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Narrative: The Climate-Ocean Connection
Slide 04: Human Transportation
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Narrative: The Climate-Ocean Connection
Slide 04: Human Transportation
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Global Visualization of  Human Transportation

Global Visualization of Human Transportation

Say:

Now I’m going to show you a different map of our planet. Do you think the colors now represent a natural or human-made system? [Pause.] That’s right. This image shows us human transportation routes. Blue represents shipping. Red represents air travel. Yellow shows highway traffic.

This is another way to see our world—systems that we humans have built. We design systems for food, clean water, transportation; buildings to live, work, learn, and play.

Where do we get the energy for these systems?

We power these systems mostly by burning fossil fuels, which is disrupting Earth’s climate system.

Each year, we burn huge amounts of fossil fuel (coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gas).

Currently, we burn fossil fuels to provide energy for vehicles, buildings, manufacturing and almost everything that requires electricity or power.

Burning releases carbon dioxide into air. The carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere where it acts like a heat-trapping blanket.

The ocean is holding most of the trapped heat, so it is getting warmer. As the ocean warms, that means that the heart—the circulatory system—of the Earth is being stressed. Changes in the ocean circulation lead to disruptions for many species of ocean animals and ecosystems. 

By moving away from using fossil fuels to power human systems, we can help to protect the ocean as our climate’s heart and safeguard the health of Earth’s systems. 

Many people from all walks of lifefrom business leaders, to faith groups, to school studentsare leading or participating in efforts to protect the ocean by moving away from fossil fuels. The potential is great. Let’s consider the global potential for wind and solar energy to help build new systems for people to use.

Notes and Rationale:

Allow time for the audience to understand and inquire about the information shown with this image. The image relays a full year’s worth of data on human transportation.

Allow time for the audience to understand and inquire about the information shown with this image. The image relays a full year’s worth of data on human transportation.

“We humans” is keyit evokes a sense of shared responsibility for these systems, rather than assigning control to a nebulous ‘they.’

While the burning of fossil fuels is not the only source of carbon dioxide (or heat-trapping gases) in the modern world, it is the most important, and it is a key message we want visitors to take away. In this discussion, note the present tense. Often times, climate change is discussed as a problem for the future, but climate change has been happening and is happening now.

Though it may seem redundant, it is important to list what we mean by fossil fuelespecially natural gas, which is sometimes confused with biogas or other non-fossil fuels. By using the word “currently,” we imply that there are alternative solutions to our energy needs.

The tested Explanatory Metaphor of Heat-Trapping Blanket focuses the public on the key characteristic of carbon dioxide: it traps heat. Use a hand gesture to mimic the blanket covering the globe when you introduce this analogy.

The ocean stores much more heat than does the atmosphere. About 18 times more heat has been stored in the ocean since the mid-1950s due to climate change than has been stored in the atmosphere. See Science Summary for effects on ocean currents and research on species disruptions.

This beat introduces the frame element of Solutionsfocusing on “energy shift”and adds cues for Protection to connect this idea to one of the public’s deeply held Values. The focus on alternative energy as the “meta-Solution” is an important part of the Visualizing Change strategy for educating the public on the implications of climate science.

Pilot testing revealed the need to restate key concepts multiple times, to make allowances for visitor distractions and the like. Here, the overall goal of “moving away from fossil fuels” is repeated.

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