Simply the best climate change film ever, in our view. This must-see PBS/NSF special stars Penn State glaciologist Richard B. Alley. Alley is a rare species: an actively-publishing, deeply-knowledgeable climate researcher, who also happens to also be a highly-effective and entertaining communicator.
Alley has a knack for making complex topics easy to understand and fun. With humor, pluck and indefatigable optimism, Alley -- a self-described church-going, registered Republican -- takes the viewer on a journey of discovery around the world to see climate change first-hand, in the field. Hold on to your seat, it's a wild ride -- rappelling into a glacial crevassse, climbing desert dunes, even bungee jumping.
Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a respected atmospheric scientist who teaches at Texas Tech, also happens to be an evangelical Christian, which gives her a unique voice and access to important communities rarely reached by others.
She's also a gifted communicator, with a calm clear voice and a knack for stripping things down to the nub and saying it in language everybody can understand.
Graphic artist Peter Sinclair rebuts climate skeptical arguments with short, snappy videos that manage to combine humor and lush graphics with solid sourcing in the scientific literature.
Sinclair narrates -- calmly and quietly, never preachy or pedantic -- but lets climate experts themselves make the key points. He often employs a very effective technique of visual documentation: First he shows an actual photo of the most relevant peer-reviewed journal article, then he zooms in, enlarging a single key sentence that punctures the denialist argument. You'll feel like cheering!
Richard Somerville shows how it's done, as he nails this interview with ABC news, answering the "big four" questions about climate change:
- Is it happening?
- Is it us?
- What will be the impact?
- What can we do about it?
In the brilliant NOVA series "Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers" scientists first introduce themselves and briefly describe their life's work in plain English everybody can understand. Then they share a "secret" -- a hidden passion, hobby or moonlight job.
It's funny, it's cute, it's quick and beautifully edited. But mostly it is very humanizing. You get to see scientists as whole people, not disembodied brains.
High school science teacher Greg Craven's wacky homemade videos at the Manpollo Project reframe the climate question as "Given the risks and uncertainties on all sides, who should we believe and what should we do?"
This unusual approach weaves a far different narrative from most climate presentations.
With ample humor and silly hats, Craven uses plain talk to guide the viewer step-by-step through basic risk management to consider: "What's the worst that could happen if we act, or fail to act?"
For examples of how to make writing about climate both exciting and beautiful, you can't find any better source than this book.
Kolbert traveled the globe to visit scientists in the field, and talk to people in Alaska and other places that climate change is already hitting hard. Through stories, anecdotes, and lots of turgid quotes, Kolbert reveals rather then preaches, in The New Yorker's inimitable style.
Some of the data may be a bit dated now, but beautiful writing never grows old.