Stephen Siperstein
High school teacher Stephen Siperstein weaves climate change into his literature and writing classes. Photo: Courtesy of Stephen Siperstein.

Most kids learn about carbon pollution and sea-level rise in an earth or environmental science class. But for students at Choate Rosemary Hall High School in Connecticut, learning about climate change doesn’t stop there.

Siperstein: “I truly think it needs to be integrated across the curriculum.”

That’s Stephen Siperstein, an English teacher who weaves climate change into his literature and writing classes. His students read science fiction novels about a future world changed by global warming and write research papers about climate change today. But even when he’s teaching classic literature, Siperstein finds climate connections.

For example, in The Great Gatsby, there’s a scene in a place called “The Valley of Ashes,” where coal dust used to be dumped. That, he says, is an opportunity to talk about coal mining and how it devastates the landscape.

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Siperstein says that reading, writing, talking, and asking questions about global warming helps students think about it in new and creative ways.

Siperstein: “When students start questioning the way things are, questioning the status quo, then we can start getting at other possibilities for what the future might look like.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Sara Peach

Sara Peach is the Senior Editor of Yale Climate Connections. She is an environmental journalist whose work has appeared in National Geographic, Scientific American, Environmental Health News, Grist, and...