Welcome to the Earth to Sky “Starter Kit” for Climate Change Communication!

These learning resources are provided as a starting point for building fundamental skills needed for engaging the public about climate change as a critical issue affecting public lands and resources. These tools were chosen to give you a basis for further exploration and learning about basic climate science, knowing your audience, and appropriate interpretation techniques.

The estimated completion time for the entire "kit" is 6-8 hours, depending upon your skill level. The segments of the kit may be completed in any sequence.

Knowledge of the Resource NASA ABoVE scientists in the field

  1. Take the Climate Change: Fitting the Pieces Together tutorial
    This professional development module from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research’s MetEd discusses climate change, particularly as it is currently being affected by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases emitted by human activities. It also covers signs of climate change, how scientists study climate, the current thinking on future changes, and what can be done to minimize the effects. Note: If the link below does not take you directly to the module, navigate to the Education & Training tab and use the drop down menu to get the list of modules on climate. Then scroll down to Climate Change: Fitting the Pieces Together


  2. Complete the Introduction to Earth Systems Module - Climate scientists view Earth as a system of systems. This module will introduce you to the basics of this approach to understanding how our planet works, and help you apply that thinking to your own location and our changing climate. This is foundational for understanding climate change and provides a context for climate science, which can be useful for your own learning as well as for your visitors. Plan on about 2 hours to complete. You may start and stop at any time.


  3. pdfPiers Sellers  and Leonardo DiCaprio at NASA GSFC HyperwallInterview an Expert – Download this list of prompting questions for use in interviewing a local climate subject matter expert. This important activity will help inform or broaden your understanding of the climate change issues or stories, actual or potential, at your site.


  4. Identify at Least One Useful Resource From These Websites



Knowledge of the AudienceYale Opinion Map sm

  1. pdfGlobal Warming’s Six Americas 2009. Download and read pages 1-6 of this seminal report. One of the first rules of effective communication is to “know your audience.” Climate change public communication and engagement efforts must start with the fundamental recognition that people are different and have different psychological, cultural, and political reasons for acting – or not acting– to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This report identifies six types of audiences within the American public, each responding to the topic in their own distinct way. Several more recent follow-up reports to this initial research are also available at http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/about/projects/global-warmings-six-americas/



Appropriate TechniquesBiologist teaches children about the Monarch butterfly

  1. Take the Foundations of Interpretation on-line tutorial
    If you are new to interpretation this is a great place to start. Whether your communication efforts are targeted at formal or informal learning, this short tutorial (1-2 hours) can help you consider ways to make your communication more meaningful, relevant and engaging for your audiences. Register for this free, National Park Service - developed course at 
    Additional readings are here:  http://idp.eppley.org/training/entry/tools/foundations


pdfRead the NPS Appropriate Techniques and Strategies Guide This 18 page guide is a part of NPS' Interpreting Climate Change self study modules. If you are an experienced interpreter, this component of the NPS excellent self study modules may prove especially helpful. Included are techniques and examples of how interpreters are connecting climate change to the main themes of their parks. For a more in-depth treatment of interpretation methodology with respect to climate, you may also be interested in the entire suite of self study modules available here.


  1. pdfCommunication Strategies for Interpreting Climate Change—Controversy vs. Conflict. Download and read this training handout from the NPS Interpretive Development Program, that provides guidance and encouragement for dealing with a controversial topic.