City Lit Blog

Climate Change

Story added 8th Oct 2020

Article by City Lit tutor Dr Martin Jorgensen

Some of the effects of large-scale human-made climate change and pollution can be experienced by humans in every-day life. Others are measurable only through complex instruments used in transnational scientific collaboration. One way or the other, humanity is becoming increasingly aware of both the challenges and the need for change.

In recent weeks, for example, it was report in the media that the population of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles has dropped by no less than 68% on average between 1970 and 2016. Another report deems 40% of all plant species at risk. Other research reported in the news also predicts that the iceshelf of Greenland will see more ice melt in this century alone than in the previous 12,000 years combined. Despite it being increasingly obvious that these problems are on a planetary scale, reports also show that governments around the world have failed to meet a single target to stem biodiversity losses.

Yet, more hopeful news also reminds us of humanity’s potential for change. For example, researchers have been able to create an enzyme that appears to be able to eat plastic bottles six times faster than currently the case with huge potential implications for ocean clean-ups. In another optimistic report, 64 political leaders from 5 continents seem willing to put geopolitics aside for the sake of global action with promises of focusing on climate in COVID-19 recovery plans - with efforts to transition to sustainable food systems, restore biodiversity, and halt deforestation and unsustainable fishing.

Given the challenges ahead, humanity’s response(s) to climate change and pollution will affect everything from everyday life to global politics and our relationship with the planet as we move further into the 21st century. An awareness and an understanding of the issues will be central to this undertaking.     


Science & Nature at City Lit

To play our part in building spaces for reflection and discussion, City Lit offers three introductory courses on climate change this term. Our shorter course offers a brief introduction while the two other courses offer a particular focus on wildlife adaptation and a deeper look at climate science.

Whichever the format and focus, they will help you better understand climate change:

You can find these and more courses in our science and nature section here.