Our changing climate presents one of the most important challenges of the 21st century. Science helps us understand how the atmosphere has changed over time and how the future climate might impact our lives. Now, it’s your chance to teach others about the science of climate change through art. For our 7th annual climate change artwork competition, we are asking young artists to address one of the following prompts with their artwork

Young people will be more affected by climate change than any adult they might know. While climate change is happening now, projects 40, 50, and 100 years out indicate that the changes will grow in severity and intensity. Therefore, every student should learn as much as they can about what climate change means, how it happens, and what can be done about it.  

This year, Cool Science poses three important prompts:

  • The "Greenhouse Effect" warms the surface of the Earth. Greenhouse gases absorb heat energy that would otherwise leave the surface of the Earth. Burning of fossil fuels enhances this effect by increasing Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere leading to increasing surface temperatures. Create an image that explains how the Greenhouse Effect works.
  • Fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil all produce carbon dioxide when they are burned to produce energy.  What energy sources lead to fewer carbon dioxide emissions than fossil fuels?
  • Hurricanes are generated over warm oceans and travel towards land. When they hit land (the East Coast of the US for example), they can cause destruction of homes, flooding, and disruption of everyday life. How can your community prepare for more frequent and/or more intense hurricanes?

Understanding the concepts or ideas related to these prompts will help you become a scientifically literate member of society. Why do you need to be literate in science?  If you are knowledgeable about the basic science of climate change, then you will be able to make informed decisions that reflect what you think is best for you, your friends, and family. As an adult, you will decide what products to buy, where to live, which type of car to drive (if you want a car), and who to vote into office. As an individual who understands science, you will be in a better position to understand the complexity of a problem and the means to find a solution. Check out the following sites as they are all good places to start. Also, don’t forget to check out some of the really cool (no pun intended) videos in the resources section. We recommend you watch the SpongeBob Squarepants video first!

Resources

  • A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change - Here is a complete and easy to navigate site from the Environmental Protection Agency that is designed for students. It is a great place to get some basic information, see some cool videos, and examine interesting diagrams/images.
  • Climate Kids is a fantastic site for kids designed and hosted by NASA. While good for students of all ages, younger learners will probably enjoy it the most.
  • Hot Earth is presented by Tiki the Penguin and is characterized by many colorful and entertaining cartoon images. Tiki the Penguin has a way of explaining complex science terms in simple and easy to understand ways!