to mobilise support and participation.

Participating in the Pact is an opportunity for organisations to share their transition journey with their peers and collaborate with other actors towards common targets.

The Pact have created some educational tools and resources  Find out more ECP climate resources image

Find out more about how to get involved 

Visit the Climate Pact Web site 

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Key Takeaways Of COP 27

cop 27 bannerCOP27, or the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was held in November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

COP27 brought governments together to accelerate global efforts to confront the climate crisis. It was an important moment because the latest science shows that climate change is moving much faster than we are, pushing ecosystems and communities to their limits.

act now imageThe main objective of COP27 was to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement, a global pact signed in 2015 with the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. The COP27 resulted in a number of important conclusions, including the launch of a five-year work programme to promote climate technology solutions in developing countries and a mitigation work programme aimed at scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation.

The conference also emphasised the need for increased cooperation and ambition from all countries, as well as the importance of involving non-party stakeholders, such as businesses and civil society, in the global effort to combat climate change. Additionally, COP27 established a “loss and damage” fund for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters and called for increased support for adaptation and resilience efforts. Overall, the COP27 reaffirmed the global community’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and the urgent need for action to address the climate crisis.

no planet b imageAccording to Forbes, the final COP 27 text also included a call for the “transformation of the financial system and its structures.”

They suggest momentum is building to reform the World Bank and other development finance institutions to meet the climate challenge.

The World Resources Institute have created a resource hub connected with COP 27 with latest news, articles, research, data and more.