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from the EDITOR’S desk

The Human Side of Our Dynamic Earth

Science Scope—September/October 2022 (Volume 46, Issue 1)

By Patty McGinnis

The Human Side of Our Dynamic Earth

One only has to consider the number of earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and tornadoes that occur to know that we live on a dynamic Earth. Most students are fascinated with natural hazards such as extreme weather and climate events, as well as with events caused by natural disasters that have an immediate and grave impact on humans and their way of life. Unfortunately, an increasing number and severity of natural disasters has been tied to climate change (U.S. Geological Survey n.d.). While we may not be able to stop natural disasters from occurring, we can educate students about the link between climate change and natural disasters and the necessity of mitigating and adapting to climate change.

As humans, our livelihoods are intricately tied to the environment. Whether suffering from food insecurity or drought or living in an area susceptible to sea level encroachment or increased severity of natural disasters, all humans will be indubitably impacted by climate change. Human response to climate change will require scientists of all backgrounds: plant biologists, geoscientists, climatologists, and others; all are necessary to help humans adapt to a changing world. Your work is crucial to our future, as you can encourage your students to consider a potential career as a scientist or engineer whose work may be of vital importance in the area of climate change mitigation.

For example, an awareness of natural disasters may propel some students to pursue engineering for the purpose of creating resilient infrastructures, which is in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9—global sustainable development (United Nations n.d.). The study of natural disasters also broadens our students’ perspective of other nations and cultures by learning how individuals from different places on Earth respond to such events. Data-rich websites such as NASA’s (n.d.) Eyes on the Earth allow students to view climate-related events in real time and can help span the connection between such events and the lives that are impacted. This understanding reinforces the idea that as global citizens, it is everyone’s responsibility to understand and respond to global climate change.

Patty McGinnis
Editor, Science Scope


NASA. n.d.  Eyes on the Earth. Available at ​​

United Nations. n.d. Do you know all 17 SDGs? Available at

U.S. Geological Survey. (n.d.).  How can climate change affect natural disasters? Available at

Climate Change Earth & Space Science Interdisciplinary Middle School

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