By Ed Brennen
When the UMass system announced in May that it would become the first major public university to divest from direct fossil fuel holdings, senior biology major Sabrina Pedersen was elated — and stunned.
The Climate Change Initiative (CCI) brings faculty, students, and communities together to address one of the greatest challenges facing humanity: climate change. The Initiative draws its members from disciplines as diverse as environmental science, public health, engineering, education, management, sociology, political science, art, and others.
Climate change education offers many challenges and opportunities that may not be encountered in other Earth science topics. In the cognitive domain, challenges include its inherent complexity and dynamic nature, as well as the prevalence of misconceptions, or faulty mental models, about the climate system (Forest and Feder, 2011).
Some of greatest obstacles to the implementation of sensible policies to address climate change can be traced to a comprehensive campaign to undermine public confidence in mainstream scientific research. Although the types of media employed are new, aspects of this effort echo strategems used in the past to ward off government regulation of various industries.