Sunday, August 08, 2010

Climate change education: A blast from the past

"Our industrial civilization has been pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a great rate... If it remained, it would have a very marked warming effect on the earth's climate, but most of it will probably be absorbed by the oceans. Conceivably, however, it could cause significant melting of the great icecaps and raise sea levels in time."

From Planet Earth: The mystery with 100,000 clues, a brochure produced by the U.S. National Academy of Science as part of the first International Geophysical Year, 1957-1958.

The terrific, very 1950s, accompanying film "The Inconstant Air" describes the basics of weather and climate, including the greenhouse effect. What I find most fascinating is the film provides historical context to the viewer - i.e. mentioning that early human societies though that gods controlled the weather - something that is generally missing from education and outreach on climate change today. We are so buried in the politics, we forget and ignore history, and therefore fail to appreciate that the very premise (that humans are affecting the climate) is quite revolutionary.

3 comments:

Alex Aylett said...

Great find! How did you come across it?

Simon D said...

It is mentioned in NAS and NOAA reports on Climate Literacy. It is also easy to find from the International Geophysical Year site.

warmcast said...

Great film.

But why aren't films like this made anymore??

The animations communicate the subject so well.