This Video Is All Your Kid Needs to Understand Climate Science

Lessons on climate change don’t require wonky charts or boring lectures. They can sometimes be as simple—and cute—as an animated video featuring penguins, an elephant seal, and some researchers ready for the freezing temperatures of Antarctica.

That’s the takeaway from this video released during the Hay Festival, which strives to present art and science ideas to help visitors imagine what the world could be in the future. That, of course, involves some explaining on climate change.

The Trans.MISSION series the festival put on in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council. Message from Antarctica might be its cutest production yet.


The video, created by Emily Shuckburgh, an oceanographer at the British Antarctic Survey, and Chris Haughton, an award-winning author and illustrator, is tailored toward younger viewers. “We were trying to make it accessible as possible,” Haughton told Earther in an email.

The video shows the orange-suited scientists taking ice samples to learn about historic levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The science can be a little tricky to explain, but this video makes it easy to digest: Little bubbles in ice tell us how much carbon dioxide existed in the atmosphere in years past. The video goes on to explain how scientists have used this information to show that carbon emissions today are off the charts—and what that means for the world around us.

Artists can play a major role in conversations around climate change, collaborating with scientists in the past to create a hope-filled children’s book, this museum-worth visualization of rising temperatures, and much more. The rest of the videos in the Trans.MISSION series, which include lessons on clean air and weather, also use art to captivate audiences in a way that numbers and words sometimes can’t.

Watch the other videos here.


Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.

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Nobody does children communications about actions leading to pending doom better than medieval church art. For example, the art below shows almost everybody could burn in hell - even little kids and popes, unless they learn to fly right. Or cut their greenhouse gas emission in the case of climate change communications.

Even nursery rhymes of yore did it better job at communicating than our modern day communications majors making at least six figures to come up with yet another lame cartoon for kids to mock like the crying Indian back in the 1970s.

Cute kids playing ring around the rosie. Here’s an annotated version of the nursery rhyme:

Ring around the rosie,

[refers to the rosie-red (or purple-ish) round rash marks on the skin —one of the first signs a person had the plague]

A pocket full of posies;

[one of the superstitious ways used by people in the Middle Ages to try and fend off the plague was to stuff their pockets with posies (flowers)]

Atischoo, atischoo,

[sneezing was also an early sign of the plague if it was a pneumonic plague; however, not all types of plague involved sneezing]

or, Ashes, ashes

[the dead were often cremated]

We all fall down.

[most of the people stricken with the plague died]

The only way to get kids concerned about global warming is to scare the ever living fucking bejesus out of ‘em.