Design & Discovery Forum on Climate Science, Children, and the Media

Opportunities for better media for kids

by John Fraser
May 31, 2022

On February 11, 2022, the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) hosted an NSF Design and Discovery Forum to stimulate a national conversation on the topic of climate science education for children ages 5-11. The online event explored the potential for the media industry to collaborate with the scientific community to create content that is scientifically accurate and effectively engages children with climate science. Panels of invited speakers and audience members discussed:

  • What media producers need to know about communicating climate science and the impacts of climate change?
  • How to meaningfully engage historically underserved and underrepresented families in the creation of climate science-themed media?
  • Successful science-media collaborations

The third in a series of panels was moderated by Anya Kamenetz of NPR, with President & CEO of Knology, psychologist Dr. John Fraser, oceanographer, Claudia Benitez-Nelson, Distinguished Professor and Associate Dean for Instruction, Community Engagement and Research, at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Kate Marvel Associate research scientist at Columbia University / NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Judith Van Hoorn, Professor Ermerita at the University of the Pacific.

During the panel discussion, Dr. Fraser and Dr. Hoorn focused on the importance of understanding a child’s developmental level, and acknowledging the few years they have to reflect on for considering patterns and conditions in their lives. Fraser reiterated that to face the climate crisis as a behavioral problem will require educators and media to focus on living in adaptive systems, and acknowledging the climate realities of their future. The entire video is available for viewing here.

Banner image: Karina Branson (used with permission)

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