Tuesday Plenary Town Hall: Engaging Students on Climate Change

Tuesday 12:00-1:00pm PT / 1:00-2:00pm MT / 2:00-3:00pm CT / 3:00-4:00pm ET Online
Plenary Talk


Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University

All Rendezvous attendees are invited to watch Dr. Katharine Hayhoe's recorded plenary in advance of participating in the Tuesday Plenary Town Hall. Tuesday's Town Hall will offer an opportunity to reflect on Dr. Hayhoe's presentation and think about applications to earth education classrooms and communities. Come prepared to discuss the major themes of Dr. Hayhoe's talk:

  • Facts are important, but facts alone are not enough.
  • We psychologically distance ourselves from "distant" threats.
  • What is our emotional response when we begin to understand the threat?


The challenge posed by human-induced climate change to society and the natural environment has been carefully and methodically summarized by thousands of peer-reviewed studies and decades' worth of exhaustive reports by Royal Societies, National Academies, federal agencies, and the IPCC. As Earth Science educators, our instinct may be to focus on scientific data: and there's no shortage of that, from the melting ice sheets of Greenland to the super-charged hurricanes of the Caribbean. However, public and political opinion remains sharply divided along ideological, socio-economic, and religious lines.When we take a data-focused approach, we may unknowingly reinforce a stalemate; so how do we break this vicious cycle? By sharing the right kind of data: data that connects directly with the values students have, and data that promotes a positive message with tangible, practical solutions our students can employ.Join Katharine Hayhoe as sheuntangles the science behind how beliefs shape our identity and highlights the key roleour students can play in shaping conversations and inspiring change among their peers, families and communities in addressing solutions to climate change.

Plenary Recording

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Town Hall Discussion Notes

Discussion of Katharine Hayhoe's talk will include time for small groups to discuss themes of the presentation. Discussion themes are:

1. "Facts are important, but facts alone are not enough."

2. "We psychologically distance ourselves from 'distant' threats."

3. What is our emotional response when we begin to understand the threat?

Groups are encouraged to discuss each theme in the context of:

  • What has worked well for you in your classrooms?
  • What doesn't work / what mistakes have you made?
  • What have you heard today that you can implement?

Short report-outs will be recorded on this page during the Town Hall. Participants are also encouraged to add a comment using the discussion thread at the bottom of the page.

Additional Resources