Climate Literacy

It is essential for all Rhode Islanders to have a general understanding of the influence climate and weather has on human society, and how human actions influence climate and weather patterns.

It is also important to understand local climate change effects and how Rhode Island fits into national and international climate change trends. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) describes people who are “climate literate” as those who:

  • Understand the essential principles of all aspects of the Earth system governing climate patterns;
  • Know how to gather information about climate and weather, and how to distinguish credible from non-credible scientific sources on the subject;
  • Understand the influence of climate and weather on human society as well as the influence of human society on climate and weather patterns;
  • Can communicate about climate and climate change in a meaningful way; and
  • Can make scientifically informed and responsible personal decisions.

Life on earth depends on, has been shaped by, and affects the climate. Climate varies over space and time through both natural and man-made processes.

Human activities are impacting the climate system. Changes in the climate will have consequences for the Earth and human lives. We know this through direct measurement and by using computer models.

Click here to see the climate literacy principles set forth by the US Global Change Research Program.

Click here to see a set of energy literacy principles developed by the US Department of Energy.

Teaching Climate Literacy

Teachers of all disciplines and all levels can add climate change education to their curricula. We have compiled a list of resources to help you find data, maps, tools, and reports with local as well as national information.

The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) has a number of modules that build on the climate literacy principles. These modules are tied to next generation science standards and use the overarching principle that humans can take actions to reduce climate change and its impacts.