By the end of August this year, Phoenix, Arizona, had recorded 50 days of temperatures exceeding 110 degrees, scorching the previous record of 33 days in 2011. Climate change is no longer a distant threat that we have years or decades to prepare for—it’s here now.
Phoenix isn’t the only city experiencing the tangible effects of a changing climate. Urban centers around the world are feeling the heat. Shenzhen, China, for example, is facing historic flooding that is linked to climate change, and flooding in China’s cities overall has doubled in just the past decade or so. Worldwide, still more cities are vulnerable to stronger hurricanes or to the effects of drought and other natural forces—all coming at us more frequently and with more fury.
The Nature Conservancy, one of Learning Lab's partners, is offering a new Nature Lab Virtual Field Trip, "Changing Climate, Changing Cities: A Virtual Field Trip From Phoenix to Shenzhen," which takes students in 3rd through 8th grades to Phoenix, Shenzhen and other cities where they will learn from community members and local experts about how climate change is affecting us now, in our everyday lives. Help your students understand the challenges cities face with climate change, the solutions experts are promoting to mitigate it, and the hands-on role students can play, as the next generation of environmental stewards.
Nature Lab aims to share with today’s youth the places, science and conservation stories of The Nature Conservancy—with a special focus on leading students from what they see on the screen to how they can take action in their own cities and towns. The Nature Lab Virtual Field Trips are unique because they come with a complete package of engaging, standards-aligned resources—student-centered, teacher-facing and family-friendly for home schooling and distance learning. They are fun, easy to use and grounded in science.
By “visiting” Phoenix and Shenzhen, for instance, students will learn the difference between climate and weather. They’ll discover what they can do individually or collectively with their families or classmates to reduce carbon emissions and keep the earth’s temperature low. They’ll understand why—with so many of the world's large cities located near coasts and so many people living in cities today—urban centers are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise and other climate-related risks. They’ll learn about heat islands and what it means to “green” their own cities and towns.