Getting Real: Health in the Teaching of Climate and Earth Science
The impacts of climate change on health as well as the societal responses to climate change are varied and significant. In the past five years, recognition of the importance of the health implications of climate change has grown enormously, from major reports in the premier medical journal Lancet to messaging from President Obama about the US Clean Power Plant rule and Climate Action Plan. Understanding how climate change and climate variability affect people’s health and wellbeing is a foundational aspect of basic climate literacy. For educators, integrating content and exercises on health provides an opportunity to engage students in earth science with projects that both demonstrate the relevance of the science in their daily lives and also requires the development of critical analytic and synthetic skills. Health content related to climate change can also augment curricula in the social sciences, history, literature, and the visual arts. This talk summarizes the health implications of climate change and encourages discussion of how health content can help teachers of elementary through high school aged students achieve their educational goals.