Al Gore’s “drowned polar bear”
Capstick, S.B. and Pidgeon, N.F. (2014) Public perception of cold weather events as evidence for and against climate change Climatic Change
Chapstick (2014) What effect does cold weather have on people's views on climate change? The Guardian
The Intrepid Explorers team invited school students to join King's College London staff, students, alumni and friends for a journey to the Arctic for the evening.
The documentary, 'Chasing Ice' was screened. It tells the story and shows footage by the environmental photographer James Balog who, along with a team of young adventurers, started The Extreme Ice Survey. By deploying time-lapse cameras across the Arctic, James and his team were able to capture a multi-year record of the World's changing glaciers.
Before the screening there was an introduction to the event, an introduction to Professor Mike Hulme and then a talk by Professor Mike Hulme on visualising climate change. At the end of his talk, Mike provided a framework for the audience to consider whilst watching the documentary.
The Royal Geographical Society's themed resources.:
•Rudiak-Gould, P. 2013 (Paper) Ways of Knowing: Traditional Knowledge as Key Insight for Addressing Environmental Change,
•Hulme, M. 2009 (Book) Why we disagree about climate change,
•United Nations University 2009 (films) -The Indigenous Voices on Climate Change film festival -click here for 22 films
(full length audio version)
Prior to the screening of Chasing Ice, Professor Mike Hulme described some ways in which scientists and campaigners have tried to make climate change visible – and also some of the ways the popular media try to visualise climate change. He suggests in the end that maybe in the end what you see is what you believe.
1. “So how could one look at evidence like this or other forms of scientific evidence of climate change, and then at the same time offer critiques of the underlying cause?” (He starts his answer at 2:03)
2. “Does it change the role of climate scientists?” (answer 5:35)
3. Are these compelling – the argument that the physical changes we’ve just seen are indeed human induced, could you tell us some more about those narratives? (answer 7:02)
4. Do you think there will ever be an analogous state for climate change? Where there is a consensus about something which we can’t directly experience (answer 10:56)
5. Fascinated by the idea of communicating scale –the use of football pitches, Manhattan etc., is there any evidence that that makes it better or leads to inaction as it is too big to deal with? (answer 14:30)
6. How do you not come out of [seeing the film] almost feeling a bit depressed and futile? (18:25)
7. Do you agree with the statement in the film that there is consensus amongst scientists about global warming? (answer 20:38)
8. With reference to a scenario involving a lord “If belief precedes seeing and even seeing can not change your beliefs, what hope do we have?” (answer 24:29)
9. Of what utility would a project like that be if, in essence, it is preaching to the choir? (answer 27:07)
10. Sometimes people have criticised my work saying, “well Hulme is just basically saying it is all a bit complicated, people can believe whatever they want and really he’s not helping with the cause at all” (answer 29:30).
Suitable for A Level and undergraduate students
Students must watch Mike Hulme’s introductory talk and the ‘framing the viewing experience’ videos on this webpage.
Students must then listen to the post-screening Q&A
Each student must choose one question, listen to Professor Mike Hulme’s answer, then set out whether they agree or disagree with him, backing up their answer with evidence. For university students this must include at least one peer-reviewed journal article.
Download a template worksheet here
Download comleted examples from first year undergraduates here
Each student has 1 minute to describe the original question, Professor Hulme’s answer and to summarise their position
The teacher picks up on the main themes of contention and chairs a class debate on these.
If time, the teacher can also ask the students to reflect upon their different summaries and interpretations of what Professor Mike Hulme said, and consider the role of perception and interpretation in effective communication of climate science.