Incorporating climate change into education

NORFOLK -- Earth Day is Thursday, but every day is Earth Day in Professor Erin Kucera's biology classes at Northeast Community College. 

She said it is impossible to teach any aspect of the class without talking about how climate change has impacted the planet -- such as water levels, photosynthesis, extinction, etc. 

Kucera said she hopes her legacy is to show the students that human impacts on the Earth are not a simple problem to be solved with recycling more or just getting rid of straws. 

"While that is great [...] It's got to be industrial change," she said.

Kucera continued that the last time the Earth changed so quickly was when the dinosaurs went extinct.

"It takes a major event like an asteroid or volcano to cause such a disruption, but this time it is man-made," she said. 

To show the impacts, Kucera took students to Costa Rica, where they observed caves, water levels, and living situations to realize the impact humans have on the environment. For example, she noted how tourism has disrupted the natural environment there. 

"And the people who grew up there, said they have seen the water rise in their lifetime. They're losing places to live," she said. 

Kucera also pointed to Nebraska's floods as a result of human impact on the environment.