Learning Opportunity in Media Coverage of Climate Change

At the end of last week the buzz in the climate change media coverage was about a new study that came out in Friday’s edition of Science .  Andrew Revkin breaks down the study well in his blog that day, but essentially the study states that methane gas is being released from Arctic sea beds.  Methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, is stored in Arctic permafrost, but with the melting associated with climate change this methane is being released.  Later that day, it was brought to my attention that the same edition of Science contained an article on energy effiicieny and potential solutions through the behavioral sciences.  This example is not unique, but illustrates a great learning opportunity for students and teachers following climate change through mainstream media.  Discuss with your students how they respond emotionally to a headline of “Methane leaking from Arctic at Alarming Rate”, vs. “Hope for Dealing with Climate Change found in Behavioral Sciences.”  Encourage students to research beyond an article they read in the local or national newspaper or magazine back to the sources the articles cite.  Ask them to find another article or study released on the same day, that may have changed the tone of climate change coverage that day.  Lessons  4 and 5 in our grades 3-6 curriculum focus on how climate change is being communicated and could be useful to to higher grade level teachers as well.

Link to New York Times Article

Link to Heat over Bubbling Arctic Methane

Link to Climate Coverage a Cheap Media Case Study blog

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