What is Climate Science? Why is it important? How do we effectively communicate it to future generations?
Climate Science investigates the structure and dynamics of the earth’s climate system. It seeks to understand how global, regional, and local climates are maintained as well as the processes by which they change over time (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Its focus is broader than just environmental impacts, it encompasses economic, social, environmental, and psychological issues that need to be addressed to ensure the quality of life.
The future citizens and leaders, the young people, are to be included in conversations and action plans concerning climate change. This group will be the ones who bear the consequences of our current actions in dealing with this global issue. To be effective in passing this message forward, It is best to primarily understand how the younger generation relates to and communicates climate change in various scenarios and contexts.
At what age should parents, teachers, and caregivers engage in constructive conversations on climate and sustainability in general? How can the government, politicians, and media, contribute toward painting an optimistic future, but be forthcoming and transparent on the consequences of current actions? How can misinformation minimizing or denying climate change be countered? On the other hand, the bleak and pessimistic perspective showcased in discussions, in the media, and by role models can lead to a sense of hopelessness and helplessness among the young. They may cope with such information in different ways, for instance, by distancing themselves from the negative triggers, underscoring the issue, joining interest groups, or backing and supporting social leaders fighting for the cause. Thus, it is imperative, to consider the emotional reaction and coping strategies that young people resort to, to handle climate-related information
The terms, carbon emissions, recycling, and solar panels, are synonymous to Climate Science. But, what do they mean to young people? How can one effectively promote understanding and knowledge, and engage in developing concern for the future? How to effectively communicate sustainability without ‘freaking’ them out. What does psychological science tell us about helping people through adversities and influencing young people toward positive actions?. Join our panellists Prof Benjamin Horton (EOS, NTU) and Asst Prof Yong MingLee (NIE, NTU) as they discuss, these questions and more on the topic, ‘Communicating Climate Science: the impact on young people’. Prof Horton, well-reputed in the area of climate change, will highlight the importance of communicating sustainability science to the future generation, while Asst Prof Yong, will focus on the various aspects that need to be kept in mind to be effective in communicating such information to young people so as not to evoke negative responses. The session will be moderated by Prof Vanessa Evers (Director, NISTH) and Asst Prof Andrew Prahl (WKW, NTU).