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Narrative: Sea Level Rise
Background
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Narrative: Sea Level Rise
Background
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Teaching goals of this narrative

The Sea Level Rise Narrative has the following main learning objectives:

  • We have a shared responsibility to engage in collective solutions to protect people, places, and habitats.
  • 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.
  • This “blanket effect” has a range of undesirable consequences. One is that the level of the sea is rising. As the water warms, it expands, which is the main cause of sea level rise. Also, a warmer global temperature is causing ice caps and glaciers to melt, which adds more water to the seas.
  • The rising sea level has negative consequences for people and places.
  • 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.
  • What happens on land might affect the ocean (for example, through pollution) but what happens in the ocean has little effect on land.
  • Carbon dioxide is natural—and therefore, it cannot be harmful.
  • There’s a short list of negative effects of climate change—and if they happen, they will take place far in the future. 
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