Sunday, June 29, 2008

MCAST-Carbon Stabilization Game

The most complicated environmental education activity I did in Malta for the US Embassy was at the Malta College of Arts, Sciences, and Technology (MCAST). This is a school that is not university, but is more than secondary school--sort of a mix of a technical school and a community college. It has 16- year olds on up. It uses a more "American" style of teaching than the University, so it was very congenial to me.

The teacher in the class, Mario Balzan, was one impressive man, who really got his students ready for this project. Mr. Balzan is completing his Masters at the University of Malta and is doing an interdisciplinary research thesis on the use of dragonflies as indicators of ecosystem health--novel for Malta (I put him in touch with our Michigan Tech School of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences dragonfly expert).

We did a shortened version of the Carbon Stabilization Wedges game created by professors at Princeton. Website: I first encountered the concept when my colleague at Tech, Dr. David Shonnard, suggested we use a scholarly article on it in our team-taugh graduate class, Sustainable Futures I. It generated a lot of talk among our M.Sc. and Ph.D. students. Now the author and his Princeton colleagues have turned the concept into a game. It would be easier for you to go to the website to see what the game is than for me to try to explain it.

The idea is what kinds of changes in transportation, energy etc it would take to cut out large chunks of carbon emissions in order to mitigate climate change. You can't do it all with one technique, you need a mix. Mr. Balzan had each student become a content expert and then we put them into groups who discussed among themselves the best strategies. Then they presented their "wedge" with the mixes of strategies.

We easily could have gone on another hour or two.

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