Sarah Duffer shifts student consciousness on climate change

Sarah Duffer and Asheville High School students
CLIMATE CREW: Asheville High School teacher Sarah Duffer, center, used the Drawdown EcoChallenge to energize her students around climate change. Photo courtesy of Duffer

Reading the 2017 book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming was an outlook changer for Asheville High School science teacher Sarah Duffer. From a doomsday “consciousness of being victims to climate change,” she says, she became convinced that “climate change is really an invitation for us to create a more resilient, equitable, sustainable society and economy.”

Duffer saw the need for a similar shift of perspective in her students’ thinking about climate change. “They know that the clock is ticking and that [it’s] really up to their generation,” she says. When she discovered the inaugural Drawdown EcoChallenge, a global competition based on the book, she jumped at the chance to bring proactive solutions into her lesson plan.

Last year saw Duffer lead Asheville High against 765 other teams. The students achieved victory over the Taiwan Sugar Corp. in a leapfrogging race to make the most impact, earning most of their points through their time spent studying solutions to reverse climate change.

For this year’s challenge, April 3-24, Duffer has a different approach in mind. “We don’t need to win again,” she says. Instead, she wants to help other schools start teams and see more local teams put solutions into action. “It’s all about getting more people on board,” she points out.

Duffer says the approach is ideal for people in the area interested in promoting a resilient community because  “Drawdown is about environmental, social and economic sustainability. Solutions are rooted in research and focused on equity.”

Editor’s note: As part of our monthlong celebration of this region’s commitment to sustainable ways of living and working in community, Xpress is highlighting some of those who are making a difference by taking action on a variety of creative and inspiring initiatives.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Able Allen
Able studied political science and history at Warren Wilson College. He enjoys travel, dance, games, theater, blacksmithing and the great outdoors. Follow me @AbleLAllen

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Sarah Duffer shifts student consciousness on climate change

  1. C-Law

    Hmm…Sarah Brown Duffer a registered Democrat since 5/19/1998 when she was 19 years old wastes taxpayer funds indoctrinating local students with globull warmin–aka–since the warming never happened we’ll use the weasel words “climate-change” fantasy…hoping I suppose to create the next generation of “watermelons” (green on the outside, red on the inside). ACS does such a fine job teaching the hard sciences, especially to the black students, no racial achievement gaps to worry about right!? So they have plenty of instructional time that can be wasted, what was it? 34,132 minutes on climate fantasy wanking rather than achieving anything of measurable academic merit. Kudos to the ACS Board, AHS Administrators, and Instructor Duffer!! haha! The government-run monopoly schools/re-education centers are such a joke, what kind of parent stands for this crap!? And school vouchers and the home-school folks are the bad guys!? Hahaha!

    This garbage is what is accepted as proper education in 2019. Living at the end of the Yankee Empire is such an interesting time to be alive and observing it all! ha ha! Front-row seats to the end of Western Civilization and I suppose I feel fine. :)

    The parents and citizens of Asheville have gotten EXACTLY the local government and edu-doctrination bureaucracies that they DESERVE! Wonder who they will hypocritically blame for the failure when the results come to light? However it plays out, I’m sure it will require greater taxpayer monies for funding!

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.