Communicating Climate Change

We have witnessed great advances in our understanding of the science of climate change over the past twenty years, but it is only recently that we have seen a shift toward more accessible and accurate public communication of this complex and sometimes overwhelming topic. The responsibility for this dialogue rests upon the shoulders of scientists and journalists. If the current approach to one of the world’s most urgent scientific, public policy, environmental, and public health issues were to change, our new strategy must require more than political will. It will require a huge leap in the American public’s understanding of climate change.

This 1-credit seminar course is centers around three lectures given by external experts, where each person speaks on climate change communication from a different perspective: science, public policy, and social science. Students attend lectures and then meet with their discussion section in the weeks following each talk. Students will be assessed in terms of their participation in online and in-class discussion and by their completion of an integrative term paper that pulls together information across the three lectures to address some aspect of climate change communication from a multidisciplinary perspective.


Course Meeting Times/Dates

1. Movie screening: Everything’s Cool, by Judith Helfand. Saturday, February 19, from 11am – 1pm in Andrews 101 as part of the Global Film Festival.

2. First Lecture: Judith Helfand, filmmaker, Sunday Feb 20, from 11am – 1pm in Andrews 101.

3. Second Lecture: Carole Mandryk, Center for Communicating Climate Change at George Mason University, Thursday February 24, from 7 – 9 pm in Andrews 101.

4. Third Lecture: Thomas Peterson, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Thursday March 3, from 7 – 9 pm in Andrews 101.