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English Detective # #95- 3 sources of hope for climate change, 11-21-17
November 21, 2017

I have been hesitant to talk much about climate change in English Detective. It’s already so well known—and often so controversial. What could I include that you don’t already know?

However, I just found a couple of resources that seem so outstanding to me I just have to share them—even if many of you will have seen at least one of them already. (Quite a bit of follow-up research added a few more. Choose the ones you have time and interest for.) As usual, there is some vocabulary practice below the photo.

TED just released a new (15 min.) talk by Per Espen Stoknes on how to change people’s attitudes toward climate change by changing the way scientists and activists present it. He discusses his research into the psychology behind different attitudes. Then he suggests ways to encourage engagement—a willingness to take small actions that can begin to reduce the big problem.

Vox has a short summary of Stoknes’ research, including the perspective of other psychologists, here.

A much longer and more detailed Guardian article looks at Seven Megatrends that could beat Global Warming.

Both discuss technological and economic reasons for hope, though they make it clear that we’re not “home free”—there will be some major disruptions caused by global warming that has already happened. There are also no guarantees that these hopeful trends will happen fast enough and massively enough to prevent the most serious or irreversible effects on the climate—when even stopping ALL carbon emissions will be too late to prevent future warming.

However, these scientists do see more reason to hope. Maybe we can prevent the worst damage, and gain a little time to work on the problems that cannot be avoided.

Psych, Tech, & Economic Vocabulary for Reducing Climate Change

I made a crossword puzzle of the most used new or less common vocabulary in the talk and those articles. I hope it will help you check your understanding of what you’ve read. (Several of the words have more than one meaning. I’ve used the meaning in the climate change and psychology context.) The answers are here.

One thing I couldn’t include on the crossword was a good explanation of renewable energy. “Renewables” are solar energy and wind power, available energy coming from the sun; so we have an unlimited, renewable supply and won’t run out of them. Fossil fuels are not renewable: when they are gone we cannot get more.

Basic Weather and Climate Change Vocabulary

(This is the important information from English Detective #71 on climate change vocabulary. Much of that issue is no longer relevant, so I took it out of the Back Issues.)

I’ve been looking at some resources teaching climate change vocabulary, and others that discuss how people can adapt to the changes we cannot avoid.

These pages are easier than most of the vocabulary readings I find, but I think they are interesting for adult English learners as well as kids—anyone who would like to read a little about climate change in fairly simple English (high beginner up.)

All the links are on one page, along with several exercises to practice the vocabulary. See Climate Change and Weather Vocabulary on EnglishHints.

The variety of practice exercises (categorizing, noting synonyms, and matching words with their meanings) all help make the mental connections necessary for long-term memory.
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