At other colleges and universities the climate activists are busy trying to pull direct action and other protest stunts to get the administration to pay attention. So last week they held a national Teach-In.
Well, of course, we couldn't be left out. So we had to have one too. But nobody wanted to think through how redundant this would be.
So this was the situation last week at our version of the national Teach-In:
Our interim Sustainability Coordinator Aaron Witham, a former student, and the C.R.A.P. Crew and other work studies diligently put on a dog-and-pony show for the Teach In, with movies and guest lectures by prominent Unity College climate change and climate mitigation professors (me and Keven Spigel). The venue was the Student Center. And of course the main audience in the end was the C.R.A.P. crew and sustainability work studies themselves, while everyone else picked their way around the shindig to get at their lunches and coffee.
Kevin did a bonza job of explaining his lake sediment research and relating it to past climate events and methane which I liked because I hadn't seen it yet.
I did my fairly routine Peak Oil explain-and-debunk.
(Peak Oil debunk exec. summary: Hubbert's peaks work, but only at the largest possible scale, you can't use them to predict oil market behavior or even scarcity except at that scale, Peak Oil activists tend to love to scare people when the really scary thing is not so much oil use but coal use and climate change itself. We are running out of oil, but that just means the price will go up and we will use it less.)
Aaron explained the college's nascent Climate Acton Plan.
Actually, this last is not so new, since I, and former Sustainability Coordinators like Jason Reynolds, carried most of it around in our heads the many years we did what Aaron is now doing. But it's about time we wrote it down and tied it to the Master Plan and the curriculum.
Anyway, we all did our bit, especially Aaron, who was running around like a one-armed paper hanger trying to make it all work, and the collective result was a fairly journeyman-like job of explaining Climate Change to ourselves and the odd other student and faculty member.
And then we went back to our classrooms, where, for at least the ten years I've been a faculty member at Unity College, everyday is Teach-In day.
In my case I went right back to explaining the fundamentals of systems analysis to third years so they can properly understand their upcoming and mandatory eight weeks of climate change, followed by an obligatory four weeks of energy efficiency and renewable energy. This comes after the required three weeks of basic human ecology.
Actually, we don't allow any student to graduate from Unity College until they have proved they are competent in all these areas by passing an examination.
How about that for a Teach-In? Seems a little more, well, developed, to me.
And never mind Kevin's fifteen weeks of Lake Sediment Analysis related to climate change for sophomores, since that isn't technically required. The poor old sophs could have chosen to take Nancy Ross's fifteen weeks of Recycling in Local Schools. Or Jim Horan's Earth Day and Beyond instead. Never mind all the work on environmental change we shoehorn into Bio I and II.
No wonder the audience was thin! We've worn them out with this stuff. They've all had climate change, and most of them have had it two, or three, or four times over.
We should have gone to some other college to do our Teach-In. Our time would have been better spent.
What I want to know is when the elite of the climate change education world will finally turn around and realize just how much they've been following our lead for the last few years. And give us some credit for being the first college in the country to require a systematic education in climate change and climate solutions for all undergraduates.
But of course, they would never do that, since to do that would be to take some attention away from themselves.
For us, we probably don't need the attention for the sake of the college. But I want more resources to work with, and I want our students to get the credit so they can get jobs and be recognized for what they are:
Graduates of the first college in the US to require climate education for all students, every one of them trained to understand climate change and help implement solutions.