Environmental Justice Educator Talks to Padres
Environmental Justice Educator Talks to Padres

Marty Jordan, a volunteer environmental justice educator, recently inspired Serra seniors in their theology classes.

"I invited Marty to speak with our senior theology students because climate justice is one of the biggest social justice issues today," said theology teacher Chris Buckles. "If global warming is not halted, the first ones harmed will be the poor, homeless and refugees."

Jordan is a passionate speaker. She lived in Alaska for 13 years and witnessed the impact that fossil fuels can have on the environment. She helped clean birds and beaches after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound. Since then, she has been a regular volunteer, educating students and communities about climate change.

In class, Jordan asked Padres a series of multiple-choice questions pertaining to the myths and reality of climate change and global warming. She asked them if they knew the signs of a warming world, when global temperatures started to rise, and what percentage of scientists believe that climate change is caused by humans. The students were surprised to learn that San Mateo is the Bay Area county most susceptible to the damaging effects of sea level rises. However, they correctly guessed that the richest 10 percent of the world's people are responsible for 50 percent of global CO2 emissions.

"I really liked Ms. Jordan's presentation," said senior Reece Nyland, who plans to study mechanical engineering next year in college. "She did a good job raising awareness of the problems facing the world with climate change. She also introduced facts and numbers in a way that made sense and was easy to understand."

Jordan wrapped up her presentation by asking the students for their ideas about what can be done to slow global warming. The Padres had excellent ideas, from developing more sustainable/renewable energy sources to finding alternatives to PG&E to building more electric cars. She concluded by showing a video of 15-year-old Greta Thurnberg from Sweden testifying before the UN Climate Change Congress, asking for action to slow the rise of global warming.

Buckels was thrilled to have Jordan in his classes.

"Pope Francis has also made climate change and care for our 'common home' a central aspect of his papacy, so we are called to do something about it as part of our faith," he said. "As a trained climate reality project leader and a member of the San Mateo County chapter of Citizens' Climate Lobby, Ms. Jordan was able to educate our students about what is happening and, more important, what they can do about it."