Bringing Global Adventure to the Classroom

February 13, 2015
Atacama Desert in Chile: Meybol Garcia sharing her thoughts on the importance of the land.

University of Minnesota researcher Aaron Doering has traveled to the frigid reaches of northern Norway to visit nearly deserted fishing towns. He's also been to the bright, hot deserts of water-starved Burkina Faso. The locations are vastly different, but residents say the same thing: the changing climate is transforming their lives.

For more than a decade, Doering has traveled around the world to share stories about the environment. Soon, he and his team will wrap up their most ambitious project yet: Earthducation, a four-year odyssey in which they traveled to "climate hotspots" on all seven continents to learn about the impact of global warming on an individual scale—and share those results with children and adults alike.

To date, millions of people—including students in more than 5,000 classrooms, all 50 states, and six continents—have tuned in to watch Doering and his team travel the world.

Chris Ripken, a teacher at Centennial High School in Circle Pines, Minnesota, says the 9th-graders in his human geography course have responded so positively to Earthducation that he's used the program's lessons every year since it began.

Doering says the trips were both fascinating and exhausting, but he's not done yet. Later in 2015, he'll begin another adventure around the globe.

These explorations are invaluable, he says. "They're giving us insight into how the world is—and will be—changing."

(Photo courtesy of LT Media Lab).