Climate Change

How well do public schools teach climate change? A new book aims to educate the educators who are doing the work of teaching climate change to students in Kindergarten and beyond. The authors have some serious criticisms of what is, and is not, being taught in most schools. They also examine the inconsistencies and the cultural forces involved in teaching climate change. They’re part of an event focusing on public education in climate change adaptation.

In studio:

  • Joseph Henderson, lecturer in the environment and society department at Paul Smith’s College, and co-editor of "Teaching Climate Change in the United States"
  • Don Duggan-Haas, director of teacher programs at PRI's Museum of the Earth, and president of the NAGT
  • Celia Darling, senior at Webster Thomas High School, and director of finance for the New York Youth Climate Leaders
  • Anna Cerosaletti, sophomore at Penfield High School, and Rochester youth director for the New York Youth Climate Leaders


Youth climate activists from Rochester and other communities across New York are calling on managers of the state’s two major retirement funds to pull their investments out of fossil fuel company stocks.

“The fact that New York state continues to have money invested in this industry is appalling and immoral,” said Hridesh Singh, a Brighton High School student and executive director of New York Youth Climate Leaders, a statewide group.

NPR recently reported that clinical anxiety affects a small, but growing number of children and teens. One source of anxiety is climate change.

This hour, we sit down with a pediatrician and a clinical psychiatrist to discuss how to have conversations about climate change with young people. We also hear from a local parent and climate change activist who shares her techniques and experience with this issue. In studio:

  • Dr. Michael Scharf, M.D., associate professor of clinical psychiatry and chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Dr. Sandra Jee, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and general pediatrician at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Golisano Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. Annalyn Gibson, M.D., child and adolescent psychiatry fellow
  • Sue Hughes-Smith, parent, and member of the leadership team for the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition

At midnight on Monday, Wegmans enacted its ban on most single-use plastic bags. That means customers can now use reusable bags or pay five cents for each paper bag. Community members are reacting to the change, with some complaining about what they call an inconvenience and added expense, while others are lauding the company for going more green. The move comes in advance of a state ban on plastic bags that begins March 1.

This hour, we discuss the impact of the change on customers and the environment, if and how other entities will follow suit, and how to have effective conversations about sustainability and recycling. Our guests:

Dawn Schlaks

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his first priority in his New York state budget announcement on Tuesday: climate action.

The $33 billion plan includes comprehensive nature conservation, a more significant transition to renewable energy, and a major shift to carbon-free transportation.

“We start with the most aggressive climate change program in the country,” Cuomo said in his address. “Because my friends, the clock is ticking and it's ticking faster and faster."

As 2019 draws to a close, we sit down with local climate activists to discuss the year in climate.

How would they “grade” climate action in 2019? We discuss progress or lack of progress made in different fields, the impact certain changes will have on our long-term climate future, and what types of action we’ll need to see in 2020 to create sustainable change. In studio:

On Friday, students around the world will once against walk out of class to go on strike for climate action. Locally, a growing group of students is organizing in a new way. The group is launching a coalition of youth climate activist groups based in New York State; it will be called the New York Youth Climate Leaders or NY2CL for short. 

We discuss the goals and agenda of this new coalition. Our guests:

  • Hridesh Singh, Liam Smith, and Celia Darling from NY2CL

With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, we discuss how to have productive conversations with family members about climate change and climate action. Data shows the proportion of Americans that have initiated conversations about the subject is significantly lower than the share of people who report being concerned about climate change.

What’s the best way to approach the topic, especially among people who may be skeptics or express ambivalence? Our guests discuss it: 

The CEO of a local green energy company says he’s discouraged that the discussion surrounding climate change and climate action have become about politics and morality. Kevin Schulte is the CEO of GreenSpark Solar, a residential and commercial solar energy company based in Rochester. In a recent op-ed, Schulte argues that the divisive discourse “is a bigger threat to our society than the climate crisis. To truly slow the earth from baking, we need every person to engage.”

Schulte joins us to discuss his ideas for generating productive, inclusive conversations about climate change. We also hear from local climate activists. In studio:

Astrophysicist Adam Frank recently wrote a piece for the Washington Post that addressed narratives about climate change. In the piece, titled, “Reframing climate change as a story of human evolutionary success,” Frank writes that this new narrative does not let humans off the hook when it comes to their role in causing climate change.

In that spirit, we sit down with Frank to discuss recent climate change narratives from Hollywood – films like “Ad Astra” and television shows like “The Expanse.” He helps us break them down. In studio:

  • Adam Frank, author and professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester

During this conversation, Adam Frank discussed the books "American War," by Omar El Akkad, and "The Water Knife" by Paolo Bacigalup.