Thursday October 24, 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

0
//
climate change
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.

climate change
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.

climate change
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)

Next Story

Climate change, Pollution Causing Irreversible Damage to New Zealand’s Marine Environment

Agriculture, forestry and urbanization are increasing the amount of sediment, chemicals and plastics flowing

0
Climate Change, Pollution, Damage
FILE - Activists march on Parliament to protest a lack of action on climate change, in Wellington, New Zealand, Sept. 27, 2019. VOA

Climate change, pollution and fishing are causing irreversible damage to New Zealand’s marine environment and putting many birds and mammals at risk of extinction, according to a new report from the nation’s Ministry for the Environment.

The report said New Zealand’s coastline, which stretches for about 15,000 kilometers, is also under increasing pressure from development and shipping. Agriculture, forestry and urbanization are increasing the amount of sediment, chemicals and plastics flowing into the oceans, and contaminating the coastline, it said.

The report said 90 percent of the country’s seabirds and about a quarter of its marine mammals are threatened with extinction, and that 16 percent of New Zealand’s fish stocks had been overfished.

“The sea is a receiving environment for what happens on the land, so our activities on land from the mountains to the sea are having an impact on what we are seeing in the marine environment; growing cities, forestry, agriculture — all delivering increasing amounts of sedimentation,” said Vicky Robertson, New Zealand’s secretary for the environment.

Climate Change, Pollution, Damage
The report said New Zealand’s coastline, which stretches for about 15,000 kilometers, is also under increasing pressure from development and shipping. Pixabay

Warmer seas

The report also confirmed that New Zealand’s sea temperature had risen and was consistent with the global average. It also found sea levels were rising faster than before.

There was a warning, too, that New Zealand could expect more frequent marine heat waves, similar to those in 2017 and 2018, and ocean acidification.

For the first time, data from citizen scientists were used in the government report. Community groups were instructed about how to collect robust data.

Also Read- ‘AirPods Pro’ with Noise Cancellation Feature may Debut this Month

The next official marine environment report is due in three years.

New Zealand is a grouping of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia. It has a population of 4.5 million people. (VOA)