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Database Provider

Author

Hot Mess

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Social Studies

Regional Focus

Global

Format

YouTube Video

Climate Change Is Too Big for Our Brains

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Synopsis
  • This video from Hot Mess provides a philosophical lesson about why the vastness of climate change is difficult for humans to understand. 
  • The video uses Edwin Abbott's Flatland, Timothy Morton's theory of hyperobjects, and Felix Guattari's The Three Ecologies to explain the difficulties in communicating what climate change is, how it is caused, and what it will take to stop it.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This video presents a philosophical reason why some people are unable to grasp the concept of climate change.
  • The visuals in the video help to illustrate some of the more obtuse concepts.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students will need to have some understanding of philosophy as a field of study.
  • The video is very fast-paced, so students will benefit from pausing in order to discuss each concept before moving on to the next concept.
  • Students will need to be familiar with terms such as satirical, apostle, viscous, interobjective, phase space, grokking, and transversally.

Differentiation

  • This video provides many opportunities for cross-curricular discussions because the video encompasses topics of geometry, physics, philosophy, biology, ethics, and literature.
  • Advanced students could read Flatland, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World or The Three Ecologies.
  • This short film from the Global Oneness Project offers a completely different explanation for why people cannot grasp the vastness of climate change, and would be interesting to compare with this resource.
  • Students can use this lesson to begin having conversations with those who struggle to comprehend the hyperobjectivity of climate change.
Scientist Notes
The video provides detailed explanations to tackle climate change.  It considers climate change as a hyperobject with 5 characteristics (viscosity, non-local, Gaussian, interobjective, and phasing).  However, understanding the complex interactions within the social, cultural, environmental, human, and natural systems (and also not only looking for solutions within) are important to combat climate change. This resource has no misconceptions and it's recommended for teaching
Standards
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • 9-10.SL.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
  • Social Sciences
    • Social Science Analysis (K-12)
      • HS.72 Construct explanations using sound reasoning, correct sequence (linear or nonlinear), examples, and details with significant and pertinent information and data, while acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of the explanations given its purpose (such as validity, value and limitation, cause and effect, chronological, procedural, technical).
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