What would you think, if you were between nine and fifteen, and the person you trust told you on your way out to throw on a jacket because you'd be cold? Probably you'd think: I can tell how cold I feel. And probably you'd be right-- but the adult would have the final say.
How you feel matters to how you decide- but how you keep yourself healthy probably matters more to how you learn.
So it is with climate education. When we learn to tune the places around us- check that, when we learn that we have the rights and the tools to tune the places around us- a third path pops up alongside the road to perdition and the trail of tears. The work of teaching young people how the earth's systems work picks up a parallel. That's the work of teaching young people how the systems in their heads map to the systems in their cities, so that the questions they wrestle become measurable in their daily lives.
How will the nations stop climate change? goes into the penumbra, with such maze-olas as where does language come from? and why do elephants go weak-kneed when they see mice? Confronting these unknowns amounts to the challenge facing our species. For individuals, rising to face that challenge becomes more feasible when someone feels a warm hug in the morning as well as a warm jacket through the day.
I've learned in testing and adjusting my curriculum that a chief portion of good teaching comes in good mapmaking. And questions like how hot does the route from my school to my house get on hot days? open a series of doors to a series of questions with answers that you can tick off in finer slices. .
You know: wicked hot at the corner by the police trailer, cooler in the shade by the hotel, just nothing by the jail, and so forth. These answers trip bigger questions about how something got where it is and why it needs to stay that way...
And those questions can chill the conscience, and fire up the imagination. Imagine if they built on each other into an idea that kids can bring to physical form together over a term.
It could almost be heartwarming.