ENVI 460
Communicating Climate Change Spring 2023
Division II

Class Details

Long-term, probabilistic thinking about scary scenarios is hard. When the relevant time frames extend to centuries and millennia, it is really hard. And when the degree of scariness is determined by sciences that very few people understand, it is really, really hard. This describes the challenge of climate communication. No matter what your interests or career paths might be, you will need to be able to communicate effectively about environmental problems, often with people who see them very differently from you. It is difficult to communicate about any problem across social, political, and cultural divides. But environmental problems present special challenges. For one thing, they typically involve complicated, contested science. For another, their effects are often difficult to perceive yet potentially devastating in their consequences, especially for future generations and marginalized people. For yet another, their solutions often seem hopelessly difficult to implement. And finally, they are thoroughly entangled with almost every other problem we face, from pandemics to racism to wealth inequality. How do we communicate clearly, persuasively, and responsibly about something so complex? This seminar brings together students with interests in the humanities, arts, social sciences and sciences to seek answers to this fundamental question. Over the course of the seminar, we will explore research on climate change communication in a diverse array of fields while seeking to put our findings into practice locally, working together as a team to solve concrete climate communication problems here in our community.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 12
Class#: 4023
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: One 5-7-page paper; final collaborative project; participation.
Prerequisites: Environmental Studies 101.
Enrollment Preferences: Environmental/Maritime Studies majors and concentrators.
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: ENVI Core Courses
EVST Core Courses
MAST Senior Seminar

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