(Also see Art, Communication and Journalism, and English | Language Arts)
Writing, in its many forms, can serve to advance consideration of global warming, climate change, and related sustainability matters. And these climate and sustainability concerns can provide matters of substance to write about.
Writing can be used to describe, explain, raise consciousness, express opinions, persuade, announce, or be calls to action and can take the form of poems, short stories, novels, scripts, essays, media releases, technical reports, fliers, proposals? Creative writing provides many opportunities related to global warming and climate change.
Would any of the sample questions or activities below help initiate or deepen discussion in your class?
- Reading stories about nature and climate change.
- How can we imagine and show possible futures? Discuss and write about what the world will be like if global warming continues?
(Will there still be trees? How will food be grown? Will water be available for all?)
- A world without electricity?
- A world where it is much hotter or drier or wetter?
- A world where sea level is 10 meters (about 33 feet) higher than it is now?
- Write a story, poem, or essay about a future under global warming
- Write short stories that feature a changing or changed climate
- Poetry – Write a poem where nature plays an important role, including some element that will change with global warming. (Haiku may be especially appropriate for writing about environmental concerns.)
- Opinion – Global warming and climate change are excellent opportunities for writing opinion pieces to persuade, gain support, and/or involve others.
- Letter to the editor about local transportation needs or the school’s GHG emissions and recommendations for change
- Essay about the need for international collaboration on climate change
- Flier announcing a (real or imaginary) community event about a local energy matter
Professional and technical writing often requires being able to accurately present technical, economic, or scientific information in ways that will facilitate understanding and the decision-making process. In some cases, the writer may need to be conversant with technical terms and the metric system.
- Visualize and write a fictional ‘technical report’ about conditions in some possible future. (For example: What might the world be like in 50 years?)
- What types of information are needed in a project proposal?
- Write a proposal to a real or imaginary funding source regarding a real or imaginary project to use renewable energy or reduce GHG emissions.
- Write a report evaluating an article that discusses global warming, climate change, or related sustainability matter.
- As with the other arts, creative writing helps us see things from new perspectives and envision new possibilities.
- High-quality technical papers, grant writing, essays, and other non-fiction writing can disseminate information, gain support, and involve others.
Additional Resources for Writing
- Climate Change and Your Community. Two short video clips from PBS.
- Cross-Curricular Math, English, and Science Lesson. Open Educational Resources website.
- ‘The Green New Deal and Our Schools’. Rethinking Schools, Summer 2019.
- How to Teach High-School Students to Spot Fake News. Slate.com, December 2016. [www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2016/12/media_literacy_courses_help_high_school_students_spot_fake_news.html]
- Why I must Speak Out About Climate Change, by James Hansen (2012)
TED talk, runs about 18 minutes [www.ted.com/talks/james_hansen_why_i_must_speak_out_about_climate_change]
- Why Teach About Climate Change in English Language Arts, in Teaching Climate Change to Adolescents: Reading, Writing, and Making a Difference by Richard Beach, Jeff Share, and Allen Webb. Routledge, Spring 2017. [climatechangeela.pbworks.com/w/page/100551079/FrontPage]
Additional resources on the Metric System, including free classroom resources.