Discussing "Our Changing Climate" with Twin Rivers Elementary

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Students in Mrs. Evdokimoff’s Gr.5/6 class at Twin Rivers discussed Climate Change and the Greenhouse Effect earlier this week. We started out by defining the term "climate" and differentiating it from "weather". The weather in Castlegar today is snowy and cool, but the climate for Castlegar is something bigger- the average weather patterns over a long period of time (like 30 years). We learned about the average climate of BC and learned a bit about Biogeoclimatic zones before getting into a lesson on greenhouse gases and how they are contributing to climate change. Some students were surprised to learn that greenhouse gases (GHGs) were actually a natural and very necessary part of our atmosphere. They trap the sun’s heat within Earth’s atmosphere, making our planet warm enough for life as we know it. However, humans are contributing more GHGs to the atmosphere than ever before, through the burning of fossil fuels, transportation and deforestation. It is this increased amount of GHGs in the atmosphere that is leading to Climate Change, including extreme weather events, habitat loss, and melting glaciers. After discussing some of the effects of Climate Change, some students admitted to feeling scared or a bit sad. It can be a pretty overwhelming subject and these are natural responses, but we all agreed that perhaps the best response is to be motivated to make a difference! We discussed actions such as reducing our reliance on cars, planting trees and reducing, reusing and recycling our stuff. Many of the actions the students are already taking to reduce their Eco-Footprint through our Eco-Challenge will also help reduce GHGs and the effects of Climate Change. The class came out of today’s lesson with a renewed excitement to take new actions to reduce their Eco-Footprints- I’m looking forward to seeing the results in our final week of the Beyond Recycling Eco-Challenge next Monday!