[11/26/2019] Changing Perceptions of Climate Change

Change is abound as individuals, businesses, and governments take steps to address concerns around climate change. Recently, Coldplay announced that it will not tour due to concerns about how their shows contribute to carbon emissions and adversely impact the planet. The Italian government, after record breaking flooding in Venice, announced that climate change education will be compulsory in grade schools. There are many parties working hard to change perceptions about the issues concerning the planet and, ultimately, motivate action to promote sustainability. These recent efforts beckon questions about who has the responsibility to do what. This week, the lecture explores recent events and findings that provide insight into how climate change is understood, as well as perhaps how it should be understood, and how these understandings can be calculated into our daily decisions.

by Eunju Namkung and Scott Talan

Instructors, click on the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Changing Perceptions of Climate Change



The Daily Show: Greta Thunberg – Inspiring Others to Take a Stand Against Climate Change


Bloomberg TicToc: The Gretta Effect: Coldplay Won’t Tour New Album Over Climate Change


CBC News: 11,000 scientists sign declaration of climate emergency


Big Think: Climate denial isn’t stopping climate action. Here’s what is. | David Wallace-Wells





  • Writing: How does recent news about how different private and public players take steps to address climate change affect how you make decisions in your personal life (e.g. travel, consumer goods, food)? Please elaborate on why.
  • Debate: How should American media frame climate change? What responsibilities does it have in covering news about environmental impact?
  • Poll: Where do you consume information about issues concerning the environment? (Select as many as applicable.)
    • Main news outlets
    • Activist blogs and newsletters
    • Social media
    • Friends
    • Other
  • Short Answer: Should education on climate change be required in American schools?


Current Events Quiz

  1. According to a 2019 study exploring how media across 45 countries frame climate change, international relations was the most common frame; the economic impact frame was second. However, in countries with a high GDP per capita, the ___ frame was the most common.

a. natural impact/international relations

b. social progress/natural impact

c. domestic politics/regulatory process

d. international relations/scientific evidence


  1. In the Washington Post article, “The Troubling Ethics of Fashion in the Age of Climate Change,” the author refers to “youthful consumers who came of age in the era of Instagram and who consider clothing old after only a couple of wearings,” and says these people are also:

a. among the most likely to ignore news about poor environmental conditions at manufacturing plants

b. the biggest consumer of anti-climate social media content

c. the biggest buyers of plastics

d. among the most attuned to environmental and social issues


  1. According to the “State of Fashion 2019” report by McKinsey & Co. and the trade publication The Business of Fashion, the average consumer buys __ percent more clothing today than 15 years ago.

a. 3

b. 20

c. 60

d. 120


  1. The primary reason why a Maryland conservation group is using VR technology to show images of potential flooding to community members is:

a. to frighten them and shame them for their current habits

b. to help visualize the impacts of climate change and the solutions in order to start a conversation

c. to help identify how the flooding will not disrupt their lives

d. to use the opportunity to play recommendations over the audio capability which has a stronger impact on a person’s subconscious than directly telling them the same recommendation


  1. In the Bloomberg TicToc video, “The Gretta Effect: Coldplay Won’t Tour New Album Over Climate Change,” the speaker cites the International Civil Aviation Organization which predicted that emissions from flights would be __ percent more in 2020 than in 2005.

a. 10

b. 33

c. 70

d. 92



Featured Image Credit: Leonhard Lenz

Leave a Reply