Global Warming Facts Or Fiction Essay Competitions

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Stefan Rahmstorf‒A Scientist's Mind, and an Artist's Eye
Peter Sinclair, Yale Climate Connections
An eloquent short film about this respected ocean and climate scientist and how he sees the relationship between his scientific work and his passion for photography. He says, "Science is about the rational mind, the dispassionate and the objective, whereas, photography to me is about the passionate and the subjective, and I couldn't feel like a whole person if I was only developing the entirely rational part of myself."
(September 2015)
This project of Connect4Climate includes a short film competition for young film-makers from around the world. You can watch eleven winners here.
(various lengths)
The Beauty in our Melting World
A short video (2014) about the large-scale pastel paintings of ice and water by artist Zaria Forman, done in the context of climate change. More images on her own website. Also see Brian Kahn's (April 2017) Climate Central portrait of this artist and her work.
(September 2014)
Housed on Instagram and with a good presence on Facebook, this collection of donated professional photos documents the actual effects of climate change on people, wildlife, and landscapes around the world. You can read a story by Katherine Bagley of InsideClimate News about this initiative here.
Climate Change and the Power of Myth
Jonathan Marshall, TedxSydney, Australia
A quick and provocative look at some of the many ways climate change is intertwined with the myths and symbols that shape our lives, ending in a call for finding new myths (and stories) adequate to new times.
(10 minutes, 2010)
Art and Science: Time Lapse Proof of Extreme Ice Loss
James Balog
Excellent short Ted Talk by photographer James Balog, who speaks here of the importance of combining science with art, and who shows and comments on some of his jaw-dropping time-lapse footage of retreating glaciers in several parts of the world, with vivid illustrations of the scale of these changes.
(20 minutes, 2009) Climate Change and the Literary Imagination: Poetry *
Linda Bierds, Department of English, University of Washington
Linda Bierds, a major poet who has long been interested in science and has become concerned about climate change, speaks here of what inspires her, describes her research methods, and reads several poems.
(25 minutes, November 2008) Climate Change and the Literary Imagination: Creative Nonfiction *
Marybeth Holleman, Anchorage, Alaska
What do writers and artists do when they tackle the topic of climate change? In this talk and reading, writer Holleman addresses this question by focusing on what's happening to polar bears as the Far North warms: the facts, yes, but also the way their stories make us feel and challenge the ways we make sense of our world.
(25 minutes, November 2008)

Facing the Change: Personal Encounters with Global Warming
Steven Pavlos Holmes, editor, Torrey House Press 2013, 161pp
This thought- and emotion-provoking collection offers poems and personal essays about climate change by 38 writers: their experiences, feelings, and attempts to make meaning of the changes we're facing. As the editor notes, these pieces are not about scientific or political debates but about "human stories" and "poetic imagination"; reading them is a little like having a series of intimate (and sometimes uncomfortable) conversations.  
Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril
Kathleen Dean Moore & Michael P. Nelson, editors. Trinity University Press, 2010, 464 pp.
This compelling collection offers some 80 short essays by theologians, religious leaders, philosophers, naturalists, scientists, elected officials, business leaders, activists, and writers, each addressing the critical question, "Do we have a moral obligation to future generations, to leave them a world as rich in life and possibility as the world we inherited?" Making a wide range of ethical arguments, in voices from many standpoints and many places, including all the continents except Antarctica, these thinkers all answer yes, explain why they believe this, and suggest steps we can take‒in words that are eloquent, pointed, clear, and often beautiful. Click here for more information on the book.  
articles & essays
"Our Melting, Shifting, Liquid World"; Celebrities Read Poems on Climate Change
The Guardian, November 2015
It is hard to find climate-change poetry online, but this is a good starting collection of 21 poems on this general subject, some more obviously linked than others, all read by actors. Curated by the poet laureate of the U.K., Carol Ann Duffy.
Amazing Art Makes Climate Change Conceivable
World Science Festival, 2015
A small but good selection of art projects dealing with climate change, with links to the artists' own websites.
Our Polar Regions Are Simply 'Melting Away,' and It's a Beautiful Disaster
Interview by James Gerken of Camille Seaman, Huffington Post, January 2015
A sampling of the gripping images from photographer Camille Seaman's book
Melting Away: A Ten-Year Journey through our Endangered Polar Regions, along with a brief interview with the artist. Climate Change Has Created a New Literary Genre
Daniel Bloom, Washington Post, July 2014
A good quick introduction to climate-change fiction‒cli-fi‒with some titles for getting started. For a brief but provocative caution, see George Marshall's brief note, "Climate Fiction Will Reinforce Existing Views."
Tom Toles Goes Green
Washington Post, August 2013
A sharp and darkly funny collection of editorial cartoons, many about climate change and politics.
Taking the World By Storm? Weather Inspired Music
Edward Ortiz, San Francisco Classical Voice, July 2013
Weather and climate (and wildfires, melting ice, hurricanes, heat, cold, politics): what do they have to do with musical composition and performance? This article explores this interesting question, partly through a study done by two musical scientists of historical links between weather and classical music and partly through several contemporary composers concerned with climate change, including Brett Dean and John Luther Adams.
Scenes from a Melting Planet: On the Climate Change Novel
Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker blog, July 2013
Good short piece about the current state of novels and short fiction that take climate change seriously, with this telling line: "Today, novels that would once have been called science fiction can be read as social realism." Ideas for what to read, plus a call to fiction writers.
Long Horizons: An Exploration of Art and Climate Change
Five excellent short essays exploring the possible roles of artists, who "are frequently at the forefront of cultural change" and who "can help move the climate change agenda from intellectual understanding to emotional engagement, and then on to action." Sponsored by the British Council, the UK's international cultural organization, and Julie's Bicycle, which "is committed to tackling climate change in the creative industries," these essays are by writer Jay Griffiths, sculptor Antony Gormley, musician KT Tunstall, playwright Tim Jackson (who is also a professor of sustainable development), and geographer/climate scientist Diana Liverman. Also included: an extensive overview of the UK's cultural policy as it relates to climate change.
Arctic Series Photographs
Subhankar Banerjee, 2000-
This photographer has worked in the arctic for over a decade now, capturing images and writing about the effects of climate change and other stresses on animals and people. The images are very strong, as is much of the writing. His website offers samples. His first book, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land (2003), is excellent.
This "global festival of cultural activity on climate change" site is collecting information about all kinds of arts events connected to the U.N. Council of the Parties meeting in Paris in December 2015. Varied, engaging, and full of creative energy. World View of Global Warming
Gary Braasch
This accomplished photographer/journalist has given his attention to climate change for quite a while now, and his archive of photos and commentary is well worth studying. Change as Art
A compilation of "artists, art organizations, and art works that address social and environmental issues by making measureable change." Not just about climate change, but many of the pieces represented here do deal with this topic. Artists and Climate Change
Chantal Bilodeau and Joan Sullivan
With the slogan "contributions from the artistic community to the vexing problem of climate change," this blog features strong artistic responses (of many types) that help translate scientific facts into human emotions and food for reflection. It is "both a study of what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject." Visual Arts
An extensive and very good collection of links to visual arts dealing with "climate change and global warming solutions," including artists, galleries, organizations, exhibits, books, and contests. Usefully divided into categories such as sculpture, painting, photography, fashion, graphic arts, and so on. The larger site of which this is a part focuses on K-12 education on climate change and offers additional useful links to such things as movies, television, and museums. UNEP Children's Painting Competition on the Environment
Every year since 1991, the United Nations Environment Programme has helped sponsor an international art contest for children‒with results that are witty, moving, and inspiring. In many years the theme has been climate change (see the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th competitions); other themes have included deserts and desertification (15th), biodiversity (19th), and food waste (23rd). Extreme Ice Survey and Chasing Ice (film)
In his Extreme Ice Survey, photographer James Balog is creating a stunning array of still, time-lapse, and video images of glaciers around the world. Enacting the motto "Seeing is Believing," Balog and his team invite visitors to the project's excellent website to see for themselves both what is happening to glaciers today and what kinds of beauty they give to our world. This work brings together the powers of art and of science to illuminate our situation and urge action. The award-winning film about Balog and this project, directed by Jeff Orlowski, is very powerful. Lasting about 75 minutes, it is now available on iTunes and Netflix and the DVD costs just $20. Cape Farewell Project
Led by artist David Buckland, this London-based project sponsors creative cultural responses to climate change, taking visual artists, writers, and young people on expeditions to the arctic and creating art exhibitions and performances. In their words: "Using creativity to innovate, we engage artists for their ability to evolve and amplify a creative language, communicating on a human scale the urgency of the global climate challenge." Their website offers expedition blogs, images, and more. The Canary Project
Increasing numbers of individual artists are also focusing some of their work on climate change, and this is an excellent example. Projects include field studies / art as research, installations and interventions, public messaging and campaigns, participatory and place-based, and education / student projects; for instance, one witty project, "Increase Your Albedo," combines sculpture, performance, and fashion in urging us to wear white to help cool the planet.

Teaching Climate Change in Language & Literature Classes
SueEllen Campbell, Colorado State University English Dept. and Changing Climates @ CSU, Summer 2015
Here are some of the materials from workshops held at two meetings: WLA, the Western Literature Association (fall 2014) and ASLE, the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (summer 2015), including the workshop leader's talking slides (without images for quicker downloading), some useful scientific graphs and maps, a short list of resources that might be especially useful in such courses, one sample handout on what we can do, and‒NOT LEAST!‒selections from the participants' contributions to the ASLE workshop. Writing Arguments: Spaceship Earth assignment
Tom Conway, Colorado State University
For an advanced composition class focused on argumentation, Conway asks students to imagine, research, and argue for some specific element of a spaceship designed to take a city-sized group into space for 150 years with sustainability and flourishing in mind, then think about how their plans could work on our actual planet.

Dear EarthTalk: I keep meeting people who say that human-induced global warming is only theory, that just as many scientists doubt it as believe it. Can you settle the score?
-- J. Proctor, London, UK

So-called “global warming skeptics” are indeed getting more vocal than ever, and banding together to show their solidarity against the scientific consensus that has concluded that global warming is caused by emissions from human activities.

Upwards of 800 skeptics (most of whom are not scientists) took part in the second annual International Conference on Climate Change—sponsored by the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank—in March 2009. Keynote speaker and Massachusetts Institute of Technology meteorologist Richard Lindzen told the gathering that “there is no substantive basis for predictions of sizeable global warming due to observed increases in minor greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons.”

Most skeptics attribute global warming—few if any doubt any longer that the warming itself is occurring, given the worldwide rise in surface temperature—to natural cycles, not emissions from power plants, automobiles and other human activity. “The observational evidence…suggests that any warming from the growth of greenhouse gases is likely to be minor, difficult to detect above the natural fluctuations of the climate, and therefore inconsequential,” says atmospheric physicist Fred Singer, an outspoken global warming skeptic and founder of the advocacy-oriented Science and Environmental Policy Project.

But green leaders maintain that even if some warming is consistent with millennial cycles, something is triggering the current change. According to the nonprofit Environmental Defense, some possible (natural) explanations include increased output from the sun, increased absorption of the sun’s heat due to a change in the Earth’s reflectivity, or a change in the internal climate system that transfers heat to the atmosphere.

But scientists have not been able to validate any such reasons for the current warming trend, despite exhaustive efforts. And a raft of recent peer reviewed studies—many which take advantage of new satellite data—back up the claim that it is emissions from tailpipes, smokestacks (and now factory farmed food animals, which release methane) that are causing potentially irreparable damage to the environment.

To wit, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences declared in 2005 that “greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise,” adding that “the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action.” Other leading U.S. scientific bodies, including the American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union have issued concurring statements—placing the blame squarely on humans’ shoulders.

Also, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of 600 leading climate scientists from 40 nations, says it is “very likely” (more than a 90 percent chance) that humans are causing a global temperature change that will reach between 3.2 and 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century.

CONTACTS: Heartland Institute,; Science and Environmental Policy Project,; U.S. National Academy of Sciences,;IPCC,

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