Panel 4: HUMBOLDT AREA TEAM
Conducting an Environmental Assessment in the Classroom
Conducting environmental assessments in the classroom can help facilitate discussions about climate change, environmental health and environmental justice. This presentation reviews 5 online tools that allow teachers to integrate an interactive in-class exercise and discussion of environmental health issues/ policies in their curriculum. All resources shared are very easy to use but have more advanced applications that can be utilized depending on the audience.
“Emergent Strategy and the KAN: A Love Letter to the Network”
This presentation will describe the impact of participating in the KAN on my thinking and various aspects of my work – including research, service, teaching, but also the immeasurable and uncategorizable stuff – which I now see as all “frontlines” and “fractals” of change, thanks to our time together. As a KAN planning team member, I had the privilege of participating in all four workshops, and gained an enormous amount of knowledge about best practices, learned solutions to commonly-shared problems, cultivated “the muscle of radical imagination” with you all, and built relationships and my own network. The experience emboldened me to more urgently work on projects I suspected were valuable, such as integrating both service learning & community-based education and professionalization into environmental studies curriculum, changing institutional incentives around what “counts” as research in my role as program leader, building courses that serve students’ lives as social change agents, and investing in relationships with my colleagues in other disciplines, units, and institutions.
However, the most valuable lesson for me was what I gained by immersing myself in a book that shaped our workshop process, Emergent Strategy, by Adrienne Maree Brown. Some of you may remember Abby Reyes discussing the book in her facilitation process. This book has helped me acknowledge the value of all those other efforts, rather than feel burnt out or paralyzed in the face of the scale of the world’s problems and institutional barriers to our goals. In this presentation, then, I want discuss how this book helped me see the work of the KAN and the work I do in my daily life in radically new ways. From Emergent Strategy, I propose we approach our work in terms of:
– cultivating community and relations (committing ourselves to span an inch wide and a mile deep rather than the other way around)
– valuing conversation over deliverables
– expanding our notion of what counts as “action,” based on Brown’s nonlinear and iterative view of social change
– shifting toward resilience as a priority over “problem-solving,” in both pedagogy and curriculum development
– increasing appreciation for the theory of the fractal for understanding how change happens and for grasping the power we each all hold
– emphasizing the importance of self-care for ourselves and our students
– shifting curriculum toward affective resilience and emergent strategy as opposed to just content or “marketable skills”
– paying attention to what we want to grow, rather than all the things that are wrong (in life, pedagogy, how we spend our time and attention, in committees and other collaborations, etc.)
– doing work that fuels us.
In what ways might the KAN manifest emergent strategies for the network’s stated goals? How can principles of emergent strategy help us understand our work, both in and outside the KAN?
The Chico 2030 Project: Climate Forecasting for Everyone
For most Californians, the climate issue remains geographically distant, so they can easily dismiss it. Faculty reinforce this distance in our classrooms when we describe potential climate impacts that are hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Cal-Adapt has the potential to change that classroom dynamic. The new climate-modeling tool developed by the California Energy Commission (CEC) now allows anyone to model climate in California by zip code.
My presentation will describe how students in GEOG 506: Community Service in Geography used the Cal-Adapt climate tools to forecast the climate in Chico, CA for the period 2030-2050. Students then met, data in hand, with key staff at the City of Chico to catalog potential impacts to the community and City services. Their findings and all research materials were placed on the web to allow others to continue the project.
The CEC developed Cal-Adapt primarily for use by public planners. In my class, however, we discovered the tool is also useful in the fields of public health, criminology and creative writing. Some students used the tool to explore past connections between heat waves and hospital visits and crime rates, while others wrote fictional accounts of the near future using the forecasts available with Cal-Adapt. This presentation will demonstrate how faculty from across the campus can use Cal-Adapt to improve the teaching of climate change in their classes.
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