A novel pedagogical approach to teaching climate change and ethics’

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Kahl, Alandra
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University College Cork
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Climate change is not only a political, economic, and social crisis, it presents one of the great moral problems of our time. This paper describes an introductory course that describes the science, policy, and ethics of climate change. This course uses the novel pedagogical approach of integrative studies to provide students the tools to understand the basic science of climate change and its ethical implications. Students will come away with a better sense of the moral dimensions of this phenomenon and the implications for human civilization and for the biosphere. Integrative studies courses are co-listed in two education domains, which serve to give students a broader perspective than a single domain course. This course is co-listed in the domains of general sciences and humanities. As a general sciences course, students must be able to explain the methods of inquiry in the various climate science fields; demonstrate informed understandings of scientific claims and their applications; and evaluate the quality of the data, methods, and inferences used to generate scientific knowledge about climate change. Students will demonstrate their mastery of these concepts through participation in class discussion, acceptable achievement on quizzes and homework and on the first unit exam. As a general humanities course, students must be able to explain the methods of inquiry in ethics, demonstrate competence in critical thinking about topics such as human interaction with nature and the value of human and ecological flourishing, and critically evaluate class texts, especially their ethical dimensions. Students will demonstrate their ability to incorporate the knowledge of climate science into an ethical analysis through homework assignments and through conducting and reporting on an ethics conversation. Integrative learning objectives will be emphasized throughout the class, but a final climate negotiation project will allow students to apply their knowledge of climate science and ethics to a specific country context. Together, teams of students will engage in a mock climate negotiation in the final week of class.
Engineering education , Sustainability , Climate change , Ethics , Integrative studies
Kahl, A. (2021) ‘A novel pedagogical approach to teaching climate change and ethics’, EESD2021: Proceedings of the 10th Engineering Education for Sustainable Development Conference, 'Building Flourishing Communities', University College Cork, Ireland, 14-16 June.