This is a guest post by Joylette Portlock:
The profound changes humans are causing to our climate, are of great concern for everyone – women, men, the young, the old, and everyone in between. Since mothers are traditionally the protectors and nurturers of the next generation, climate change is of special concern for all us Moms out there. We spend so much effort, time, and money carefully creating the highest quality life that we can for our kids, only to have it put into jeopardy by climate instability. I’m a scientist by training (Ph.D. in genetics) and a science communicator by profession. Being female and a parent are not what brought me to work on this issue years ago. But, amusingly, the idea for a video series did indirectly come about because of motherhood.
Cocooned at home after my second son was born, I was reading climate news online and watching network news fail to cover the huge climate stories in fall of 2011, while totally unable to do anything else besides blearily change newborn diapers, read stories aloud, or feed children all day and night. Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something!, which was suggested and is co-created by my husband, Bryan Pendleton, is thus as much a way for the two of us to take action as it is for all our viewers.
When it comes to climate change, there’s a lot of bad news: every year, the effects are more and more obvious in the world’s water, land, biodiversity, and air quality (as warmer temperatures contribute to worsening respiratory ailments like asthma). Media coverage of the topic in the U.S. is still far lower than its peak in early 2007 — at the same time that all the world’s systems are increasingly disturbed because of carbon pollution in the air.
Despite the overwhelming scientific consensus about climate change and its causes, 65% of adults in the U.S. say they need more information before making up their minds about climate change. There’s a clear gap between what the scientists understand and what the public needs to know for an informed debate.
Good news: filling that gap is our mission at Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something!, an ongoing series of funny, short online videos about all things climate. We don’t believe you should have to be a climate scientist to understand the basics of climate change, and we don’t believe you should feel like you need to hide under the covers and worry yourself to sleep every time you learn something new about climate change, either.
Learning should be fun, even when the topic is serious; our videos are designed to land somewhere between the Discovery Channel and The Daily Show.
Each short episode covers a small piece of the climate puzzle and targets a general audience. We give you reliable, basic climate science information and news. With humor. Climate change requires us to act and, as it turns out, depressing people into action doesn’t usually work. Each episode ends with two easy actions the viewer can take, one to make a difference in your household, and a larger action to push for bigger change, and we list all our sources on our website if you want to read more.
Our newest episode does rapid-fire coverage of five common misconceptions held even by many who accept that climate change is real and man-made.
We didn’t start Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something! to benefit our kids specifically. We started it because as a society, we need to get past denial and overcome despair. We need to roll up our sleeves and do what needs to be done for all of humanity’s kids, who will have to live in the world we are creating with our pollution. We can do better for them, and since we can, we absolutely must. And you know what? It is A-OK to laugh along the way.
About Joylette Portlock: Joylette holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree from MIT. She has done science and environmental outreach work at the local, regional, and national levels in the past, often with a specific focus on climate. She is also currently a concerned stay-at-home Mom of two young boys. Follow the show on YouTube, Facebook, Google+, iTunes, at djst.tv, or on Twitter:@dsa_climate