Dr. Naomi Oreske breaks down the basics of climate change in 5 bullets:
1.) Global warming is an established scientific fact.
2.) Global warming is not caused by the sun.
3.) Global warming is not a theory; it is a scientific prediction come true.
4.) I matters.
5.) If all be clear, why is there doubt and confusion concerning climate change - why accusations of a liberal hoax?
Dr. Oreske follows a long trail of evidence, revealing how certain scientists, organization and political actors sowed misinformation through public channels. She calls them, collectively, the merchants of doubt. The trail she follows suggests that these same components may be traced to campaigns attempting to falisfy scientific research connecting cancer to smoking, the now healed hole in the ozone layer, acid rain and now climate change.
This video moves on to discuss how our modern lifestyles came with a huge price that noone wanted to aknowledge, must lesss pay. She offers as explanation, in the form of a metaphor, for public and political denial of climate change. Imagine a dinner party in which everyone is having fun. Then comes the waitress to collect the bill. No determination was ever made as to who would pay the bill. Everyone begins to argue the point. In the end, everyone decides to simply ignore the waitress, hoping she might go away.
In the end, this video opens a discussion concerning how the public can validate a scientist when she steps out to speak as an expert. Dr. Oreske posits that all social relations are trust relations; we must trust scientists to assess the environmental bill. To assess the magnitude and rate of of climate change impact.
To explain in a brief manner the most basics of climate change and offer up a metaphor, very useful in explaining to the public (or a class) the current impact of climate change and political/public intertia in addressing the issue. This video also opens up for discussion the issue of misinformation and how the scientific community might educate the public in validating scientific expert opinions.
ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION AND TEACHING MATERIALS
What follows is a 50:35 minute video from the Will Steger Foundation's Summer Institute 2010, titled "Will Steger Foundation Summer Institute Public Forum with Dr. Naomi Oreskes".
TEACHING NOTES / CONTEXT FOR USE
A public education forum. Suitable to some academic settings - maybe college freshman level. Highschool students would benefit. Might suitable for middle school level.
Essay, projects or group discussions.
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
Disclosed on video.