From the lowest trophic level to the highest tertiary consumer, all organisms depend on each other for survival. Despite these intricate interdependencies, the relationship between humans and the Earth is poorly maintained, as anthropogenic climate change has wrought massive destruction on the environment and on the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Since emissions from one country affect the livelihoods of billions of people in hundreds of other countries, the effects of climate change can be seen across the world, from Japanese islands disappearing underwater due to rising sea levels to extended droughts in African nations. The interdependent nature of our ecosystem and the global effects of climate change both underscore the immediate and vital importance of mindful and respectful interdependent relationships. Humans across the globe must join together to rapidly and substantively address the climate crisis.
Have Only a Few Minutes to Learn More About Climate Change?
Causes and Effects of Climate Change by National Geographic
COVID-19’s Long-Term Effects on Climate Change—For Better or Worse by Renee Cho
What the Coronavirus teaches us about Climate Change (COVID-19). by Our Changing Climate
Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change by Justin Gillis
World 101: Climate Change by Council on Foreign Relations
Climate Change, Risks and Challenges — ClimateMOOC by WWF
Dive Deeper into Climate Change
Addressing the climate crisis and ensuring the future health and survival of Earth and its inhabitants requires a united response. Below is a list of organizations that you can get involved with to make a difference.
Sign the OneShared.World Pledge of Interdependence
Environmental Justice Foundation
“Silhouette of tree” photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash
“There is NO Planet B” photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Activities & Further Resources
ON THE SCIENCE OF ECOLOGICAL INTERCONNECTEDNESS & CLIMATE CHANGE
Watch this Ted Talk by Eric Berlow to better your understanding of food chains and the cycle of energy through ecosystems. When watching the video, remember to think about the connections between different organisms and frame your analysis in terms of interdependence.
Dead stuff: The Secret Ingredient in Our Food Chain by Eric Berlow
Engage with these food web activities to further your study of the interrelationships between organisms in various ecosystems.
Build Food Chains and Food Webs
The disastrous impacts of climate change from rising sea levels to an increase in major natural disasters have shown us that humans depend on the Earth as much as the Earth depends on them.
Watch this Ted Talk by Cheryl Holder which discusses the connection between the impacts of climate change on public health and impoverished populations. When watching the video, think about how this reality reveals the negative and unequal aspects of human interdependence. Explore the Biology & Public Health Deep Dive section to learn more about environmental racism.
The Link Between Climate Change, Health, and Poverty by Cheryl Holder
Use these NASA activities on climate change to further your knowledge of its causes and impacts.
Introduction to Earth’s Dynamically Changing Climate
Coastal Consequences of Sea Level Rise
ON THE GLOBAL RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change was first robustly addressed at the global level at the 1972 First Earth Summit. Since then, major international responses to climate change have included the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set emissions reduction targets for countries, and the 2015 Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement further strengthened the global response to the climate crisis by setting a temperature increase cap of two degrees celsius. 188 countries and the EU have ratified the document to date. However, halting global warming is an enormous task and much more needs to be done on both the individual and global level.
Learn more about the history of global climate change dialogue and the current need for a joint global response:
UN Climate Talks: 1992-2020 by CFR
Climate Change by Amnesty International. This resource touches upon the human rights element of climate change and identifies the groups that are most negatively impacted.
Climate Change Has Lessons for Fighting the Coronavirus by Somini Sengupta
A Crash Course on Climate Change, 50 Years After the First Earth Day by Climate101
Watch this short video in which Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, speaks to the need for a global response to climate change.
Readings, Films & Art Related to Climate Change
No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells
Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas
Storms of My Grandchildren by James Hansen
Losing Earth: A Recent History by Nathaniel Rich
Interdependence of Organisms and the Environment by Isaac Nadeau
Positive Interactions and Interdependence in Plant Communities by Ragan M. Callaway
Our Planet, One Health by Merrilyn Walton
Aruanas, a Brazilian series created by Estela Renner and Marcos Nisti
Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
American War by Omar El Akkad
Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad
Birds Watching by Jenny Kendler
Malum Geminos and Afterglow by Courtney Mattison
Underwater Home Owners’ Association by Xavier Cortada
Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright
“A Language of Change” by David Sergeant
“X” by Imtiaz Dharker
“Utilomar” by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner
“A Radiant Romance” by Matt Harvey
The Islands and the Whales
The Memory of Fish
Ice on Fire
Before the Flood
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret
Out of the Blue
Forget Shorter Showers
The Intersection of Environmental and Racial Justice by Rinku Sen