This is not a science class. It is a class on the human cost of climate change.
The impact of climate change is still new, yet just in the last few years we've seen a drought in Syria lead to civil war, which in turn led to an international migration crisis in Europe. We've seen the American government powerless to help people in poverty rendered homeless after hurricanes and wildfires. In Africa and Latin America women must spend more time searching for fuel and fresh water, which makes it harder for nations to keep girls in school. In the Americas, viruses once confined to tropical areas are moving northward into more populous areas, putting new pressures on vulnerable populations and the health workers who serve them. In Arctic regions, indigenous peoples fear losing their native cultures, and on Pacific islands people have already prepared to lose their traditional way of life entirely as their homelands disappear under the sea.
One of the key questions international policymakers have faced is how to slow the rate of climate change in a way that is fair to everyone. For example, should India have to reduce its carbon emissions at the same rate the United States does, when so many more of its people are already living in extreme poverty? China is one of the world's biggest polluters, but is it fair to ask them to do more on the environmental front when so many of its rural residents don't even have electricity?
These are some of the questions we'll consider on a topic so important that it will likely define the next generation.
Suggested age range: 13+
Outside work: In most weeks there will be one documentary to watch and some short case studies to read.
When & where: Fridays at Voyagers in Chelmsford (directions) from 12:30-1:30, Feb. 2-May 4, 2018. No class Feb. 23 or Apr. 20.
Fee: $200 for the semester + a Netflix subscription. (Please read our media policy.) $10 discount for Voyagers members. Payment plans available. Class fees waived for families with financial need. (Waivers and payment plan information.)
Photo credit: Laura Fokkena