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home · events · colloquia · 2006-2007 · 

Colloquium - McCaffrey

DLC 170

Climate Literacy, Google Earth and the International Polar Year
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
Mark McCaffrey photo

Current research indicates widespread confusion even among those who consider themselves to be "scientifically literate" about fundamental dynamics of the climate system. Current climate and energy initiatives, including the Live Earth Concerts, the National Public Radio series "Climate Connections," and the current International Polar Year offer important opportunities to increase public understanding of how climate impacts people and how people impact climate. From both research and marketing perspectives, these opportunities require addressing key questions:

  • Is it important for citizens to understand the basics of the climate system, particularly polar science and related global linkages?

  • Can the current International Polar Year serve to demystify how science in general and climate research in particular is conducted, and if so, will a methodical approach to capturing the stories of how data are collected and analyzed be useful?

  • Will visualization tools such as Google Earth help in promoting increased understanding of the Earth system, especially polar realms?

  • What challenges and opportunities do science educators and communicators face in their efforts to foster a more climate literacy society?

  • How can Web 2.0 and Internet2 tools and research be tapped to build sustainable and resilient communities?

Associate scientist Mark McCaffrey at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado, Boulder, a member of the IPY Education, Outreach, and Communications Subcommittee and participant in The Climate Project, will present an overview of the current International Polar Year, discuss how tools such as Google Earth are being used to communicate and coordinate IPY research, and provide an update of current efforts by educators and agencies and to promote climate literacy.

Mr. McCaffrey co-founded the Boulder Creek Watershed Initiative, helped establish the Boulder Area Sustainability Information Network and worked with the NOAA Paleoclimatology Program as an education and outreach specialist where he co-developed the Climate TimeLine information tool. In addition, he was the lead author of the NOAA "Abrupt Climate Change Paleo Perspective" and led the development of the "Climate Change Collection," a digital library collection of reviewed and annotated resources about natural climate variability and human-induced climate change. He has coordinated the "Poles Together" and "Integrated Collaborative Education" (ICE) workshops to plan International Polar Year (IPY) education and outreach efforts, and is currently involved with establishing a Coalition for Climate Literacy and developing a framework for climate literacy building on the AAAS Project 2061 Science Benchmarks. Mr. McCaffrey holds a bachelor of arts in Southwest studies from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and a master's degree in educational leadership from the University of Northern Colorado.

Sponsored by the Center for Lifelong Learning & Design.

The Department holds colloquia throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. These colloquia, open to the public, are typically held on Thursday afternoons, but sometimes occur at other times as well. If you would like to receive email notification of upcoming colloquia, subscribe to our Colloquia Mailing List. If you would like to schedule a colloquium, see Colloquium Scheduling.

Sign language interpreters are available upon request. Please contact Stephanie Morris at least five days prior to the colloquium.

See also:
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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