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Narrative: The Climate-Ocean Connection
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Narrative: The Climate-Ocean Connection
Background
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Teaching goals of this narrative

The Climate-Ocean Connection Narrative has the following main learning objectives: 

  • We have a shared responsibility to engage in collective solutions to protect people, places, and habitats.
  • The ocean regulates our planet’s climate by moving heat and moisture around the globe. (Riser, S. C., et al. (2016). Fifteen Years of Ocean Observations with the Global Argo Array. Nature Climate Change. (6): pp. 145–153.)
  • Society’s reliance on fossil fuels is changing the climate, primarily by adding CO2 to the atmosphere, where it acts like a blanket that traps in heat around the world. The ocean is holding more than 90% of the trapped heat, so it is getting warmer, and the planet’s circulatory system is being disrupted as a result.
  • The key to addressing climate change is to shift to forms of energy that do not emit carbon dioxide or other heat-trapping gases.
  • Energy shift is feasible. Initiatives, programs, and policy-level solutions are changing the way our communities use energy—shifting our energy use in more responsible directions.

Communications challenges to consider

We know from social science that our visitors bring prior knowledge and perceptions that need to be considered in crafting the learning experience. Specifically, be aware that these widely shared patterns of thinking are likely to shape the way your visitors think about this topic:

  • Environmental problems are big, scary, and depressing…and there’s nothing we can do.
  • The ocean and land are “worlds apart,” disconnected from one another.
  • What happens on land might affect the ocean (for example, through pollution) but what happens in the ocean has little effect on land.
  • The ocean is so vast that it is invincible; any harm that humans cause is a “drop in the bucket.” Because nature works in cycles, it will heal itself.
  • Carbon dioxide is natural—and therefore, it cannot be harmful.
  • The ocean is vast and invincible; even if humans harm it, it will be able to heal itself.
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