Archive | August 2012

Turn Up the AC

         While I have only seen one perspective, if everything they are saying is true – then everyone needs to take a serious reality check. The statistics that Al Gore shows in “The Inconvenient Truth” highlight the huge amounts of carbon dioxide we are putting into the air. The problem is simple: too much carbon dioxide concentrates the ozone layer, which traps the heat inside. The difficult part is how to solve the problems associated with global warming.

          The issue has been distorted and twisted by political parties. Some people want to completely stop putting carbon dioxide into the air.  This would be good, but it is a drastic change that cannot be done quickly. Others deny that global warming is happening and want to carry on, or they simply care more about the benefits of carbon dioxide than the environment. Since both sides think the other is either ignorant or maybe even evil, neither one of these things will happen easily.

           The only way to move forward is to create a solution that both sides agree to work on together. The first step to solving this problem is making everyone aware the world is heating up. Some may argue it is natural climate change, or some may argue it is due to human influences on the ozone layer. Second, everyone must identify whether or not this is an issue that needs to be dealt with immediately or just within the next few decades. As more time, money and research is put into the global warming issue, the clearer the problem will be. Until then, turn up the AC!

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Where we are (at least right now)

As a class, we started by taking a quick questionnaire about our own attitudes and beliefs when it comes to the subject of climate change. The questions themselves come straight from a pair of surveys regularly administered by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, giving us the ability to directly compare our students’ beliefs with those of the American public.

Here are the results:

Take a moment to browse the questions and the numbers. This is what a single group of 8th grade students in an Atlanta independent school had to say when surveyed at the starting point of our work together. Moreover, their responses are cross referenced with the most recent results available from the American public.  Students and blog readers (welcome!) alike—What do you find surprising, interesting, noteworthy, questionable, energizing, cringe-inducing, affirming, hopeful, depressing, ironic, or just plain odd in these numbers?

Envirowriting 2012-2013: What We Are

Envirowriting 2012-2013 is a Writing and Thinking course through which students will explore the question: Why is there such a difference between the opinions of climate scientists and the general public when it comes to the question: “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

In order to gain proficiency in Writing Skills (Ideas, Organization, Voice, Sentence Fluency, Word Choice, Conventions, and Presentation) as well as in other skills such as researching, critical thinking, responsibility, collaboration, and digital citizenship, part of the course will consist of students posting their learning and reflections on this public blog. We hope to garner an audience that will respectfully help these students to:

1) Communicate and Collaborate: Learn to be proactive learners in the digital community, writing and commenting in order to learn beyond the walls of the classroom.

2) Problem-Find and Problem-Solve: use the resources online through RSS feeds, Diigo, and the readers of this blog to ask questions and seek answers about the environment and our culture.

3) Create and Innovate: make each blog post unique to the writer and use this as a source of inspiration for our final project.

4) Reflect and Revise: allow for these posts to be polished exercises in “thinking on paper” and a place where students can revise their ideas and reflect upon their learning.

5) Serve and Lead: open up discussion among interested digital community members as a way of leading this discussion and serving as moderators of this discussion and members of an online community.

Please join us in our thinking and conversation by commenting on our posts. Please make note that any contributor to this blog (comment writer or poster) MUST follow these guidelines:

1) Only 1st names may be used. Writers may not, in any way, make their identity known to the general public. This means no last names, no pictures, no ages, and no school references may be posted on this blog.

2) Writers must not only be civil with each other, but must endeavor in all ways to demonstrate politeness, honor, and good character in their writing. No writing will denigrate another person for any reason. Unsavory comments will not be posted and will be deleted.

3) Writers must follow copyright laws. This includes the use of pictures, links, and videos. Please alert us if we have failed, as we are still learning about plagiarism and copyright, and we will rectify the situation immediately!