communities in an effort to align the needs and efforts of the broader community, with the goal of creating sustained engagement in the programs.
Koch sees the desired end point of climate change education as addressing the issue of sustainability, which requires that people understand the magnitude of the problem and also change behavior, but she cautioned that most people may never understand the depth of the science. She also sees the need to go beyond the physical, natural, and social sciences to reach people in order to make progress on these issues.
James Mahoney provided closing comments and some thoughts for the future. He pointed to two ideas that came into focus over the two-day discussions: content and values. There was a lot of discussion of the quantity and quality of information at different levels of education. His experience working in the federal government on issues related to acid rain, which, he noted, were similar in some cases to those associated with climate change education, showed him that people working in different areas of research often did not communicate with those outside their area of expertise. He added that this resulted in a poor foundation to “carry the problem through, end-to-end.”
Mahoney pointed out that for those teaching climate science and climate change, there is already a large body of work available that, by its nature, is even-handed and transparent and is not focused on advocacy. These resources are designed to give teachers the context in which to teach climate issues, address uncertainties, identify good information, and set appropriate frameworks. He stressed that although this information is not the “last word,” it is a very useful resource.
Mahoney closed with a consideration of how society values science: “Do we value [science] as something which really is aimed to give us the best possible answers, albeit uncertain? Do we value science as simply a debating tool?” The issue, from his perspective, is to bring along students, from middle school to college, to an understanding of science as a tool that allows them to better understand earth systems. The concept of uncertainty is at the center of the discussion, he added, but healthy skepticism is not a reason for dismissing science. He emphasized that the goal is to help students understand that scientists strive to get the science and measurements right to the best of their ability, not because they expect to establish the final word on a subject but as part of a process of expanding understanding and reducing uncertainty.
Martin Storksdieck thanked the participants for the rich discussion at the workshop. He emphasized that the goal of the workshop was not