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July 11, 2014

What is Global Warming? Talks on Audio & Video

Climate change is now a burning issue as we enter the first decades of the 21st century. With this list of free audio and video resources, LearnOutLoud.com asks "What is Global Warming?" In this selection of lectures and recorded discussions, various pundits explore the worldwide problem of climate change from a scientific and political perspective, and offer solutions for how we might avert global catastrophe. Topics include a history of global warming, how we can decrease our dependence on oil and fossil fuels, and Al Gore's 15 ways we can avert a climate crisis. Learn more about how scientists and politicians are working to save the earth by clicking any of the links here:

1. Global Warming

The University of Chicago presents a full course on the history, science, and possible future development of Earth's climate provided in a series of 23 video lectures taught by Professor David Archer. The first half of the course covers the basic physics, such as how the climate of the earth is determined by the energy of the sun, and what role green house gas emissions play. The second half talks how carbon helped form life, why the sun has provided such a stable global temperature, and other delicate details that make the planet hospitable for life. By the end of the quarter, Archer will talk about the toll human activity has had on the eco-system and what we can do to avoid future problems. The entire course offers a top to bottom education on the latest science behind global warming.

2. American Denial of Global Warming

In this streaming talk provided by UCTV, science historian Naomi Oreskes shows how mainstream views on global climate change developed and became more politicized throughout the 20th century. Oreskes begins by tracing how the earliest green house gas studies were conducted in the 1930s, and how by the 1960s, many leading voices in the scientific community on both sides of the political spectrum were making dire predictions about future climate change. Citing that many Americans still believe there is a controversy within scientific circles over the reality of global warming, she argues that this confusion is partly due to a concerted effort made by a few politically-driven organizations to muddy the issue. What would drive these groups to argue against an issue that could have such dire consequences for humanity? Oreskes has some interesting answers.

3. Global Warming in Earth's History

This is the first lecture from the Modern Scholar course Global Warming, Global Threat taught by Professor Michael B. McElroy. In this lecture professor Michael B. McElroy introduces the worldwide experiment we have embarked on through the increase in global temperature. He covers some of the basics of global warming such as the greenhouse effect, the gases that contribute to global warming, and what creates the climate on Earth. He then puts humanity and global warming in the context of Earth's entire history going back 4.5 billion years ago. He uses a calendar year as a reference for Earth's history and places global warming at the last few seconds before midnight on December 31st. It's an excellent introductory lecture for placing global warming in global history.

4. Field Notes from a Catastrophe

The hard facts of our changing climate are detailed in this sobering digital download lecture presented by WGBH. Here Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert and author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe explains how scientists first identified the possibility of climate shift over 100 years ago and then she traces scientific research up the present day, concluding with an undeniable portrait of what Earth will look like in the coming decades. What was once the realm of speculation is now an imminent threat, as scientists announce record temperatures every year; here you will find out what's happening and what can be done for future generations. This lecture is available on streaming video through YouTube.

5. Al Gore: 15 Ways to Avert a Climate Crisis

Al Gore lays out 15 ways to avert climate crisis through our personal and professional lives. He plays a brief slide show and provides examples of many of the ways that these steps are being used in action. Speaking to a business audience at the TED conference he also points out important steps that businesses can take to influence climate change. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download from the TED.com website.

6. Winning the Oil Endgame

Author Amory Lovins lays out his plan to help America kick the oil habit in this instructive lecture released by MIT World. In a matter of fact style that drives home the point that change is obviously upon us, Lovins shows how cars, planes and other vehicles can be made to run without fossil fuel after a one-time investment from the major U.S. manufacturers. He then shows how a firmer commitment made by business men and politicians would lead to not only greater financial returns and more efficient vehicles, but a cleaner, brighter future. Check out this free lecture on streaming audio & video from MIT World.