ExClimate Week 3 – Signs of Climate Change and ‘Your Stories’

Welcome to Week 3 of Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions! Don’t forget, you can sign-up at any point until the end of the 8-week course and catch up. Once you’ve signed in, all the course content is available forever for you to dip into.

In this week’s course poll, we asked you what signs of climate change you’d witnessed. As of Sunday afternoon, 71% of respondents had seen extreme weather events changing in either frequency or intensity. This could be more storms, harsher droughts or prolonged heatwaves affecting their home. 54% had observed changes in snow or ice cover, and some learners even spoke about glacier retreat. For me, in Exeter, UK, I’ve noticed snow cover decreasing rapidly over the last 20 years. It used to be common that we’d have at least a couple of snow days each winter, but there has been nothing since 2010.

Most learners thought sea level rise would be have the biggest global impact, perhaps because so many of the world’s great cities are low-lying or under serious threat from rising seas. However, only 24% had observed this change. Perhaps then it is the effects we cannot see that will have the most impact.

Responses to this week’s poll question; ‘Have you witnessed any signs of climate change?’

One of the most enjoyable parts of facilitating Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions is to hear the stories that are shared on the course discussion boards. Last year, Dr Damien Mansell and I produced a story map (available here) that showcased some of the most inspiring stories from each week of the course. This included people who are currently mitigating against the effects of Climate Change (such as the Maeslantkering storm surge barrier in the Netherlands), as well as highlighting the stories of people who are currently being impacted by the effects of Climate Change. A few screenshots below describe the project:

The story map begins by highlighting the spatial diversity of our learners. In 2016, learners from over 100 countries joined the course and placed their pin on the map. The dots are interactive, so clicking on each will bring up the reason why the learner joined.
A group from Fiji were active on the discussion boards, and they joined to learn about the risks of sea-level rise and climate change on their village.
In Qatar, a place where air conditioning and human intervention is necessary to survive, one learner talks about the potential risks to the city if climate change persists, such as drought and sea-level rise.

I’m delighted to announce that this year’s story map is currently under production. We are combing the Futurelearn discussion boards each week to find, and showcase, some of the most inspiring stories from our global community. If you’d like to let us know more about how climate change is impacting you, please tweet @ClimateExeter, or let us know your story on the Futurelearn course. It really is a privilege to hear what you are sharing, and we have some exciting plans for the story map this year. I’ve attached a screenshot below that highlights one of the stories we are sharing in the new project.

Please get in touch if you have any additions, suggestions or ideas for how we can share Your Stories.


Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 14.30.49.png
In a story describing Climate Change in Alaska, we invite you to interact with the map behind the story – click on the glaciers (highlighted in blue) to see how they are changing in time.

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