John Kotter’s Eight Steps of Change Work in Education AND Climate Change

Can the climate change fight be won? And if so, what climate leadership steps must we take to grow an army of supporters willing to take action? To access necessary resources and create a strategic plan that offers hope and solutions to a complex problem? To change things for the better? It is not easy, but there are proven models for change. My favorite is Dr. John Kotter’s Eight Steps of Change. I’ve successfully used Kotter’s model in implementing educational change, and it certainly can work for fighting climate change.

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Step 1: Increase Urgency. People have to feel the urgency, and, in the case of climate change, dread the outcomes if things stay status quo. Are people worried about climate change and willing to take action, or are they too complacent or frightened to act? How do we increase urgency without overwhelming people?

Step 2: Build the Guiding Team. Change requires teamwork. Do you have a team to work with? 350.org? Sierra Club? Climate Reality Project? A local support network? The notion of Spiderman or Superwoman saving the world is a fairy tale. Fighting climate change and the fossil fuel industry requires teamwork, sweat, grit and hard work.

Step 3: Get the Vision Right. Sustained efforts require a destination. A benchmark, capstone, endpoint, something understood by all. What is the vision for fighting climate change? A 2-degree Celsius warmer world? 1.5-degree Celsius? We need to know where we want to be so we know when we’ve gotten there. Stephen Covey captures this concept beautifully in Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind.

Step 4: Communicate for Buy-In. Clear, concise, heart-felt communications are essential. Confusion is the enemy. The fossil fuel industry and climate deniers know this all too well–which is why they sow seeds of doubt in various media. We must be impeccable and impassioned with our words if we hope to have others join us to fight climate change.

Step 5: Empower Action. Obstacles interrupt change through distraction, disorientation, and frustration. Leadership requires being aware of potential barriers and planning accordingly. We cannot afford to lose team members or momentum due to poor logistical planning.

Step 6: Create Short-Term Wins. There’s nothing like success to motivate and uplift. Climate change leaders look for the “low-hanging fruit” and celebrate all successes in the march towards climate restoration. Celebration is essential to sustaining the change effort.

Step 7: Don’t Let Up. Fatigue, frustration, fear, or losing the sense of urgency are hazards in any major change effort. Great leaders know this and fight doubly hard when things get difficult. I used to tell my cross-country ski team that races are won on the uphills and in the last kilometer. The same rule applies for major change efforts.

Step 8: Make Change Stick. When we inevitably win this climate change battle (and we will win), we need to be certain our efforts “stick.” Policies, protocols, culture, habits . . . all need to be put in place that ensure we never, ever place Earth in a tenuous position again.

Fighting climate change will require a global commitment led by millions of leaders at the international, national, state, regional, and local levels. Climate leaders who understand and use effective change models can ease the struggle.

5-Minute Climate Change Mitigation Action Item for the Week:

Winter is approaching and with the falling leaves come falling temperatures. This year, reduce your fuel consumption and carbon footprint by lowering your nighttime temperature to 58 degrees Fahrenheit and daytime temps to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. 58 degrees Fahrenheit sounds chilly, but trust me, a few extra blankets makes all the difference. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning your thermostat down 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours will save 10-15% on your heating bills.

The Powerful Message of Teacher Leadership: “Help Me, Help You”

The Powerful Message of Teacher Leadership: “Help Me, Help You”.

In the spirit of teacher leadership.  Now’s the time.

Upcoming Climate Reality Sessions This Week

Hi Folks,

Please join me to learn about our changing climate and what we can do to help future generations and planet Earth cope with these changes.  Climate Reality Sessions last 60-75 minutes max.  On Tuesday, I’m at the Adirondack Folk School at 6:30PM. Thursday at Up Yonda Farm in Bolton Landing at 1:00PM, and Saturday at the ADK Loj in Lake Placid at 8:00PM.  See below for more details.

Peace,

Stephen

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The ocean is swallowing up Virginia so rapidly that its leaders are forgetting to bicker about climate change

www.ClimateGaGa.org:

For those who dislike government meddling in people’s affairs, doing nothing about climate change will only lead to more interventions. Let’s get the right people in office and address this growing problem.

Originally posted on Quartz:

The usual US partisan divisions over climate change were absent today in the state of Virginia, where Republican and Democratic officials met to discuss what to do about the threat of rising sea levels to the state. The proposals include the launch of a climate-change task force, which Virginia’s Democratic governor will announce tomorrow. Christina DeConcini, government affairs director at the World Resources Institute, a research organization, told Quartz this is the first time to her knowledge that Republican leaders (very few of whom accept global warming is both real and man-made) and Democratic ones have come together to craft a policy on global warming.

That’s probably because Virginia is more vulnerable to storm-surge destruction than anywhere else on the US’s east coast. Problems are particularly acute in Norfolk, Virginia’s second-biggest city and home to the world’s largest naval base; sea levels there are now 14.5 inches (37 cm) higher than they were in 1930—so high that parts of Norfolk flood when…

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The Capacities of Children Are Beyond Our Comprehension

Well, yesterday I heard on NPR about preschoolers solving gadget problems faster than college students. Really. Check it out.  And this morning my friend and colleague shared a charming example of kindergarten statistics and flow chart diagrams. Ah, the malleable and amazing child’s brain. I guess we should never underestimate what our young children can handle–be it abstract thinking of sigma six or common core state standards.  Peace.

Climate change is the next market crash, says former Treasury secretary

Originally posted on Grist:

It’s not every day that a Republican finance guy — one who remembers George W. Bush as a “terrific boss” — writes an op-ed in The New York Times imploring the nation to set up a carbon tax. Not this year, anyway; just a few years ago, it might’ve been ho-hum.

Once, the carbon tax was the conservative, free-market solution to the climate problem, as opposed to the big-government, heavy-handed-regulation solution. Now that so many Republicans don’t accept that there is any climate problem at all, the whole idea just looks like another evil tax to them. And when a former Treasury secretary under the GOP flag steps forward to advocate it — to insist that we have no choice, we’re crazy not to act fast and act big — it’s news.

In June of 2006, Henry Paulson left a position as CEO of Goldman Sachs to become secretary of…

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Cultivating Teacher Leadership Through P-12 and Higher Education Partnerships

Partnerships matter. Partnerships empower people and organizations to do good work. They build trust and camaraderie, and expand opportunities for all participants. Partnerships are critically important to the success of any institute, particularly in an era of rapid change and scarce resources. For the past two years, SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury has partnered with neighboring school districts to promote teacher leadership. Over three hundred teachers, school leaders, and district administrators from Fort Ann Central School District, Cambridge Central School District, and Warrensburg Central School District have partnered with SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury to the benefit of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and higher ed faculty and staff.  See the following link and feel free to contact Stephen Danna with questions or for more information about how we’re working with school districts to grow teacher leadership in our schools.