Science class students
Duffer: ‘There was a lot of enthusiasm. It was a fun time. Students got into it.’ (Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Duffer)

Global warming can be frightening. For Sarah Duffer of Asheville, North Carolina, that made it hard to teach in her high school science classes.

Duffer: “In the past, it’s been really difficult to get students enthusiastic about climate change, because, I mean, it’s such a bummer.”

Instead of overwhelming students, Duffer wanted to empower them. So she created a curriculum based on the book Drawdown, which ranks effective ways to reduce global warming.

Now Duffer focuses her climate lessons on solutions such as renewable energy and preventing food waste.

For the past two years, she’s also encouraged her students to cut carbon pollution as part of a global competition called Drawdown EcoChallenge. To earn points, they took actions like carpooling or eating local food.

Duffer: “There was a lot of enthusiasm. It was a fun time. Students got into it.”

And their efforts paid off … with a win last year and a top ten finish this year. But perhaps the most lasting outcome is a new attitude about climate change.

Duffer: “To be able to talk about solutions, concrete actions that we can take on a daily basis, that is a very powerful place to be in.”

Reporting credit: Ariel Hansen/ChavoBart Digital Media.