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Global WarmingWhy Care in regards to the Polar Regions? These Polar Climate Ambassadors...

Why Care in regards to the Polar Regions? These Polar Climate Ambassadors Will Tell You!

Why Care in regards to the Polar Regions? These Polar Climate Ambassadors Will Tell You!

Polar Climate Ambassadors

Our inaugural group of Polar Climate Ambassadors: Siya, Arnav, Alina, Janice, Ben and Bella.

Why Polar Climate Ambassadors? by Janice Yohannan, 2023 graduate of Nyack High School

Although climate change is becoming more widely discussed, on the subject of the polar regions, many individuals’s knowledge ends at polar bears. The polar regions are a critical aspect of the climate crisis, but polar science just isn’t all the time accessible, especially to young students. The newly formed “Polar Climate Ambassadors” seeks to assist close this gap in public knowledge.  Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory’s “Polar Climate Ambassadors” summer program launched for the primary time in July 2023, and is an exciting opportunity for prime school students who’re enthusiastic about climate change to advocate and broaden public understanding of the polar regions. Funded by the GRate and GreenDrill science projects, six students immersed themselves in constructing polar literacy, and developing a deeper understanding of climate systems, profession pathways, and science communication. The Polar Climate Ambassadors’ mission is to uplift how crucial the polar regions are to maintaining the balance of varied Earth systems, in addition to helping our communities understand the implications of the Arctic and Antarctic’s rapidly changing environments.

From conducting interviews, developing learning games, creating materials focused on visualizing data, and designing infographics and PSAs (Public Service Announcements), students learned ways to effectively communicate climate science, with an emphasis on encouraging their community members and peers to take motion. They were concurrently exposed to the growing polar academic field, and the presence and importance of the indigenous communities within the Arctic. Each student walked away with a profound excitement to fight climate change of their lives outside this system and greater awareness of the sweetness and importance of the poles. Over several posts our students will share a few of their products, and discuss their very own takeaways from their experience on this program. 

Youth Sue the State of Montana Over Climate Change, Our Meeting with Rikki Held! by Siya Balapal, student at Nanuet Senior High School

After 4 years passed because the initial reason behind motion was filed for the case Held v. Montana, history just unfolded in court! Essentially, 16 plaintiffs succeeded in suing their state, Montana, over failures related to climate change. Montana officials were proven to worsen climate conditions in Montana, due to this fact depriving the youth of their right to a clean and healthy environment. Not only was this a significant turning point for climate litigation, but in addition for youth empowerment in government, something emphasized by these scientists on this  clip below that our team compiled! 

On the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, our Polar Climate Ambassadors group got the amazing opportunity and privilege to fulfill with Rikki Held this summer who was here for just a few days working on some science research. Rikki’s last name labels the case as, on the age of 18, she was the one plaintiff who was a legal adult when the filing occurred. A fifth generation Montanan, Rikki grew up on her family farm and watched first-hand the impacts of climate change on their land. When air quality in her state continued being exceptionally low in comparison with the remaining of the country, and harmful pollutants from nearby coal fire power plants were a relentless presence within the air, she decided to assist take a stand. Her decision moved her right into a leadership role within the case, and he or she was called upon to supply evidence in court of how fossil fuel emissions took away the basic right of a clean and healthy environment. 

Rikki may be very committed, with a strength and sense of perseverance, but one thing that stood out to us was her ability to step forward to battle the state of Montana but then to step back and pursue other passions at the same time as the case continued to progress. She soon will leave for a recent opportunity with the Peace Corps, and it’s incredibly helpful to see her proceed along with her life and move onto other things while the case, still a crucial passion of hers, continues. Note that it was soon after meeting her, that there was a ruling on the case in favor of the youth! 

The case serves as a pioneer in environmental litigation that may very likely function a backbone to future cases as climate change becomes increasingly encapsulating. Rikki also mentioned how the choice of this case may affect the choices of upcoming cases corresponding to those in Hawaii and other states. As such cases arise, I’ve change into more hopeful in regards to the status of our planet. It’s necessary to recollect how necessary government motion may be, and the way youth and adults alike can have power over the direction of our laws. But what are you able to specifically do?

Talking to Scientist: Raising Awareness on Vital Topics in Polar Science by Alina Mundankel, student at Clarkstown High School South 

Polar science is an ever growing field that plays a significant role in predicting the long run impacts of climate change on a world scale. Researchers on this field endure quite a few obstacles to assemble information on the movement of ice sheets, polar ecology, sea level rise, and other topics that advance our understanding of the complex processes that make up our planet. Because the poles proceed to undergo rapid transformations because of rising temperatures, understanding the broader implications of environmental shifts and the impact these regions have on people is step one towards change. 

The Polar Climate Ambassadors Program this summer dedicated a portion of their time to conducting interviews of multiple scientists on the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. We interviewed researchers from projects that included GreenDrillGRate, Greenland Lakes, Greenland Rising and just a few summer polar REU (Research Experience for Undergraduate) students. Through these interviews, we were in a position to get firsthand accounts of exciting fieldwork experiences, difficult and rewarding moments throughout the scientists’ careers, advice for college kids concerned about polar science, and way more. We broke up our interviews into individual “Scientist Highlight” videos and short compilation videos on topics that we found necessary to handle (like ‘what are you able to do to fight climate change’ above).

One ‘Scientist Highlight’ interview was with Nicolás Young,  a scientist who is an element of each the GreenDrill and the GRate Projects. He explained that each deal with fieldwork & modeling to explore the history of the Greenland Ice Sheet, yet at different time scales. We learned in several interviews that polar scientists require sufficient preparation and the flexibility to adapt in various environments so as to retrieve samples and successfully conduct fieldwork. Nicolás noted that “while you work within the Arctic nothing ever goes how you think that it’ll go”! We were also concerned about the scientists every day work routine when doing research on the poles. Known for his or her extreme temperatures and lack of precipitation, Nicolás noted that ‘You’re almost guaranteed to drop some pounds, since the body burns so many calories attempting to keep itself warm!’  

Our scientist compilation video, “Advice for Future Scientists” (above) presents a wide range of profession pathways into polar science as shared through our interviews. Your interest for a subject can root from any experience you enjoyed: an internship, highschool class, research, etc. It’s necessary to decide on your profession with an open mind and, most significantly, to ‘follow your heart’! 

Our time with the scientists helped make clear issues regarding the poles. One common message the scientists had was that the polar regions are changing at fast rates like never before. The Arctic has warmed nearly 4 times faster than the remaining of the world over the past 43 years. Although we will not be heavily impacted by these changes now, it should affect our youngsters and grandchildren in years to return. Considered one of our goals this summer was to seek out ways to amplify this message to our local communities and education systems. The scientist interview videos could be used as an academic product to spread awareness on topics in polar science and educate people on how they may help mitigate the impacts of climate change. Whether it’s through small individual changes like consuming less or making a more sustainable food regimen, or by more impactful ways like voting, each person can do their part to slow the speed of worldwide warming and climate change. My participation on this program allowed me to not only further my knowledge of polar science and meet quite a few scientists in the sector, but in addition to create awareness on climate change and get others involved!

Polar Climate Ambassadors” is a recent youth focused polar climate education initiative led by Margie Turrin, and funded by the GRate and GreenDrill science research projects. For those who are concerned about learning more about this project, please contact Margie.


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