An important guide to Climate Change Literacy

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An important guide to climate change literacy was published at climatescience.gov; a website that has the support of many US government departments. Those include: the Department of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, the EPA, and NASA.Written for “individuals and communities” the guide is a “climate-oriented approach for learners of all ages” the guide is free and downloadable. It conveys an important message that is formatted in an attractive way, meaning that there are plenty of pictures, even for the drier (less, interesting, but still important) facts.

The first half of the guide answers why climate literacy is important. Other questions answered include: What is climate science literacy? Why does climate science literacy matter? How is climate science literacy is a part of science literacy? How climate science literacy is an ongoing process? How do we know what is scientifically correct? What is required of an informed climate decision? The last question is given seven keypoints, one of which: “Actions taken by individuals, communities, states, and countries all influence climate. Practices and policies followed in homes, schools, businesses, and governments can affect climate. Climate-related decisions made by one generation can provide opportunitiesas well as limit the range of possibilities open to the next generation. Steps toward reducing the impact of climate change may influence the present generation by providing other benefits such as improved public health infrastructure and sustainable built environments.” We are all part of the problem, therefore we are all a part of the solution.

The second half of the guide breaks down “The Essential Principles of Climate Science,” which is a rundown of the basics of climate science. If you don’t know these, you’re climate illiterate:

  1. The sun is the primary source of energy for Earth’s climate system;
  2. Climate is regulated by complex interactions among components of the Earth system;
  3. Life on Earth depends on, is shaped by, and affects climate;
  4. Climate varies over space and time through both natural and man-made processes;
  5. Our understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies, and modeling;
  6. Human activities are impacting the climate system;
  7. Climate change will have consequences for the Earth and human lives.


The final page of info goes over key climate change vocabulary terms. One important distinction is given straight away: the difference in the definition of climate vs. weather:

  • A “weather forecast” is defined as ” a prediction about the specific atmospheric conditions expected for a location in the short-term future (hours to days).”
  • A “climate forecast” is defined as “a prediction about average or extreme climate conditions for a region in the long-term future (seasons to decades).”


Too often, sadly and sarcastically, people compare day to day weather to climate change, usually in an effort to prove that climate change is no big deal and is in fact debunked. These fools need to read the many important guides, provided by many different governments and organizations, to increase their climate change literacy.


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