In this week’s episode, Tom Vander Ark is speaking with Greg Smith, a former Professor of Teacher Education at Lewis & Clark for 28 years.

Greg’s background with teaching in a Quaker school in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains gave him a powerful sense of place — both in meaning and community. It drew students into mutual responsibility, social justice, peace, and environmental responsibility. He took that spirit into his Ph.D. studies at the University of Wisconsin and then into a teaching career at Portland, Oregon’s Lewis & Clark, where he taught ‘Envisioning a Sustainable Society’ and the ‘Theory and Practice of Environmental and Ecological Education.’

Together, Greg and Tom serve on the Advisory Committee at the Teton Science Schools — a leader in place-based education. At an April meeting, Tom noticed a new sense of urgency about climate change in Greg’s advice. When he inquired, Greg said that he had been part of a climate change study group for several years and that a growing number of books said the situation is far worse than people think. In addition to climate change, Greg has compiled a list of several important books and papers that he reviews with Tom in this podcast:

  1. The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells (2/19) 
  2. Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, Elizabeth Rush (6/18)
  3. The End of Ice, Dahr Jamail (1/19)
  4. Deep Adaptation, a 2018 paper by Jem Bendell (@jembendell)
  5. The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change, Gleb Raygorodetsky
  6. Falter, Bill McKibben
  7. Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, Paul Hawken’s

Listen in as they discuss his background, climate change, and these several important books and papers!

Key Takeaways:
[1:45] Greg speaks about the Quaker school in California that led to his appreciation of the power of place.
[3:32] Greg speaks about his observations over the last two years and his growing concern about climate change.
[6:06] Greg summarizes and gives his thoughts on David Wallace-Wells’ book, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.
[8:54] Tom and Greg discuss Elizabeth Rush’s book, Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore.
[12:25] Greg explains both Dahr Jamail and Jem Bendell’s vision of our future due to climate change.
[16:36] Greg and Tom look at a slightly more helpful vision of climate change: The Archipelago of Hope.
[20:36] Greg gives his thoughts on perhaps the most optimistic book on climate change: Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, by Paul Hawken.
[25:15] As a longtime teacher of ecology, Greg gives his advice to teachers on how they can better educate and inform students about the world they are going to inherit.
[30:18] Greg explains the sentiment — that his crisis should be responded to in love rather than in fear — that he expressed at the recent Advisory Committee meeting at Teton Science Schools.

Mentioned in This Episode:
Greg Smith
Quaker Education
University of Wisconsin
Lewis & Clark
Teton Science Schools
John Woolman School
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, by David Wallace-Wells
New America
New York Magazine
Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, by Elizabeth Rush
Brown University
The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption,by Dahr Jamail
Dahr Jamail on Truthout
Jem Bendell on Deep Adaptation (Video)
“Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating ClimateTragedy,” by Jem Bendell (Paper)
The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change,by Gleb Raygorodetsky
Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?, by Bill McKibben
Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, by Paul Hawken
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World, by Paul Hawken
“100 Solutions to Reverse Global Warming,” TED Talk Video by Chad Frischmann
The City of Portland’s Climate Action Plan

For more, see:


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