As a geographer and former high school geography teacher, I must confess that I take some scientific facts for granted, such as climate and the water cycle. A recent post “Climate Science Meets a Stubborn Obstacle: Students” by fellow blogger Robert Vella brought to my attention the challenges some of our high school science teachers face in regions of America where climate change denial creates havoc in the minds of our youth.
When your father has raised you to believe that the coal they once mined, or still mine, can in no way affect our climate, it’s difficult to have an open mind to scientific consensus on the issue.
Geography lessons in high school expanded my curious mind to our relationship with our world: land, oceans, atmosphere, and all the in-between. When taking a climatology course at university, I found myself at a disadvantage for having chosen to study art instead of physics in high school. I had lots of catching up to do. Our course in biogeography alerted me to the ways that we humans are degrading our ecosystems. Those were the days before the Internet and Wikipedia.
Young people with reading proficiency and access to the Internet have no excuse for not learning about issues that impact their lives. Science classes (as for all other subject matter) in high school should be one of learning and open discussion, not provocation and confrontation, between students and teachers.
The Climate Reality Project, founded and chaired by former US Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore, has published an eight-page e-Booklet, titled Climate Change and the Water Cycle: Four Big Questions Answered, that I would like to share with young readers, as well as other readers who, like me, sometimes take for granted the vital role of water in our daily lives. For good and for bad.
When we think of climate change or global warming, the first image that usually comes to mind is the melting icecaps and glaciers. Rising temperatures also heat up our oceans, causing more evaporation, greater cloud formation, and increased rainfall. But it’s more complex than that.
The Climate Reality’s e-Booklet answers four of the most confusing questions about how climate change impacts the water cycle:
- Why does climate change increase rainfall?
- How is climate change bringing about more droughts?
- What does climate change have to do with hurricanes and typhoons?
- What does climate change have to do with wildfires?