December 9, 2009

The Critical Role of Climate Literacy in addressing Climate Change

Frank Niepold, NOAA Climate Program Office

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Aaron Pope
Manager of Sustainability Programs, California Academy of Sciences
phone: (415)379-5113

Biodiversity, global warming and clean water were common topics around the dinner table during Aaron Pope's childhood in Berkeley, and instilled in him a lifelong commitment to the natural world. While a student at UC Santa Barbara he helped found the student-run Environmental Affairs Board, and held several conservation internships, finally graduating with an Environmental Studies degree. After leaving Santa Barbara, he worked for a number environmental NGO's, including the League of Conservation Voters in Washington DC. Aaron relocated back to the Bay area in 2001 and took a project manager position with an educational software developer. His experience eventually led him to the California Academy of Sciences in September, 2007. He now manages the organization's sustainability initiative and helps develops content for several of the museum's exhibits. He is especially interested in climate change education, and helping the museum empower and inspire visitors to protect the environment.


Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D.
Director, Yale Project on Climate Change
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Yale University
(203) 432-4865

Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D. is Director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives and the Yale Project on Climate Change at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is also a principal investigator at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University. He is an expert on American and international public opinion on global warming, including public perception of climate change risks, support and opposition for climate policies, and willingness to make individual behavioral change. His research investigates the psychological, cultural, political, and geographic factors that drive public environmental perception and behavior. He has conducted survey, experimental, and field research at scales ranging from the global to the local, including international studies, the United States, individual states (Alaska and Florida), municipalities (New York City), and with the Inupiaq Eskimo of Northwest Alaska. He also recently conducted the first empirical assessment of worldwide public values, attitudes, and behaviors regarding global sustainability, including environmental protection, economic growth, and human development. He has served as a consultant to the John F. Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University), the United Nations Development Program, the Gallup World Poll, the Global Roundtable on Climate Change at the Earth Institute (Columbia University), and the World Economic Forum.


Tamara Shapiro Ledley, PhD
Senior Scientist, TERC
Cambridge, MA 02140
phone: 617-873-9658

Tamara Shapiro Ledley is a senior scientist and Interim Director of the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at TERC in Cambridge Massachusetts.  She received her PhD from MIT in meteorology 1983. Dr. Ledley conducted a research program in Earth system science with an emphasis on the polar regions at Rice University for 15 years, and has authored over 30 scientific papers. The focus of her research was to understand the role of sea ice and continental ice sheets in shaping global climate.

Dr. Ledley began her work in science education while at Rice University. She was editor and lead author of the 2003 Earth as a System Investigation in the GLOBE Teachers Guide.  She has also served as vice-president and as chair of the Standing Committee for Education of the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP Federation), an organization of over 100 scientific organizations with the mission to get Earth science data and knowledge used beyond the scientific community.

Dr. Ledley has been involved in a spectrum of projects that focus on the facilitation of the use of Earth science data in educational contexts. Dr. Ledley led the development of the Earth Exploration Toolbook (EET,, which is an online resource, comprised of chapters, each of which provides step-by-step instructions for the use of an Earth science dataset and data analysis tool by teachers. She also led the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) Data Services and AccessData projects ( which focused on bridging the communication gap scientific and educational communities.

Dr. Ledley is a founding member and chair of the Climate Literacy Network ( which is focused on improving climate literacy in society. This work has led to new projects which she is leading including the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) Pathway project funded by NSF-National Science Digital Library; the Earth System Science: A Key to Climate Literacy project, funded by NASA's Global Climate Change Education program and the Facilitating a Deeper Student Understanding of Change in the Earth System on Multiple Time Scales, project funded by NSF's Geoscience Education and the Discovery Research K-12 programs.