Guest post by Chuck McCutcheon
With Earth Day here, and summertime following after that, more attention will be paid to the problem of climate change. But even for adults, it can be a confusing topic. Too many Americans still don't believe it exists, and even among those who do, there's a tendency to think that a period of colder-than-usual weather means that the effects of climate change are exaggerated.
As someone who has written a critically acclaimed book for students aged 9 and older, and who has given lectures at schools around the country, I'd like to offer a few helpful areas to emphasize, based on the questions that I most often get asked.
Climate change is real, and people are causing it. There is no debate about this among international scientists. If you or anyone you know doubts this, please look at Grist.org's handy guide. But if your children are confused, you can simply tell them that science is not just like math; it doesn't always produces a single, universally agreed-on answer.
Global warming is a part – arguably the major part – of climate change. Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of the earth over several years or decades. Climate change refers to global warming as well as other changes in climate, like more common and intense extreme weather, and a rise in sea levels.