Get Smart on Climate Change

By Erin Jones

One of the first tasks I was given when I began my internship in environmental education at EPA in Region 5 was to create a poster to help students better understand climate change.

I began to think about keywords associated with this phenomenon like glaciers, sea level, the Arctic, carbon dioxide, emissions, and greenhouse effect and then asked myself…how do all of these things relate to climate change? It’s hard…understanding climate change is a challenging thing.

Here in Chicago, there are exhibits on climate change at both the Museum of Science and Industry (until January 2011) and the Field Museum (ended in November 2010) that are designed to help the public better understand this challenging concept. Visiting these two exhibits forced me to think about climate change in different ways. Ultimately, understanding climate change is important because understanding empowers us with knowledge to take action against climate change.

Visiting a museum near you with an exhibit on climate change is a great way to get educated. Also, searching the internet will help too. If you are unable to visit a museum, we recently created a poster that we think will help.

The front of the poster showcases the winning artwork from the 2010 Climate Change Art Challenge that was open to students in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The contestants had to answer the question, “What is Climate Change?” The poster also includes information on the effects of climate change, climate change vocabulary, actions you can take against climate change, and some activities that should help you understand this tough concept. The poster and attachments can be found online.

Whether you visit a museum, search the internet, or use this poster—make a move and get smart on climate change.

About the author: Erin Jones recently completed an internship at EPA’s Region 5 office. She hopes to complete Master’s in Geography & Environmental Studies at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL this spring and pursue a career in environmental evaluation and protection.

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