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Smithsonian's Climate Change Statement

In October 2014, the Smithsonian Institution released its first official statement on climate change. Then Smithsonian Secretary, G. Wayne Clough provides perspective on this landmark statement.


Conversation Club

  1. The video opens by describing the impact humans are having on “natural systems.” What do you think these are? Can you provide specific examples based on the images that appear on screen?
  2. Why do you think that the Smithsonian Institution might have felt that it was important to issue a statement about its position on climate change?
  3. Secretary Clough describes the Smithsonian as “an honest broker” when it comes to researching climate change. What do you think this means? Why might it be important to be an honest broker? Why might the Smithsonian be a useful source for information as opposed to, for instance, media outlets like local newspapers or regional television stations? What other organizations or institutions do you think might be an interesting resource for this type of information?
  4. The statement, when read, calls for better understanding of the causes and the risks of changes to the Earth’s climate. How might those two things be measured and analyzed? Can you think of examples?
  5. Do you agree that the increase in digital information and online technologies will allow more people to be engaged, especially outside the United States? How might it be easier? How might it also disadvantage some people?
  6. Secretary Clough names a few specific animals when talking about how different species might be impacted by climate change. Is there a particular animal that is of special interest to you? Are there particular climate change issues that you see taking place around you?
  7. To borrow Secretary Clough’s wording, what “experience of a beautiful world” have you had that you would also want your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren be able to also have? Also, is there an experience that your own grandparents had that you have not been able to experience yourself because of changes to the environment?
  8. Based on how the video describes the Smithsonian Institution, what would you want to learn if you could come to one of the Smithsonian museums? If you could ask a Smithsonian researcher any question, what would it be?

Video Series

This video exists as part of a series gathered around the theme of Education. Other videos in this series are listed below.

Expanding College Opportunities
Expanding College Opportunities
Is Human Evolution Over?
Is Human Evolution Over?
Voice of Witness
Voice of Witness
A Passionate Educator
A Passionate Educator
Smithsonian's Climate Change Statement
Smithsonian's Climate Change Statement
Bill Morrison’s masterpiece of found footage
Bill Morrison’s masterpiece of found footage
Saumil Bandyopadhyay’s Nanoscale Infrared Detector
Saumil Bandyopadhyay’s Nanoscale Infrared Detector
Adam Steltzner Looks Beyond Mars
Adam Steltzner Looks Beyond Mars