Climate change: a learning process

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Special to the Tribune

When ‘cooler’ temperatures did arrive this winter they brought much-needed sunshine in our region.

I say cooler in quotations as today’s cooler is yesteryear’s warmer, winter temperatures.

Climate change has been up for discussion for decades but, until recently, was not getting the attention needed.

With the burning of fossil fuels pushing Mother Nature to a point of no longer being able to balance her energy levels, climate change has become a part of the Grade 7 science curriculum, and Scout Island was fortunate enough to be able to partner up with several of the Grade 7 classes to present a mini unit on climate change.

Classes took part in two, one-hour sessions at Columneetza — the first to delve into what climate change is, the causes of this climate change and the use of fossil fuels to drive our needs and wants.

As well, students started a discussion on the trend and sustainability of renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels as a key energy source worldwide.

The second lesson looked at the effects climate change is having on global weather patterns, such as heavier rainfalls, droughts, intensified tornadoes and hurricanes, cooler summers and warmer winters, and the rising levels and temperatures of our oceans.

This is tied into how changes in weather patterns due to climate change will affect all living organisms in years to come, humans included, if we do not make changes.

Our third session together was at Scout Island for the day.

Here, students dug into the effects that climate change is having on the natural environment and the wildlife around the globe, but more specifically in B.C. and Canada.

In the afternoon the group focused on salmon as a keystone species, learning about the salmon’s life cycle, habitat needs, obstacles and the impacts of climate change on salmon and, therefore, a multitude of other species.

Throughout all three lessons students not only looked at the negative effects of climate change, but also looked at how they can be a positive force for change through individual actions, teaching others what they have learned, the positives that are occurring globally, and how governments can adjust to be more supportive of clean initiatives.

These young people have a vested interest in taking part in promoting positive changes that will initially slow climate change, and down the road give Mother Nature the ability to, once again, balance her energy needs, giving all living organisms a better life on the planet that we share.

Kim Zalay is an educator at Scout Island Nature Centre.

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School District No 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin)