Teaching is the only social interaction that comes naturally to me. Sharing information, explaining things to other people – it is not only easy, but it gives me joy. That is why I teach for GHF Online, and why I started Master Minds.
Last Wednesday marked the end of my second year with GHF Online. As always, the end of the semester was bitter-sweet: I am so proud of how far my students have come, but I will miss “my” kids. Some of them will be coming back to my classes next term, when I teach Meet the Biosphere and Citizen Science Adventures. Others will be moving on.
This term has been harder than previous semesters, for a few reasons. I had two classes, not just one; I had a bigger class than I was used to. Mostly, though, what made it difficult was the election.
I teach environmental sciences, and climate change features prominently in my classes. My students know what climatograms are, and how they’re changing; and they know that humans are causing environmental damage to all the Earth’s ecosystems, and climate change threatens us all. Normally, I am able to help them cope reasonably well: I offer examples of policies being proposed or implemented, we discuss ways that they can make a difference, and they find things to be positive about. In other words, I practice what I preached in my last blog post.
But this term was different. This term, on November 9th, my students showed up to class and asked me what we were going to do now that the President-elect believes climate change is a hoax. And I did not have an answer, because I did not know myself.
I have an answer now. I know what I am going to do, and I know what they can do.
I’m going to teach. I’m going to educate the current generations about what we can do now, and I’m going to prepare the next generations for what is coming and what they will need to do.
In this new “post-truth” world, teaching science feels like an act of rebellion. In a time when climate scientists’ names are demanded and researchers fear the destruction of climate change data, defending solar and wind and protesting fossil fuels is a show of defiance. Sharing facts, and data, and evidence, searching for the truth – that is a display of resistance.
Join me. Teach your friends and family about climate change, about the importance of research and evidence. Share facts. The damage possible now is immense, but so too is our power as citizens.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead