NCWR

About NCWR

Climate change: Why should I care?

In a nutshell

In this activity we start discussing about climate change and explain the greenhouse effect. We talk about the main human activities generating greenhouse gases, we calculate our personal carbon footprint and consider what we can do to reduce it, on a personal and at a home level.

2 class hours

12-13 years old

In class

Our objectives

In this activity you will:

  • Be informed about the greenhouse effect to explain climate change.
  • Get to know the greenhouse gases.
  • Explore how climate change is significant to your daily life.
  • Calculate your CO2 footprint and think of ways to reduce it.

Things to use

Notebook and pens

Group activity

How does weather affect us?

Weather affects so many aspects in our daily lives, the way we behave, dress and move and even the way we feel. Recall, for example, how you feel and behave when:

(a) it is very hot;
(b) a thunderstorm breaks out;
(c) it snows;
(d) the sun comes out after days of rain.

In addition, people’s occupations and many professions are affected by the weather. Consider, for example, the following scenarios:

(a) fishermen during the strong wind season;
(b) stock-farmers when a snowfall traps their animals;
(c) farmers when hail falls on their crops.

Even more so, plants and animals are affected by the weather. Imagine what happens, for example:

(a) to a wild flower on a slope without any rain for days;
(b) to a bear in case of a very mild winter with prolonged heat.

GROUP ACTIVITY


Discuss in your groups and give two examples from your region, how  the weather affects A) your life and B) the ecosystem. Present them in the classroom.

Water-readings

How is weather different than climate?

The term  refers to the temperature, the wind, the rainfall, the humidity in a place for a short period of time, i.e. for two or three days. The weather is changing every so often, and it can change several times even within the same day.

How many times did your day start with a bright sun and ended with rain?

On the other hand, the term refers to the prevailing weather conditions (temperature, winds, rain, humidity) of a place for many years.

Climate is a “Director General” on Earth, regulating in any place, what kind of animals and plants can survive; what crops can grow; even what kind of houses to build; what foods to eat, what clothes to wear…

In the Mediterranean basin, the coastal regions are characterised by mild winters and hot summers (Mediterranean Climate).

Play & Learn

How can you tell if the climate is changing? Which of the two scenarios is an indication of climate change?

The weather in a place may vary from year to year, and some years might have higher temperatures

The climate change is occurring when we are talking about changes in the weather of a particular place that are taking place for a long-time.

Water-readings

Τhe “greenhouse” effect

Have you ever been inside a greenhouse during winter time? It may be very cold outside, however inside the greenhouse the plants are doing fine: it’s warm and sunny! The walls of the greenhouse are constructed by glass or plastic in order to retain the heat inside.

The planet’s atmosphere is trapping the sun-rays just like a greenhouse does. A part of the incoming sun radiation bounces  back to the outer space, while a part of it is retained and keeps Earth’s surface warm. Without the atmosphere gases, the average temperature on the planet would be -18°C instead of the current +15°C! This means that the Earth would be a dead frozen planet. It is thanks to the atmosphere and the that life on Earth evolved as we know it.

Why does the climate change?

The balance between the remaining in the atmosphere and that which is emitted back to space is controlled by some gases in the atmosphere, the so-called  greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and  water vapour. These gases are produced mainly from burning the fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas etc.) to cover our needs in energy.

Due to the escalation of burning fossil fuels in the past decades, alongside with deforestation and other interventions, the tremendous increase of the greenhouse gases has disturbed the atmospheric balance: as the atmosphere is now overheated global warming takes place.

Water-readings

Let’s meet the greenhouse gases

What are the key greenhouse gases that contribute to the global warming of the atmosphere? The most known one is carbon dioxide (CO2); however, there are other important greenhouse gases: Despite their smaller concentrations, these have a higher warming effect than CO2 in the atmosphere. To avoid confusion, scientists measure their total global warming impact in tonnes of CO2 equivalents. Which are these gases and where do they come from?

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2): It results mainly from burning fossil fuels to generate energy to move, heat-up, cook, etc. CO2 can be also emitted from human activities on forests and other land use, such as through deforestation, land clearing for agriculture, and degradation of soils.
  • Methane (CH4): It results mainly from agricultural activities, such as intensive cattle-raising, and also from waste management, energy use, and biomass burning.
  • Nitrous oxides (NOx): They result mainly from using fertilisers in agriculture. Fossil fuel combustion also generates N2O.
  • Fluorinated gases (F-gases): This is a group of gases with fluorine, emitted from industrial processes, refrigeration, and the use of a variety of consumer products.

Play & learn

What is the impact of various human activities and other factors on Earth’s climate? Move the mouse over the images to find out how agriculture, livestock, factories, plantation, oceans, etc.  affect the climate.

 climate-change-challenges quiz-hotspot
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Stop and wonder

How much damage can an 1-2°C increase make?

Due to climate change, the Earth’s average temperature has already risen by 1.2°C, and international agreements strive to keep it below 1.5°C in the next decades. Scientists are warning that if we do not reduce the greenhouse emissions, the average temperature can rise from 4°C to 6°C by the end of the century.

In case you are wondering “And how much difference can 1 or 2 degrees increase cause?” just think of the following:

  • Recall of the changes taking place in your body every time you have a fever. Even with a mild fever of 37°C (less than half degree above normal 36.6°C) you probably feel sick and aching; while with a fever of 38°C (that is 1.4°C above normal), you may be stuck  in bed for days!
  • During the last ice age (some 12,000 years ago) all the northern and central parts of Europe were covered by ice. How many degrees would you guess that the average temperature on Earth during that period was? Actually it was only 5 degrees lower than today’s!

Climate change is often so slow that it takes many years to detect. But, no matter where we live, there are probably changes, already evident that affect us in the place we live, such as extreme weather phenomena. Scientists warn that in the years to come, severe floods and droughts will continue, glaciers will shrink, and sea levels will rise.

Group Discussion


  • Discuss in your groups and give at least one example on how climate change is already affecting aspects of everyday life, in the place you live. Present your examples in class.

Activity

My carbon footprint

Are you curious to find out about your own carbon emissions?

With this* or that** free online carbon footprint calculators you can actually measure it. Find out how much CO2 you and your family generate, according to your energy habits at home.

After playing the game, on the next tab:

A) Inform us about your (and/or your family’s) total carbon emissions in … tonnes of CO2 / year and
B) Give us an idea of ​​what you (and/ or your family) can do to reduce it: To reduce my CO2 emissions I could…


* The WWF’s Ecological Footprint Calculator comprises a straight-forward very simple questionnaire about your lifestyle choices and habits. Although some questions are UK-based, it can be filled in by inhabitants of other countries. The questions are classified under four main categories: food, home, travel and stuff. It takes only 5 minutes to complete!

** The Carbon Footprint Ltd Calculator is a bit more elaborate in its questions (you will need your energy bill to fill in). It is available in many languages and apart from individuals it calculates emissions also for business and products. The questions are classified in the following categories: house, flights, car, motorbike, bus & rail, secondary. It takes 5-10 minutes to complete.

Water shares


Water shares

A postcard for the climate…

Think of someone you would like to influence in order to adopt a more climate-friendly attitude. It can be a friend, a family member, the mayor or the prime minister! Send him/her a card about climate change. You can draw on one side and on the other write your message.

We would love to see your postcard ! If you want to share it with what others are sharing online, please upload your card here!


Water meter

I liked this activity . . .

Way forward

Surfing around the Internet

Watch one of the many videos you can find online explaining the science of global warming, such as this video clip  from Deutse Welle (2012).

Dive in…

The Acting for Climate activity to get inspired for collective action for the climate.

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice and Greywater recycling in practice to find out how rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling appliances can help us deal with climate change challenges, at a home level.

Go back to the homepage!

Water works through time

Water in the city

The water basins

Desalination

Greywater recycling in practice

Do you know about grey water?

Wastewater treatment

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice

Rainwater harvesting

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

Acting for Climate

Climate change: Why should I care?

Water resources

The water cycle

Where do I begin?

Water works through time

Let's discover the story behind the old fountains, cisterns and aqueducts of our town!

Continue!

Water in the city

What is the "urban water cycle"? Which are the important aspects of water management within a city environment?

Continue!

The water basins

In this activity we learn what a water drainage basin is and why it is important for the experts to study it.

Continue!

Desalination

Let's find out how sea and brackish water can become a freshwater resource!

Continue!

Greywater recycling in practice

How a greywater system is installed? Let's find out!

Continue!

Do you know about grey water?

Let's find out what "greywater” is and how we can use it!

Continue!

Wastewater treatment

In this activity we learn about how wastewater is treated and what we can do with the treated water.

Continue!

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice

What are the various types of rainwater harvesting systems? Let's find out more about them!

Continue!

Rainwater harvesting

Can we collect rainwater? And how do we use it? Let's find out!

Continue!

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

What is our water footprint and how can we reduce it?

Continue!

Acting for Climate

What are the main sectors contributing to climate change? What are countries doing to address it? What can we do for climate collectively at school and at community level?

Continue!

Climate change: Why should I care?

We discuss the greenhouse effect and the greenhouse gases, how climate change is linked to our lifestyles and ways we can cope with it on a personal level.

Continue!

Water resources

Lt's discover the water resources of our region.

Continue!

The water cycle

Let's travel within the water cycle!

Continue!

Where do I begin?

Let's see why it is important to know about water in our region.

Continue!