Climate Change as Part of Science Curriculum

Apparently, there are new standards in the works for teaching science to children in grades K-12, and the controversial part is that they include climate change as part of the curriculum.

I listened to a report on NPR yesterday, and felt conflicted when the story ended. There are people for and against this addition to the curriculum, and they both have a strong basis behind their stance. I have no problem teaching my kids about climate change; I do, however, have a problem saying that it is all because of us.

No question, the way we live and the harmful habits we’ve adopted in our daily lives are unduly ravaging the environment. However.

If you look at the history of science, you see a pattern of global warming and cooling that goes to quite extremes at both ends. I find it extremely arrogant to say that humans are entirely responsible for a warming trend on this planet.

Yes, we have accelerated the natural order of change. No question. But to think we are so powerful as to affect more than any other is to assume that we are in charge, we hold the position of creator, we control the puppet strings.

And the thing is, we don’t.

It’s all about perspective. I have no problem teaching evolution as a scientific theory. I have no problem teaching climate change as a scientific theory. I have no problem with religious folks opposing these theories.

I do have a problem with humans believing we are super-powerful, in control of all.

These are all stories we tell to explain our situation on earth. To understand life. To not be afraid of the what-ifs and the tomorrows. To reassure ourselves that tomorrow will actually come.

The thing is, we don’t really know any of it. Not for certain.

At best, these are our guesses based on the amount of scientific knowledge, evidence and expertise we have at this point in time.

At one point in time, the greatest minds on the planet thought the world was flat. Are we so arrogant as to say that now we know all we possibly can, all that is truly possible?

I’m not comfortable saying yes. I know for 100% certain that the knowledge I have is a mere dot in the vast universe of all there is to know. I also know that my time on earth is to make the world better, to help others, to be of service.

So if I can change my ways and drive a little less, consume fewer chemicals and control what pollutants I introduce to the world around me, great. It will make a bit of difference.

I also know that the world is going to do what it is going to do regardless of how I explain it or see it or what I believe. It will keep on turning long after I am gone and it will implode if it is meant to implode and no one has the answers or the definitive outcome, no one.

So go ahead and teach climate change. Teach it responsibly. Teach it as a theory. And also teach our children that we are but a speck in the universe of possibility, and all that we know now is all that we know now, and that tomorrow that may very well change.

It’s the stories we tell to make this life easier.

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