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  • Writer's pictureDr. Minna Allarakhia

Climate Education Series: The Truth Matters in Climate Change

Updated: Mar 3

In this module, you will consider how you can become better aware of the issues surrounding the environment. You will consider the following questions: What does it mean to say “credible” sources? And what sources of information might be credible?

Sources of Information With the increased access to technology, we have not only become better connected to one another, but we also have become overwhelmed with information from so many different sources. From emails, to traditional media that have transitioned online, to an ever increasing number social media platforms, access to information, in a variety of forms, is never been more easier. The question is, how do we manage this deluge of information, to find the most accurate sources to guide our education and decision making processes?

Reflect on the number of social media platforms you use to access information. Then consider why you use these platforms. Is it to connect to your friends, or to find information? What type of influence do your peers have, on your own thought-processes? And how many different sources of information might you use, when conducting research on a topic?

Verifiable and Scientifically Accurate Sources of Information

It is critical to use verifiable, and scientifically accurate sources of information when learning about issues, and conducting research. Look closely at any article that you read: who is the author, and what is the author's motive; does the author also cite other reputable resources, and/or include data that is consistent across other sources. Assess how the data was collected. Is the article an opinion piece, or an unbiased, factually driven piece.

There is an abundance of information available, including research papers, white papers, news articles, or other online sources, that we can use, to better understand climate change, and climate action. Research papers tend to be peer reviewed, and or authored by multiple people, usually at universities or colleges. Take a look at these authors and what else they might have published. White papers may also be authored by multiple people, but might not be peer reviewed. It is important to pay attention to who the authors are of these papers, and who might have sponsored the paper. News articles and other online sources, should be used carefully, to ensure that they provide factually driven, verifiable information, with citations or links to the data sourced for the article or website.

By using multiple sources of information, you can learn about the different data supporting a particular research topic. You will also be able to notice the patterns in data cited, and consistency with respect to conclusions arising from the data.

List of Criteria to Verify Your Source

Create a list of criteria, to verify and determine the credibility of any resource you plan to use: such as authors, date of publication, publication type and ownership, the use of verifiable facts, citations and references, factual versus opinion piece.

In the discussion of climate change and its causes, it is imperative that scientifically accurate, data driven information, is used to help people understand the underlying issues, and their role in reducing their carbon, plastic, food and waste prints. To collectively make progress, and protect the people in our communities, we need to be careful to share credible pieces of information, published in reputable publications, and sites. The truth matters in climate change.

Assignment 9: Groups of students should select a variety of research resources to analyze, including research papers, white papers, news articles, or other online sources, that discuss the causes of climate change. Students will create a list of criteria they will use, to verify and determine the credibility of the selected resource, such as, authors, date, verifiable facts, citations and references, factual versus opinion piece. Students should also look closely at the journal, newspaper, or site, where the resource has been published, the historical perspective of the publication, and ownership of publications or website. Using the selected criteria, students will assess if their chosen resource is credible, or not. Student findings should be shared with the class. The teacher should direct the discussion to create a list of credible resources, that can be used to understand issues related to climate change.

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