The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to supporting in-depth engagement with underreported global affairs through the sponsorship of quality international journalism across all media platforms and a unique program of outreach and education to schools and universities, has created a group of lesson plans for use at all grade levels dealing with the subject of climate change.
The group is entitled “Losing Earth” and is tied, through a major grant, to two comprehensive articles in the New York Times that show how the decade from 1979 to 1989 was a critical decade for climate change. All the science we now know was known at that time, and there was a bipartisan call for action about the “carbon dioxide” problem and rising global temperatures.
The only thing that stood in our was was ourselves. And then, we lost Earth.
By the middle of the 80s, the center writes, “the scientific community understood with unprecedented clarity that human activity was contributing to a rapid derangement of the natural world, one that would threaten economic and societal collapse if left unchecked. But efforts to marshal the political will and industry support to change course all failed.”
In “Losing Earth: The decade we almost stopped climate change,” a piece that takes up an entire edition of The New York Times Magazine, Nathaniel Rich reveals how the current narratives and arguments around climate change were formed, and why this problem has remained so difficult to solve.
The center hopes that the New York Times series and their curricular materials will enable teachers and students to have bold conversations about climate change, the media’s role in shaping discourse about the issue, and the political willpower needed to enact critical environmental policy.