Learn about the projects and experiences of past Climate Education Grant recipients shared by the recipients themselves. 

Systems Approaches to Climate Change: Perspectives from Iceland

Dr. Lee Groat – ISCI 361/461 - ISCI 361 Field Course: Systems Approaches to Regional Sustainability

The CEG grant enabled us to prioritize gathering expert interviews and other digital footage (visits to key locations in Iceland where climate change impacts can be experienced first-hand) and package this content in an engaging and accessible format for our virtual ISCI 361/461-course offering. Students were able to experience Iceland through this footage as a substitute for being in person due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions. They were able to “visit” receding glaciers, “see” rare and declining species, and “investigate” carbon capture technologies, to name a few.

Our goal was to bring Iceland to the students and have them grapple with real-time climate impacts that the island and its people face. The overall impression from the students was that the course was a great success. They learned a lot about Iceland from a systems and sustainability lens, and they were able to critically assess future challenges that may continue to emerge due to climate impacts. 

– Dr. Lee Groat, Professor, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, UBC Vancouver

Mathematical models of climate change: How do they work? 

Rebecca Tyson – MATH 225 Introduction to Differential Equations

The Climate Education grant was instrumental for me! With it, I was able to hire a student to create the first draft of the climate change group worksheets. Furthermore, I was able to leverage the award by having that same student work as my TA for the course, which meant that I could continue working with her to polish the worksheets even after the grant funds had been exhausted. Now I can continue to include this material in the course moving forward and gradually build on this content by creating new worksheets as new research comes to light.

– Rebecca Tyson, Professor, Mathematics, UBC Okanagan

Climate change group work projects were very interesting throughout the term. I enjoyed seeing the mathematical models and working with the EnRoads simulator to see what the major factors of everyday life contribute the most to climate issues that we are seeing in the world around us today. Having the background mathematical knowledge of how the simulations work to make these predictions make the learning much more memorable and impactful as well.

– Student participant

This course was structured very differently, which made it fun and challenging at the same time, and made it more than just about "solving differential equations to get marks". Climate Change group work projects were quite interesting because they gave us an opportunity to apply concepts learned in the classroom. The investigation of the energy balance model to learn how the change in global warming and increase in carbon emissions affect the temperature of our atmosphere with the help of Differential Equations was also quite interesting.

– Student participant

Understanding wildfires: A case study for UBC Nursing

Raluca Radu & Aubree McAtee – 290 Health Impacts of Climate Change 

This project was born out of the need to fill in knowledge gaps on the health impacts of climate change that are specific to a Canadian context and which are grounded in a case study pedagogical approach. Having worked with the Planetary Health Alliance Case Studies that offer a global perspective, these supported students to identify the relationships between how environmental changes impact human health because they were learning to apply an upstream, equity-based lens on these topics. It was through this work that I realized how effective problem-based learning is and hence I was determined to integrate a case study that brought forward local examples of how British Columbians are experiencing and responding to diverse climate change impacts.  

This work could not have been undertaken without the UBC Sustainability Hub’s Climate Education Grant program of 2020/21. The impact of this grant-funded project will be long-lasting, as it will allow students for years to come to learn about the intricate ways in which climate change affects human health in British Columbia, challenging them to engage with the topic through critical analysis and interdisciplinary collaboration. 

I encourage UBC faculty members to apply for this grant and develop innovative curricular tools that support the integration of climate change topics into their courses. If you are keen to transform your curriculum and teach about the greatest threat of the 21st century, then the UBC Sustainability Hub Climate Education Grant program is the perfect opportunity to pioneer new approaches in climate change education!

For an extended commentary on Climate & Health specific to the above mentioned case study, check out this UBC Applied Science Q & A blog from November 2021, where Raluca speaks in more detail about her case study.

– Raluca Radu, RN, MSN Lecturer, School of Nursing, Faculty of Applied Science