Southeastern Section - 62nd Annual Meeting (20-21 March 2013)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-5:30 PM

IMPROVING CLIMATE CHANGE EDUCATION IN THE CARIBBEAN REGION


GILBES, Fernando, Geology, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, PO Box 9017, Mayaguez, PR 00681, RYAN, Jeff, Department of Geolgy, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 3362, FELDMAN, Allan, College of Education, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., EDU 105, Tampa, FL 33620-5650 and M√úLLER-KARGER, Frank, College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, 140 7th Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, fernando.gilbes@upr.edu

The Center for Hemispherical Cooperation (CoHemis) of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM) is one of the main partners of the Coastal Areas Climate Change Education (CACCE) Partnership. This project seeks to develop new strategies to educating citizens about the effects of global climate change. The specific component of CoHemis involved Puerto Rico and other Caribbean countries in the project’s activities. A local inventory of published material about climate change was conducted to provide a baseline in current knowledge and helped in developing new educational strategies. Three forums (in February 22, April 28, and September 15 of 2011) assembled people from multiple sectors of the society. The first forum focused on analyzing the challenges and opportunities in education and research of climate change and it had the participation of members from the CACCE executive committee. The second forum was part of the Earth Week 2011 at UPRM and discussed the human impact on climate change. The third forum presented the effects of climate change in Puerto Rico coastal areas. A questionnaire was given to over 500 teachers in Puerto Rico to evaluate their (1) understanding of climate change, (2) beliefs about climate change science and (3) climate change teaching practices. A Conference-Workshop on Impacts of Climate Change in the Caribbean Countries was held during February 1-3 of 2012 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. This conference-workshop brought together Caribbean educators, scientists, and government officials interested in the topic to discuss relevant issues of climate change in the Caribbean region. Several lectures of climate change were given at local universities and high schools. Finally, a Multiple Outcome Interdisciplinary Research and Learning (MOIRL) project was developed with students of the Ramey School (in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico). These students learned how to measure beach profiles in order to evaluate coastline variations due to climate change. Overall this educational effort provided important information to improve the general knowledge of climate change in the Caribbean region.