Ocean and Climate Change Education Using Fiction
Event: 2019 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting
Session: Outreach, Education and Altimetric Data Services
Presentation type: Type Oral
In an era where the opinions of experts are derided and facts themselves are questioned, alternative ways are needed to reach the public about the threats to the ocean environment and the role of the ocean in climate change. Fictional narratives can hold the attention of an audience and increase retention of information more than fact-based presentations. We are producing a climate-fiction ("cli-fi") web series about scientists' response to interference in sea level observations using a thriller format. "An Unlikely Insurgency" integrates accurate climate and ocean science into a story about the sabotage of a sea level satellite, the consequences for hurricane prediction and the actions taken by an outraged public. Scientists form a secret organization (the Insurgency) to counter and expose political meddling by climate deniers. The characters include a climate scientist and her daughter (a network security engineer), her graduate student and a coastal biologist. Their personal interactions, as well as their dedication to their mission, carry the narrative through political intrigue, generational conflict and romance, combined with discussions of sea level and its measurement. The goal is to illustrate the possible disastrous consequences of interference in climate research and loss of our measurement systems. We will show one (of five) eleven-minute episodes.