Climate Literacy

Find resources from a range of public media producers and curators that will help you learn and teach climate science literacy. The structure of this collection is based upon the Essential Principles of Climate Literacy. For more information on Climate Literacy, visit CLEAN: Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network.

  • The Effect of Sea Surface Temperature on Hurricanes

    This video segment adapted from NOVA scienceNOW highlights research that supports the idea that warmer oceans generate and sustain more intense hurricanes. Ongoing monitoring of sea surface temperature (SST) has supplied evidence that the world's oceans warmed 0.5°C between 1970 and 2005. Because hurricanes rely on warm water to release heat into the upper atmosphere and create spiraling winds, any additional energy can result in increased intensity. The video examines factors scientists use to predict hurricane behavior, and states that the complex nature of hurricane formation makes predicting with a high degree of accuracy very difficult.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Witnessing Environmental Changes

    This video segment examines the issue of climate change from the perspective of Native Americans. Elders describe the changes they have observed in their surroundings, especially those related to water, and the effects they are having on their way of life. Dr. Daniel Wildcat explains that because Native people are so deeply connected to the land, non-Native people should consult with Native people about what we are experiencing. The video segment was adapted from a student video produced at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas.

    Grades: 3-12
  • Climate Wisconsin | Farming

    Kyle Niedfeldt Zenz, a fourth generation farmer in Bangor, WI, is the farm manager at Old Oak Family Farm. Watch as she describes the diverse crops and animals raised on the farm and the challenges they face from climate change, including pests and disease, in this multimedia video produced by the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Arctic Climate Perspectives

    This video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, shows the changes now happening in Barrow, Alaska, due to global warming. The Iñupiaq people who live in Barrow present their observations of these changes based on their centuries-old knowledge of their environment, and describe how these changes are already affecting their lives. Scientists who have come to Barrow to study climate change also offer their perspective.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Changing Arctic Landscape

    This video adapted from the Arctic Athabaskan Council highlights the effects that global warming is having on the Arctic landscape. Melting permafrost, increased erosion, and dying trees are presented as evidence that Earth's northernmost region is on the front line of climate change. The consequences of warming are varied, complex, and interrelated. For example, the video details how warmer temperatures lead to larger insect populations, which feed on leaves and bark and ultimately kill trees. As trees die, they lose their capacity to absorb water, as well as to hold the soil through their root systems. This leads to increased surface runoff and erosion, and creates tinder for forest fires.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Climate Wisconsin | Birkebeiner

    Having skied every Birkie, a cross-country ski event, since it started in 1973, John shares his experience and how the race is being threatened by climate change. This multimedia video produced by the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board follows John Kotar through the 2010 American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race from Cable to Hayward, WI.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Climate Wisconsin | Forestry

    Marshall Pecore, forest manager for Menominee Tribal Enterprises, describes the forest's economic and cultural value, and the management techniques used in order to sustain it. He identifies invasive species and diseases as a major threat to forest health -- a threat that may intensify as Wisconsin’s climate warms.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Climate Wisconsin | Ice Fishing

    Climate change is affecting the duration of ice cover on Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin. In this multimedia video produced by the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board, learn about the relationship between ice fishing and decreasing ice cover through the eyes of two local ice fishers.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Climate Wisconsin | Great Lakes Shipping

    Learn how water level and shipping season affect the amount of cargo a ship can carry in this multimedia video produced by the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. Come aboard with Pilot Randy Hayes on the Isa, a Great Lakes cargo ship carrying steel to the Port of Milwaukee, and explore the impacts of climate change on Great Lakes shipping.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Climate Wisconsin | Sugaring

    Follow Kat Becker and Tony Shultz, third generation maple syrup producers in Athens, Wisconsin, through a day of sugaring. Kat and Tony describe the process of collecting and boiling down sap to produce maple syrup. They explore how specific weather conditions are necessary for the process and how those conditions may be impacted by climate change.

    Grades: 6-12
  • How the Arctic Ecosystem Might Change

    Examine the unique, yet fragile Arctic marine ecosystem, in this video segment from the National Film Board of Canada. A scientist discusses the connections that exist in the Arctic food web, whose overall lack of diversity makes many of its members prone to extinction as change occurs in their sea ice habitat. The video explains that as global warming continues and sea ice disappears from the Arctic Ocean, new species from warmer, more southern oceans will eventually replace those species unable to adapt to the changing conditions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Arctic Mission | Hunters Navigate Warming Arctic

    Learn how hunting is a fundamental part of the Inuit culture and how environmental changes are threatening the Inuit way of life. Observe hunters on the ice, and see how modern technology has found a place in traditional practices. Learn about the unpredictability of, and changes in, snow and ice conditions. Hear hunters describe some of the challenges they are facing, and explore how traditional knowledge can partner with Western science to address the changing environmental conditions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Melting Permafrost

    Learn about the changes happening to permafrost in the Arctic landscape, in this video adapted from the International Institute for Sustainable Development. Alaska Native peoples and Western scientists discuss both the causes of melting and its impact on the ecosystem. The video shows the consequences of erosion, including mudslides and inland lakes being drained of water. An Inuit expresses his uncertainty about the ultimate effect this will have on his community and culture.

    Grades: 6-12
  • A Subsistence Culture Impacted by Climate Change

    In this video adapted from the Arctic Athabaskan Council, learn about some specific effects of climate change on the subsistence lifestyle of the Athabaskan people. See some of the consequences of the movement of animals and vegetation from more temperate climates into the Arctic region. Hear firsthand accounts about changes in the salmon harvest and how the decline of salmon affects the villages and people.

    Grades: 6-12
  • An Unpredictable Environment

    Inuit observers describe how their traditional understanding of weather patterns is being challenged by unpredictable weather behaviors in this video segment adapted from the International Institute for Sustainable Development. A female Inuit elder explains how it was traditionally the task of the women and girls to forecast the weather for hunting trips. Recent changes in climate have increased the uncertainty of using the traditional knowledge of Alaska Native science to predict the weather and associated animal behaviors, and this is having an impact on the subsistence lifestyle.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Warmer Water Kills Salmon Eggs

    This video segment features Native American Elders discussing the impact of climate change on salmon populations and the importance of restoring balance in the natural world. A Native educator describes having taken students to a river's headwaters to watch salmon spawn, only to observe the deadly effects of water temperature rise on the fish eggs. She explains that even a small change in temperature can result in a population decline that could threaten Native peoples and their way of life. The video segment was adapted from a student video produced at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Warming Climate and Invasive Species

    This video segment adapted from the College of Menominee Nation examines the relationship between climate change and the spread of insects and plant diseases, especially as it relates to the Menominee Indian Tribe's forest, located in northeast Wisconsin. Menominee descendants explain that as typical weather patterns are being interrupted, changes occur that threaten the growth of the forest that the Menominee manage for both current and future generations. Threats include invasive species such as beech scale insects that carry disease and tent caterpillars that attack the trees.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • Tropical Ice Cores Measure Climate

    This video segment adapted from NOVA scienceNOW profiles glaciologist Lonnie Thompson and his research into tropical mountain glaciers as a way to understand climate history. Beginning in the 1970s, Thompson recognized that tropical ice cores contain information relating to tropical climate phenomena, including El Nino events and monsoons. These phenomena are not archived in ice from polar regions. Thompson explains that his archive of ice cores is full of clues that, taken together with records collected from around the world, can help scientists create a timeline that tells Earth's "climate story."

    Grades: 5-8, 13+
  • Field Research on Glacial Change

    This ThinkTV segment demonstrates how scientists take measurements in the field to gain an overall understanding of the relationships between climate, populations, and water requires years of field research.

    Grades: 6-12
  • High Altitude Glaciers in the Tropics

    This ThinkTV segment takes viewers to Andes Mountains to demonstrate how and why glaciers exist at high altitudes in tropical latitudes, and how these glaciers help scientists understand climate change. It also addresses how glaciers are formed, how they effect landmasses, and hemespheric differences in glaciers.

    Grades: 6-12