Climate Change Faculty Demonstrates a Way to Participate in Public Discourse

Christine Muller, faculty for the popular Wilmette Institute course Climate Change, shared the following comments with one of the learners in her course, outlining a strategy “to raise awareness about climate change and a call for action” and adding a link to her op-ed piece published in the Providence (RI) Journal.

Christine Muller“Thank you . . . for sharing your good thoughts. . . . I agree with you that it is important to connect the drought in California with a long-term shift in the climate. It is not sufficient to deal with the drought as an exceptional occurrence. Adaptation measures need to be taken that are helpful not only in the short term but that would also be beneficial for the expected climate change impacts in the long term. Most important, though, is pointing out the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now so that in the future the impacts of climate change will not become so bad that humans will no more be able to adapt. Therefore, I think that your talking with government representatives to help them see this broader picture is very important.

“I just tried a similar strategy to raise awareness about climate change and to call for action. The content and tool used, though, were different. In Rhode Island we see more frequent extremely strong precipitation, which sometimes results in serious floods. Therefore, the content here was flood not drought, and the tool was an op-ed in the Providence Journal, not talking with government representatives (although I did this, too, when a group of five attended a town-council meeting this week, but that’s another story. . . .).

“As we are beginning the discussion . . . about actions we all can take, your posting provided a good bridge from climate impacts to actions. There are numerous things we can do, small and big and everything in between. The only thing we now know we can’t do is continue the life that society prescribed for us.”

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