On November 5, just days after hurricane Sandy caused widespread damage in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Susanne Moser, a climate communication specialist, visited the University of Vermont as part of the Climate Action Seminar series. Dr. Moser held a special enrichment workshop for Sustainability Faculty Fellows focusing on climate education — what works, what doesn’t, and why it is so difficult. The aim of the workshop was to provide expert training in the area of sustainability education and to continue to foster a community of learning and exchange among the fellows.
Dr. Moser’s presentation engaged the fellows, and Office of Sustainability staff also in attendance, to consider the challenges they face when educating students about climate change. Although Dr. Moser didn’t linger on the challenges long, instead quickly moving to a discussion of approaches to keep students engaged and informed. Workshop attendees were reminded that focusing on personal real-world stories, using a variety of educational tools and activities, and providing solutions will go a long way in getting the climate message across to students. Dr. Moser also addressed what she calls the “5 D’s” – Disinterest, Despair, Distance, Dissonance, and Disempowerment – and provided specific strategies to combat these challenges and foster a positive learning environment.
Sustainability Faculty Fellows left with a toolbox of exercises and resources and a feeling of optimism around incorporating effective climate education in to their classrooms.
Susanne Moser's presentation can be found here.