Saturday May 25, 2019

Watching Children Tackle Climate Change Issues Could Influence Views of Parents, Scientists Say

In the study, parents whose middle school-age children followed a curriculum that included learning about climate change increased their own level of concern by nearly 23 percent on average, the researchers found

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FILE - Around 1,000 Minnesota students skipped school to gather on the steps of the state Capitol Friday, March 15, 2019 in St. Paul, Minn. as part of global protests by young people to demand that governments take swift and decisive action to fight climate change. VOA

Teenagers in the U.S. coastal state of North Carolina who were schooled in the basics of man-made climate change saw their parents grow more concerned about the issue, scientists said on Monday in the first study of its kind.

The results suggested nationwide protests by young people urging action to tackle global warming could influence the views of adults at home, researchers told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Danielle Lawson, lead author of the study published by the journal Nature Climate Change and a researcher at North Carolina State University, said the findings could “empower” ongoing efforts by students, such as the “Fridays for Future” marches.

That movement has seen school children around the world walk out of classes on Fridays, including in the United States, in protest at government inaction on climate change.

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FILE – Climate change demonstrators hold banners in front of the Winston Churchill Statue during a protest near Parliament in London, April 12, 2019. VOA

In the study, parents whose middle school-age children followed a curriculum that included learning about climate change increased their own level of concern by nearly 23 percent on average, the researchers found. For conservative parents, the rise was significantly higher, averaging 28 percent.

The two-year experiment, involving about 240 students and nearly 300 parents, was the first to demonstrate that climate change education for children promotes parental concern, a North Carolina State University statement said.

But the results could only be generalized to North Carolina coastal counties, where the experiment took place, said Lawson. In the research, teachers gave some students lessons on climate change, including classroom activities like mapping data and field trips to places experiencing degradation linked to global warming. Another group did not follow that curriculum.

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FILE – Youths demonstrate with a banner reading “the greed for profit destroys our earth!” during the “Fridays For Future” movement on a global day of student protests aiming to spark world leaders into action on climate change, March 15, 2019 in Berlin. VOA

Parents of both groups shared their level of preoccupation about global warming in surveys administered before and after the experiment. Brett Levy, an assistant professor of education at the New York-based University at Albany who was not involved in the study, said the results potentially spoke to dynamics at play as students skipped school to demand climate action.

ALSO READ: US to ‘Amplify’ Green New Deal Movement ahead of US Election

“Sometimes people who participate in protests learn about the issues involved,” he said. “This study suggests that young people involved in these climate demonstrations could influence the views of their parents.”

Currently, 37 of 50 U.S. states, plus Washington D.C., have adopted science education guidelines that include learning about climate change as a result of human activity, said Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education. Thirteen states do not mention climate change as man-made, describe it only as a possibility, or misrepresent the scientific consensus about the phenomenon, he added. (VOA)

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Chile’s Southern Patagonia Ice Field Split in Two, Continue to Fracture Amid Climate Change

The chunk of ice that split off from the main glacier was estimated at 208 square kilometers (80.3 square miles), a relatively small part of the ice field

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Chunks of ice break off the Perito Moreno Glacier in Lake Argentina at Los Glaciares National Park near El Calafate, in Argentina's Patagonia region, March 10, 2016. VOA

Chile’s 12,000 square kilometer (4,633 square mile) Southern Patagonia Ice Field split in two and is likely to continue to fracture amid climate change, according to a team of Chilean scientists who were in the region in March.

Gino Casassa, chief of the Snow and Glacier Division of Chile’s DGA water authority, told Reuters increasing temperatures along the Andes Mountains in southern Chile and Argentina have meant less snow and ice to replenish the region’s abundant glaciers.

“What occurred is a fracture as the ice has retreated, Casassa said.

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Andes Mountains in southern Chile and Argentina have meant less snow and ice to replenish the region’s abundant glaciers. Pixabay

The chunk of ice that split off from the main glacier was estimated at 208 square kilometers (80.3 square miles), a relatively small part of the ice field.

But Casassa said it may be a sign of things to come. The ice field, he said, is now “split in two, and we’ll likely discover further divisions to the south,” he said.

Two icebergs broke off the Grey Glacier in southern Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park earlier this year, adding to fears that such ruptures are becoming more frequent. (VOA)