Phil Kendon explains why he chose to apply for a New Zealand Science, Mathematics and Technology Teacher Fellowship and how it enabled him to further his professional development as a science and chemistry teacher. Find out more about the climate change research that he was involved in whilst working at NIWA.
Phil Kendon: The New Zealand Science, Maths and Technology Teacher Fellowship is an opportunity for primary or secondary teachers to spend a year upgrading skills and understandings in an area of interest to us. My teacher fellowship is all about greenhouse gases and climate change.
The reason for my applying for this fellowship was to discover exactly how scientists monitor the atmosphere and how the greenhouse gases within the air are detected, collected and measured, and what the scientists then do with the data … to find out ways how we can include that in our teaching in schools.
Scientists know things have been changing in the atmosphere quite significantly. Since about 1990 scientists have suspected that human activities - particularly emissions from fossil fuels, burning coal in power stations, emissions from cars - have actually been starting to affect the entire climate of the planet. I was well aware that NIWA have a world class team here that are able to measure some of those gases, and to put some of the proof into the debate about the fact that, yes, greenhouse gases are causing climate to change. I think that, to me, is a very serious issue for the future.
The young people of today are the adults of tomorrow and will be, I suppose, mainly responsible for the emissions in the future. And obviously if we can educate young people now about perhaps how we can reduce some of the emissions and just how serious the climate changes might be in 50-100 years time, then perhaps that will enable them to realise that it is important to take some action at this point.