Author:
Cheryl Lydon
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Education, Ecology, Atmospheric Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan, Module
Level:
Adult Education
Tags:
  • ClimeTime
  • climetime
  • wa-science
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Language:
    English
    Media Formats:
    Video

    Lessons from the Washington Climate Assembly

    Lessons from the Washington Climate Assembly

    Overview

    In early 2021, 80 Washington citizens from all walks of life gathered virtually to learn from 40 presenters to make recommendations to the Washington state legislature about how to mitigate climate change in our state. Specifically, the Assembly addressed was:

    How can Washington State equitably design and implement climate mitigation strategies while strengthening communities disproportionately impacted by climate change across the State?

    This series uses videos of the Assembly speakers to help teachers increase their climate change background knowledge, explore teaching resources and consider ways to bring this learning to students. 

    Each session of the series includes 1 - 3 related recorded presentations from the Climate Assembly, plus accompanying materials, and activities. 

    Introduction

    In January and February of 2021, 80 Washington citizens from all walks of life and political persuasions gathered virtually to learn about, deliberate on and make recommendations to the Washington state legislature about how to mitigate climate change in our state. Specifically, the question the Washington Climate Assembly addressed was:

    How can Washington State equitably design and implement climate mitigation strategies while strengthening communities disproportionately impacted by climate change across the State?

    These types of citizen assemblies utilize a facilitated, democratic process to seek answers to a question or solve a problem facing a community, and it is done in a way intended to represent the interests of citizens from all walks of life. Citizen assemblies originated in Europe but are now spreading around the world. The Washington Climate Assembly was the first of its kind to take place in the US.

    The purpose of this series of Lessons from the Climate Assembly include

    1. To increase your background knowledge in climate change, climate justice and climate change education.

    2. To explore sources of information about climate change and teaching resources.

    3. To brainstorm how you might incorporate course information and resources into your teaching.  

    4. To share your thoughts and engage in dialogue with other teachers about teaching climate change.

    Series Structure

    Each session of the series includes 1 - 3 related recorded presentations from the Climate Assembly, plus accompanying materials and activities. 

    Each presentation is about 15 minutes in length.

    All current and future sessions together are referred to as the Lessons from the Washington Climate Assembly series of trainings, or just “series” for short. 

     

    Session 1: Introduction to Climate Change in Washington State

    Presentation 1:  Climate Change-Climate Crisis: What is our Duty?  

    Presenter: Leonard Forsman

    Tribal Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe 

     

    Summary

    Suquamish Land Acknowledgement: “Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished.”
    -Chief Seattle 1854 

    We would like to begin by acknowledging...the aboriginal territory of the suq̀ʷabš “People of Clear Salt Water” (Suquamish People). Expert fisherman, canoe builders and basket weavers, the suq̀ʷabš live in harmony with the lands and waterways along Washington’s Central Salish Sea as they have for thousands of years. Here, the suq̀ʷabš live and protect the land and waters of their ancestors for future generations as promised by the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855. -Suquamish Tribe website

    Chairman Forsman introduces the perspective of native people who have stewarded northwest lands since time immemorial. He describes indigenous worldviews which value long-term earth stewardship and environmental health. Tribal treaty rights provide for access to tribal hunting and fishing rights. Tribes are holding government accountable to address climate change, while also working directly to tackle climate change.

    Presentation 2:  Climate Change and Climate Change Impacts in WA State                           

    Presenter:  Amy Snover, PhD 

    Director, Climate Impacts Group

    University Director, NW Climate Adaptation Science Center 

    Earthlab, College of the Environment, University of Washington

    Summary

    This presentation outlines current scientific understanding of how climate change will affect Washington’s communities, economy, and ecosystems. It describes changes that have already been observed in the region and how the region’s climate is anticipated to change if significant mitigation measures are not taken.  Snover describes the consequences of these changes in climate, and the risks these changes pose for communities, our built environment, natural-resources, and important ecosystems. She also describes the important role today’s actions will play in determining the cost of local impacts due to climate change. 

     

    Presentation 3: The Youth Movement for Climate Action

    Presenter: Meghan Tinnnea

    Climate Change Activist & High School Student

     

    Summary

    Student activist Meghan Tinnea presents her perspective on climate change. She has been working with the youth-led Sunrise Movement. She speaks powerfully about the need for adults to consider future generations and the need for a healthy planet. 

    Session 2: Climate Change and Climate Justice

    Learning to Accelerate Just Climate Action 

    Presenter: Dr. Deb Morrison 

    Learning Scientist, Institute of Science and Math Education

    College of Education, University of Washington

     

    Summary

    Adequately educating students to play an active role in solving climate change is a significant challenge for teachers, schools and for the entire education system. In this presentation Dr. Morrison outlines the complexities, and opportunities of climate change and climate justice education. She references many useful teaching resources and tools throughout her presentation.

    Session 3: Social Emotional Learning and Climate Change

    Climate Anxiety and Eco-Grief 

    Presenter: Jennifer Atkinson, PhD 

    Associate Professor, Environmental Humanities

    University of Washington, Bothell

     

    Summary

    This talk explores the impacts of climate change on mental health and offers strategies for navigating the range of emotions we feel in response to it: from anxiety and grief to anger, guilt, apathy, and hope. Professor Atkinson draws from her years of experience teaching a seminar at the University of Washington that helps students and faculty manage the anxiety that can arise from learning about environmental loss and uncertainty about the future.

    Session 4: Climate Change, Tribal Sovereignty and Rural Communities

    Presentation 1: Tribal and Indigenous Sovereignty and Climate Change 

    Presenter: Preston Hardison, retired non-tribal employee of the Tulalip Natural Resource Office of Treaty Rights 

    Summary

    Preston Hardison speaks of the sovereignty that all Washington tribes have. This sovereignty gives them inherent rights to (1) self-determination, (2) autonomy and (3) self-governance. Tribes also have the right to hunt, fish and gather resources on “open and unclaimed lands” and in their “usual and accustomed places”. Taken together, these have significant implications for how the state works with tribes to address climate change. No one person can speak on behalf of all Washington tribes. This is a good reminder to teachers to reach out to the tribes around your school so you, and hopefully your students, can learn directly from your local tribe.

     

    Presentation 2:  Planning for a No-Analog Future: Climate Change in Rural Eastern Washington

    Presenter:  Stephanie Krantz 

    Climate Change Planner for the Nez Perce Tribe 

     Climate Reality Leader and Resident of Clarkston, WA

     

    Summary

    Stephanie Krantz describes how eastern Washington tribal and rural communities are responding to climate change. Climate Change is impacting infrastructure, extreme heat, flooding, wildfires, air quality, and drought. These impacts are felt more by some communities. Krantz also describes how eastern Washington tribes are addressing climate change.