Finding out more about climate change is important, but it can be intimidating as there are so many different resources available. To simplify your search, I spent some time, researching good climate resources and gathered them for you. It does not aim to be a complete list of sources. Instead, it should give you ideas to follow when doing your research and a place to come back to for some inspiration.
Minding your mental health
Before you start, I want to remind you that as you research climate topics, your findings might make you feel bad or impatient; this is very normal when facing such impactful facts. The climate crisis is real and we are vulnerable, but we’re not alone, we are all together in this. We should always embrace opportunities to talk to each other about our fears while (or even before) taking action.
Because positive news are so helpful in this, I firstly wanted to tell you about a ‘Good News’ newsletter by TheDailyClimate. It comes out every Tuesday and highlights positive climate developments as Bangladesh opening its first metro line, USPS plan for electric vehicles or, seeing Nepal successfully fighting deforestation. Source: www.dailyclimate.org/good-news
In researching a new topic, as a beginner or for new inspiration, easily-accessible information to gain a basic understanding can be of big help. Many climate scientists agree, facts alone aren’t enough for most people to really understand a topic. It seems that most people need to hear stories or hear about others’ actual experiences in order to engage further with a topic. To emotionally understand climate topics and in order to explain things well to others, I have compiled a few reliable, accessible, and educational climate resources.
My personal go-to source, are videos of a climate YouTuber called ‘Climate Adam’. In real life Adam holds a Doctor in Climate Science from Oxford and tries to make climate knowledge more accessible through his YouTube channel. In his nerdy and very likeable way he answers questions such as ‘Why haven’t we solved Climate Change (yet)?’, briefly explains IPCC reports and gives ‘5 Ways to Fight Climate Change NOW’.
The podcast ‘Yikes’, by the climate justice activists Mikaela Loach and Jo Becker is another example of lively climate education. They ‘breakdown issues in an accessible, intersectional and nuanced way to guide us toward action together,’ while inspiring and educating at the same time. If you’re a fan of podcasts, you might also look up others, such as ‘The Climate Question’, ‘Drilled’, ‘How To Save A Planet’, ‘Outrage & Optimism’, and ‘For What It’s Earth’ are just a small collection of the podcasts that you can find on common streaming providers.
The field of accessible climate action is endless and here in this short article, I have only listed a few sources. Apart from YouTube videos and podcasts, there are endless amounts of books, for example Greta Thunbergs ‚The Climate Book‘, which you can find in local libraries, in bookstores, on climate blogs online, and on social media pages.
‘Climate Visuals’ is a rich resource of climate change-related photography for your research and campaigning, and describes itself as “the world’s only evidence-based and impact focused climate photography resource.” Source: https://climatevisuals.org
Finding background information
We see the impacts of the climate crisis already. Not only in extreme weather events in Pakistan, Australia, and other places, but also at our own front doors, wherever we live.
We are not all experts, but we see what is happening and in most cases, climate change is not as complicated as fossil fuel lobbyists might want us to believe. And similarly, it is ok not to know every detail. Most climate scientists will tell you that it is impossible to be an expert in every field and that not knowing every detail should never keep you from taking action for climate justice!
To start off I recommend you more accessible sources before diving into the world of reports and heavy statistics! But as you become familiarized with climate information, you will probably hear, or will have heard about, the ‘United Nations IPCC Report’. Its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gathers climate science from hundreds of researchers around the world. The Panel was set up by the governing bodies of almost 200 countries and publishes reports on climate findings in different fields. As it is a voluminous report, it is a very important source for finding reliable data on environmental issues and is a good place to go if you need global emission data, facts often referenced in the media, and much more.
As you learn more about global environmental issues, you might also want to look at what is happening locally in your area or country. For that purpose, I recommend googling and researching what your local government is doing about climate change. Has it declared a climate emergency?
The ‘Climate Action Tracker’ (CAT) is an independent scientific analysis, tracking climate action toward the globally-agreed aim of holding warming well below 2 degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, the ‘NASA Climate Change’ interactive maps might help you to get a bigger picture before moving on to finding out about your national and local climate policies through government papers. Sources: climateactiontracker.org, climate.nasa.gov.
Diving into a specific topic
Now that you know some things about the climate change topic and have started to get engaged, you might want to research a specific topic. You might know the saying, “The internet is your best friend,” and that might be the best first advice I can give you. But it can also be helpful to seek climate information from teachers or professors, or to refer to books written by climate and sustainability experts.
Now all that’s left to do is to find reliable sources, take some notes and start your work. Some general advice is to stay local in your choice of focus, but do connect with others elsewhere to gain a broad perspective. Never hesitate to ask for advice from people who were active before you were, or anyone who might be able to help you.
Research-wise, you might now focus on more specific papers and available journalism. Concerning global issues, I tend to look at the Climate sections of major publications, such as The Guardian, BBC News, National Geographic, and The New York Times.
For regular updates
Maybe most important, to keep you up to date, I want to provide you with some good sources of regular information regarding environmental news.
In addition to the bigger newspapers and organisations mentioned above, there are also many smaller journals providing great independent coverage of climate issues. They can provide you with stories, facts, or inside news, and often provide more detailed coverage on climate change in the most affected parts of the world. You can get their updates in a daily, weekly, or monthly rhythm by signing up on their websites, or by looking at their archives for inspiration.
– ‘Climate Home News’ gives a weekly analysis and comment on the international politics of the climate crisis. It is good journalism and it often contains first-hand stories of climate injustice that inspire action for activists and others. Source: https://www.climatechangenews.com/
– ‘Inside Climate News’ (ICN) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organisation that provides essential reporting and analysis on climate change, energy and the environment for the public and for decision makers. They call themselves ‘watchdogs’ of government, industry, and advocacy groups and hold them accountable for their policies and actions. Source: https://insideclimatenews.org
– The ‘Climate Investigations Center’ provides you with hundreds of historical documents. Source: https://climateinvestigations.org
In addition to ‘The Daily Climate’ Newsletters mentioned above, it might also be helpful to refer to universities’ and research institutes’ websites. For example, the ‘Yale School of the Environment’ has its own climate newsletter called ‘YaleEnvironment360’, with excellent reports by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, and more. Source: https://environment.yale.edu
Furthermore there are some freely accessible courses on climate topics available online. For example the United Nations offer some and these courses can be a good way of getting a general introduction into specific topics. Source: https://twitter.com/SophiaKianni/status/1618675948853039110?s=20&t=ypNMF39ofqydo4YkmBDKRg
Last but not least, social media is a quick and direct way to get updates on climate issues. With a bit of research you can see what your local politicians are working on, or follow activists as Vanessa Nakate or Ayisha Siddiqua, local climate groups as ‚Friends of the Earth‘ or ‚Stop Climate Chaos‘ and climate scientists, such as Peter Kalmus, Megan Rowling and Chloé Farand.
These are a few of my personal favourite resources with tips to assist your research. I hope this list inspires you to continue exploring and asking questions. The list is a long and incomplete collection of sources. Many of the resources centre around English-speaking countries and I would have loved to include more voices from other parts of the world. Additionally, there are many noteworthy sources not mentioned in this article, feel free to share your favourite climate resources in the comments.