People tell stories to make sense of the world. There are many stories we tell one another about climate change. Some stories are frightening, disheartening, and even deeply misleading. Others are encouraging, empowering, and hopeful.
I encourage you to understand the power of climate stories, to reject shame and despair, and to embrace narratives that help you make your world better.
Upon completion of this module you should be able to:
- Critique some common climate change narratives that perpetuate the problem and postpone solutions;
- Consider your own climate change stories with intention and integrity;
- Empower others to embrace their agency to build a better world!
Readings about Climate Narratives
- Module 15: Stories We Tell About Climate Change [PDF]
- ETHICS. [Schmittner OER Chapter 10]
- Vox: David Roberts (2019). The Case for Conditional Optimism on Climate Change
Slide Deck / Lecture
- What is meant by “runaway climate feedback?” Is there evidence that Earth’s climate is running away and that nothing we do can stop global warming?
- Where does the idea come from that “we have only 10 years left” to stop global warming? Is there a grain of truth in it? Critique this statement in your own words.
- According to comprehensive Earth system models, what will happen to atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures when greenhouse gas emissions stop?
- Critique the position that nothing can be done about global warming until we abandon the idea of economic growth.
- About how much do economists estimate it will cost to decarbonize the global economy? Compare and contrast these costs to other large-scale components of modern life like information technology, fuel, transportation, and roads.
- Explain the concept of the “Perfect Moral Storm” of climate change as described by the philosopher Stephen Gardiner. What are the three components he lists as “storms.”
- Describe the concepts of urgency and agency with respect to climate change as argued by Michael Mann.
- What can individuals do to accelerate solutions to the climate problem?
- How do you feel about the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change and its solutions in your own life?