The years from 1979 to 1989 were critical for climate action. At the start of this decade, scientific consensus about global warming was beginning to emerge. By the middle of the decade, 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,” an authoritative 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. In this 5-minute video, Rich introduces the story and reflects on its central questions.
“Losing Earth” and the accompanying 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.