The world is getting hotter, and humans are causing it. There’s now no disputing these facts. The climate change crisis has become even more pronounced as extreme weather events have become more extreme and more common. This summer saw the heat dome in the Pacific Northwest, wildfires in Oregon, California, British Columbia and Greece, exceptional flooding in Germany and China, rising shorelines and more. Recent surveys show attitudes among younger people favor strong actions, such as favoring alternative energy sources, even at the expense of economic growth. However, significant differences exist not just between generations but also political beliefs, race and ethnicity.
Key question: What are your students doing about climate change?
- How is climate change affecting your community?
- Conduct your own survey using questions similar to the Pew Research Center to determine the opinions of people in your school community.
- What are the actions your school is taking to teach about climate change and to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change?
- Interview local elected officials about their stance on proposals to curb climate change.
- Who are the people at your school most engaged on issues of climate change? What are they doing about it?
- What are ways students can take action — small to large?
- A Major Report Warns Climate Change Is Accelerating And Humans Must Cut Emissions Now (NPR, Aug. 9) — “There is still time to avoid catastrophic warming this century, but only if countries around the world stop burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible, the authors warn. The message to world leaders is more dire, and more unequivocal, than ever before.” Read the report from the IPCC.
- Key findings: How Americans’ attitudes about climate change differ by generation, party and other factors (Pew Research Center, May 26) — “It finds that members of Generation Z [born after 1996], as well as Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996), are more open than older Americans to some of the farther-reaching policy proposals related to climate change.”
- On climate change, Republicans are open to some policy approaches, even as they assign the issue low priority (Pew Research Center, July 23) — And there are differences in views within the GOP, with moderates and younger adults generally offering higher levels of support for action to address climate change than conservatives and older adults.”
- What is the EU’s plan to tackle global heating – and will it work? (The Guardian, July 14) — “On Wednesday, the European Commission published a dozen legislative proposals to ensure its climate and energy laws fit the ambition of a 55% cut in emissions by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. From phasing out the internal combustion engine to forest protection, no sector of the EU economy will go untouched.”
- A Battle Between a Great City and a Great Lake (The New York Times, July 7) — “Climate change has started pushing Lake Michigan’s water levels toward uncharted territory as patterns of rain, snowfall and evaporation are transformed by the warming world. The lake’s high-water cycles are threatening to get higher; the lows lower. Already, the swings between the two show signs of happening faster than any time in recorded history.”
- Heat Wave Killed An Estimated 1 Billion Sea Creatures, And Scientists Fear Even Worse (NPR, July 9)
- Pacific Northwest heat wave was ‘virtually impossible’ without climate change, scientists find (The Washington Post, July 7)
- How Bad Is the Bootleg Fire? It’s Generating Its Own Weather. (The New York Times, July 19) — “Unpredictable winds, fire clouds that spawn lightning, and flames that leap over firebreaks are confounding efforts to fight the blaze, which is sweeping through southern Oregon.”
The list reflects what I have read, heard and seen in my own media diet, so it comes from my perspective. Chicago is also over-represented because that’s where I live and work. The list is not meant to be comprehensive or exclusive of other ideas. Many of the stories were covered by multiple outlets, but links here lean toward sites available without a subscription, particularly nonprofit news sites like NPR and The 19th.