Framing Climate Change

Published: 11.14.2018
Level 5   |   Time: 2:52
Accent: American
VOX (12.12.2015)

A report on what people get wrong about climate change.


triangle Directions

  1. REVIEW the vocabulary.
  2. WATCH the video.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers. (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary

  • at stake [n] - at risk
  • an activist [n] - a person who works for a cause
  • a cause [n] - a purpose, a reason
  • immense [adj] - huge
  • mass [adj] - large amount
  • extinctions [n] - one species dying completely
  • primates [n] - monkeys, apes, humans
  • persisted [v] - kept trying
  • a continent [n] - [image]
  • innovation [n] - creativity, invention
  • foraging [v] - searching for food
  • agriculture [n] - growing food
  • settle into [phv] - become comfortable
  • stability [n] - not changing much
  • a ledge [n] - a platform
  • reliable [adj] - can depend on
  • accumulated [v] - gathered
  • inventors [n] - people who make things
  • unleash [v] - let something act freely
  • unimaginable [adj] - can't even imagine it
  • mobility [n] - ability to move
  • compacted [v] - squeezed together
  • disrupt [v] - bother
  • birthed (something) [exp] - created (something)
  • infrastructure [n] - systems of living
  • varied [v] - changed
  • capacity [n] - possible amount
  • quadrupled [v] - 4
  • suffering [v] - feeling pain or unpleasantness
  • vulnerability [n] - being in a weak position
  • a coal deposit [n] - [image]
  • unearth [v] - uncover
  • carbon [n] - [image]
  • change course [exp] - change direction

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb,  [phv] - phrasal verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression

triangle Questions

  1. What is one of the biggest mistakes people make about climate change?
    Saying it's not affecting the planet
    Saying it's related to eating steak
    Saying the planet might be destroyed
    Saying humanity might be destroyed

  2. How many times has the Earth gone through such a big change?.
    Many times

  3. Which species came first?
    Walking mammals

  4. Which things happened 12,000 years ago?
    Humans began to change things in a big way.
    Humans stopped collecting food.
    Humans started producing food.
    Humans built civilizations.

  5. Why did the development of farming take so much time?
    Global temperatures are special.
    The climate was not stable before.
    Humans needed more reliable seasons for farming.
    Humans needed settlements for farming.

  6. Why were machines so helpful?
    They created much faster growth.
    They allowed humans to move around easier.
    They saved energy for humans.
    They saved human lives.

  7. How did humans provide fuel for machines?
    They used dirt.
    They used trees.
    They used carbon dioxide.
    They used coal.

  8. Which statements about climate change are true?
    Humans have changed the climate cycle.
    The fuel that we used to produce machine farming has changed the climate cycle.
    For 10,000 years the climate has not changed more than 1 degree Celsius.
    By 2100, the earth's temperature will increase by 5 degrees Celsius.

  9. How long have humans been around?
    0.004% of Earth's history
    0.04% of Earth's history
    2,000,000 years
    200,000 years

  10. According to the report, which of these phenomena is new?
    Climate change
    Species extinction

  11. How many people are alive now compared to 1918?
    200% more
    400% more
    4 billion more
    4,000,000,000 more

  12. What is climate change really about?
    The earth's survival
    Human weakness
    Human innovation

triangle Discussion

  1. Why do you think people 'frame' the climate change debate as a planetary cause rather than a human cause?
  2. Do you think we should focus on the prevention of human extinction more than animal exctinction? Or other species extinction?
  3. Would you rather have a healthy environment with very little infrastructure, or a comfortable infrastructure with a toxic environment?

triangle Script

One of the mistakes people make about climate change is saying that the planet is at stake.

"Is it the last chance to save the planet from climate change?"
"Tens of thousands of activists warning climate change is destroying the earth."
"The biggest cause in Hollywood is saving the Earth. Climate change and all that."

That’s not really the right way to think about it.

Earth has gone through immense climate changes many, many times before, in some cases leading to mass extinctions. But life persisted. Mammals evolved from reptiles,
and primates from mammals. They stood up. And walked out of Africa, eventually
reaching the corners of every continent.

But Only after well over 100,000 years of wandering did the real human innovation happen, when 12,000 years ago, we stopped foraging and started farming. Agriculture meant villages, cities, society, government: the birth of civilization.

But why did it take so long for humans to take control of their food? Well If you look
at this chart of global temperature change going back 100,000 years, you might notice
something special about the last 10,000 years. That’s when the climate settled into a period
of unusual stability. It was on this ledge that human society developed,
where reliable seasons fed more and more people...where knowledge accumulated and science began.

Until eventually, inventors created machines that could unleash unimaginable growth and mobility. All they needed was fuel to burn. and they found it in the form of ancient forests
buried for under dirt and compacted over 300 million years. With these coal deposits, humans unearthed tons and tons of carbon that had been locked away long before our species appeared.

And that’s how we began to disrupt the climate that birthed us — the climate that our food
systems and infrastructure are built upon. After 10,000 years of temperatures that varied
only within about 1 degree Celsius, scientists now say we’re on track for 3 degrees of
warming by 2100 if we don’t change course.

Humans have been around for .004% of Earth’s history. And of all human history - the 200,000 years since our species began, we’ve had agriculture for just 5% of that time. We’ve had electricity for .07% of that time.

The simple truth about climate change is that it isn’t new to the planet, but civilization is. And here's what's even newer: In the past hundred years, the number of people alive has quadrupled. And thus, so has the capacity for suffering.

So, slowing climate change isn’t about saving the planet. It’s about us, about our vulnerability
to a level of climate disruption that human civilization has simply never seen before.