Science Friday Is Measuring ‘Degrees Of Change’—And We Need Your Help

Climate change is happening. Our new series ‘Degrees Of Change’ explores how we’re adapting to it.

a stylized version of the earth with clouds, with the logo for degrees of changeClimate change is happening—now we need to deal with it. Degrees of Change,” a new series of hour-long radio specials from Science Friday, explores the problem of climate change and how we as a planet are adapting to it.

We’ll bring you scientists studying climate change first-hand, and we’ll talk with journalists and politicians around the country to understand climate policy solutions near you, and nationwide. Climate change is a global problem that impacts local communities differently. That’s why we’ll look to you to help direct our coverage. What have you done to reduce your impact on climate change? Is your community tackling the problem head on, or struggling to take action?

Here’s how you can get involved.

Tell Us Your Story

We want to hear from you. How are you or your community responding to climate change? Send us what you or your community is doing to combat this threat by emailing degreesofchange@sciencefriday.com. We may reach out to feature your story on a future Science Friday episode! Listen to some of the responses we’ve already gotten from our listeners.

You can also leave your story in the comments below.

Sign up for Degrees Of Change, and stay on top of today's most important climate stories.

Listen To Past Chapters

You can listen to past chapters of “Degrees of Change” here:

Take Our Survey

We’re trying to better understand how you feel about climate change, and have developed a short survey in partnership with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication that we’ll use to make our climate change coverage more relevant to you.

Editor’s Note 5/6/2019: Our survey is now closed. Thank you so much for your interest!

Meet the Writer

About Ira Flatow

Ira Flatow is the host and executive producer of Science Friday. His green thumb has revived many an office plant at death’s door.

  • disqus_d2UzPjeMe0

    I would be grateful if at least one episode would be dedicated to natural preservation and nature based solutions. Many communities try to bring in policies of energy use reduction or alternative energy sources into their discussions. Few, if any, stress the importance of natural preservation as a crucial component of slowing down climate change. It would be much appreciated to explore the importance of natural preservation and the political reasons of why it might be shortchanged in discussions.

    • Bob Marshall

      This is a great idea to show natural approaches like encouraging wetlands that can trap carbon 25 times faster than forests! California is trying to encourage agriculture to rebuild soils with more organic matter, which can sequester large amounts of carbon dioxide–it would be great to learn more about such approaches, including the City of Houston’s encouraging mini-prairie plots for flood control.

  • Linda Blue

    I have been screaming from the rooftops about Climate Chaos for over 20 years. I moved to a 3rd world country (Fiji) for 7 years to live off grid and found it an incredibly enriching experience. After I left the island was wiped off the map by the largest cyclone in history…at that time. Of course there have been many since. When I returned to the states i could not go back to the american status quo, and bought a house that has a metal roof to collect water, put solar on my roof and only drive electric. I also grow most of my food organically and offset my carbon footprint. Last year I was trained by Al Gore’s Climate Reality project and speak at every opportunity about climate change and what we need to do to save humanity and the rest of life on earth. I could not ethically and morally do less. I have been motivate motivated by the loss of habitat and the critters that need it, as well as my kids and grandkids. I have also been extremely frustrated by the lack of action by 99% of my friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances. The excuse is always “Its too expensive” even when I explain that they will just be paying later for their inaction. I’m at a loss for how to motivate our populous. I also want to thank you for this series as the media had really dropped the ball since this has been a know crisis since the ’70’s. I’m also glad that for the first time Climate change will be discussed in presidential debates.

    • Bob Marshall

      I agree–thank God climate disruption will be a part of the presidential debates! Hats off to Governor Inslee of Washington State for elevating the discussion. Not to mention for his his dedication to solve the climate disruption crisis through good policies and incentives.

    • jake3_14

      Take a chill pill. The sixth mass extinction of planet earth is about 30% complete, and no actions we take, even concerted ones on the national and international levels, can stop it now (the window closed about 40 years ago). Do what you can for your peace of mind, but let go of concerns about saving the planetary ecosystem.

  • disqus_kRmek5pPbA

    I’d like to suggest that all consumer products have a “climate tag” along with the price tag. I think it’s important to both inform and create a daily awareness on how all our actions, purchases and choices impact climate. The “climate tag” could itemize the climate cost of that product when broght to the comsumer.

    • William Congreve

      What would you make them from? Aren’t you adding packaging and pollution/carbon footprint to the products by doing this?

      • Harry

        The additional impact on packaging would be negligible in relation to its positive impact.

    • Charlie M

      I like this idea. I think energy ratings on appliances and cars have increase awareness. The stickers could be biodegradable with soy based inks and they would create jobs. I think the nearly negligible increase in “carbon footprint” would be offset by the potential energy savings. Of course someone will complain about the “increased regulation”. Perhaps a few companies should start to do this on a voluntary basis to demonstrate the potential outcomes.

  • Climate Klaus

    Here are some of the things our family has done to reduce our carbon footprint:

    -reducing, reusing and recycling whenever possible (since the 1970s)
    -driving only fuel-efficient cars (since 1976)
    -using a set-back thermostat (since 1981)
    -storm windows (since 1981)
    -adding extra insulation in our roof (since 1982)
    -using teleconferencing and videoconferencing at work instead of traveling to meetings whenever possible (since 1991)
    -replacing old appliances with energy efficient EnergyStar appliances (since 2001)
    -reducing junk mail by contacting the vendors (since 2002)
    -eating less meat and more of a plant based diet (since 2002)
    -car pooling whenever possible (since 2003)
    -bicycling or walking more often (since 2003)
    -composting our food waste (since 2004)
    -using only electric lawn mowers (since 2005)
    -teleworking from home whenever possible (since 2008)
    -installed a high efficiency furnace (since 2010)
    -installed solar panels, which produce 100% of our electricity needs (since 2011)
    -switching most of our light bulbs to LED bulbs (since 2013)
    -using a hybrid plug-in car (since 2013)

    We recognize that reducing our personal carbon footprint can only take us so far. Taking community action, action by businesses, and political action, is far more important to make a significant impact on climate change. To that end, I’ve joined various volunteer organizations that are taking action on climate. The one with the best proposed solutions, in my opinion, is that of Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL), which offers solutions that have been called “a market-driven Green New Deal.”

    To that end I have actively volunteered for CCL and other organizations for several years, serving at various times in many different roles including citizen lobbyist, group leader and NJ state co-coordinator. In 2015-2016 I produced an 8 minute YouTube video about Citizen’s Climate Lobby entitled “The Best Group Ever Joined (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brnQaZz6_6s).

    According to a recent statement signed by more than 3,500 economists, including 27 Nobel laureates, correcting our biggest market failure – by putting a price on carbon by taxing it, and then rebating the revenues equally to all citizens – would be “the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the necessary scale and speed,” This quote is in Amory Lovins’ New York Times article “A Market-Driven Green New Deal? We’d Be Unstoppable” -https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/18/opinion/green-new-deal-climate.html

    Thank you so much for initiating this Degrees of Change program on Science Friday! Feel free to contact me about any of this.

    – Climate Klaus

    • Charlie M

      Klaus – we should all follow your model. I can check off most of them, but you have a few I haven’t thought of / implemented yet. The other day I was fussing at my nearly deaf / blind brother about the amount of water / energy he was wasting by letting the water run continuously while he was slowly washing dishes. His response was “So what, we have plenty of water”. (we have been having floods in the Midwest). I just have to beat him to the dishes. He means well, and it’s one of the few things he actually does around the house, but he doesn’t seem to be willing to learn.

      • Climate Klaus

        Thanks. Yes, I think it’s hard to change habits and even harder to get others to change their habits, unless they truly have a desire to do so. My post was removed as spam, apparently because of the links, so I reposted it above without the links.

  • Larry Baum

    Thanks for organizing this series, which should be interesting. I hear often about the harms of climate change, which is good to learn. But change is not necessarily bad. I’d like to hear at least a little about benefits of climate change. If we know the benefits and harms of climate change, then we can add them up and estimate the net cost, enabling us to choose an appropriate level of mitigation.

    • Bob Marshall

      Well, when the largest re-insurance company in the world, Munich Reinsurance advises that the situation is grave not only for scientists and politicians, but that massive challenges are ahead for industry as well, is not the main thing that every nation needs to act fast to avoid the huge increase in insurance payments for climate related losses? According to the Insurance Information Institute, the total hurricane-related risk insured by the government has increased 15-fold since 1990 to $885 billion. So even if a few particular plants grow a bit faster with climate change, is that really very significant when the costs of climate disruption are accelerating so quickly? According to experts on climate impacts, any benefits really do not justify inaction on attacking the emissions of greenhouse gases.

  • Climate Klaus

    Here are some of the things our family has done to reduce our carbon footprint:

    -reducing, reusing and recycling whenever possible (since the 1970s)
    -driving only fuel-efficient cars (since 1976)
    -using a set-back thermostat (since 1981)
    -storm windows (since 1981)
    -adding extra insulation in our roof (since 1982)
    -using teleconferencing and videoconferencing at work instead of traveling to meetings whenever possible (since 1991)
    -replacing old appliances with energy efficient EnergyStar appliances (since 2001)
    -reducing junk mail by contacting the vendors (since 2002)
    -eating less meat and more of a plant based diet (since 2002)
    -car pooling whenever possible (since 2003)
    -bicycling or walking more often (since 2003)
    -composting our food waste (since 2004)
    -using only electric lawn mowers (since 2005)
    -teleworking from home whenever possible (since 2008)
    -installed a high efficiency furnace (since 2010)
    -installed solar panels, which produce 100% of our electricity needs (since 2011)
    -switching most of our light bulbs to LED bulbs (since 2013)
    -using a hybrid plug-in car (since 2013)

    We recognize that reducing our personal carbon footprint can only take us so far. Taking community action, action by businesses, and political action, is far more important to make a significant impact on climate change. To that end, I’ve joined various volunteer organizations that are taking action on climate. The one with the best proposed solutions, in my opinion, is that of Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL), which offers solutions that have been called “a market-driven Green New Deal.”

    To that end I have actively volunteered for CCL and other organizations for several years, serving at various times in many different roles including citizen lobbyist, pubic speaker, group leader and NJ state co-coordinator. In 2015-2016 I produced an 8 minute YouTube video about Citizen’s Climate Lobby entitled “The Best Group Ever Joined”.

    According to a recent statement signed by more than 3,500 economists, including 27 Nobel laureates, correcting our biggest market failure – by putting a price on carbon by taxing it, and then rebating the revenues equally to all citizens – would be “the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the necessary scale and speed,” This quote is in Amory Lovins’ New York Times article “A Market-Driven Green New Deal? We’d Be Unstoppable”.

    Thank you so much for initiating this Degrees of Change program on Science Friday! Feel free to contact me about any of this.

    – Climate Klaus

  • userr8507

    I am shocked at the poor efforts of some NY communities to encourage conservation of energy and recycling. Upstate NY clearly has a problem in the NW.

  • Tony Robert Cochran

    Wonderful series, very important and seminal conversation that needs to happen. I was born in Northern California (Placerville) and grew up in Southern Oregon (Grants Pass). Although I live in Europe now, I have visited the area in recent years, and it seems that every summer is now “Fire Season.” There used to be a “high risk of fire” during the summers, but not the epic, life-threatening and yearly wildfires that consume entire forests, small towns (Shasta / Paradise, California +) and suburbs of larger cities like Redding, California. Every summer seems to bring months of terrible air quality, where the smoke literally covers the entire sky, making the middle day often seem like twilight. I would like to hear more about the risk of wildfires, especially in places at the higher altitudes like Northern California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alaska, Sweden and elsewhere.

    Thank you!

  • Climate Klaus

    Here are some of the things our family has done to reduce our carbon footprint:

    -reducing, reusing and recycling whenever possible (since the 1970s)
    -driving only fuel-efficient cars (since 1976)
    -using a set-back thermostat (since 1981)
    -storm windows (since 1981)
    -adding extra insulation in our roof (since 1982)
    -using teleconferencing and videoconferencing at work instead of traveling to meetings whenever possible (since 1991)
    -replacing old appliances with energy efficient EnergyStar appliances (since 2001)
    -reducing junk mail by contacting the vendors (since 2002)
    -eating less meat and more of a plant based diet (since 2002)
    -car pooling whenever possible (since 2003)
    -bicycling or walking more often (since 2003)
    -composting our food waste (since 2004)
    -using only electric lawn mowers (since 2005)
    -teleworking from home whenever possible (since 2008)
    -installed a high efficiency furnace (since 2010)
    -installed solar panels, which produce 100% of our electricity needs (since 2011)
    -switching most of our light bulbs to LED bulbs (since 2013)
    -using a hybrid plug-in car (since 2013)

    We recognize that reducing our personal carbon footprint can only take us so far. Taking community action, action by businesses, and political action, is far more important to make a significant impact on climate change. To that end I have actively volunteered for various organizations for several years, serving at various times in many different roles including citizen lobbyist, public speaker, group leader and NJ state co-coordinator. In 2015-2016 I produced an 8 minute video about our activities.

    According to a recent statement signed by more than 3,500 economists, including 27 Nobel laureates, correcting our biggest market failure – by putting a price on carbon by taxing it, and then rebating the revenues equally to all citizens – would be “the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the necessary scale and speed,” This quote is in Amory Lovins’ New York Times article “A Market-Driven Green New Deal? We’d Be Unstoppable”.

    Thank you so much for initiating this Degrees of Change program on Science Friday! Feel free to contact me about any of this.

    – Climate Klaus

  • Bob Marshall

    Hearty thanks to Science Friday for this series, which all media should also offer at this pivotal time! The question of what we individuals are doing is really missing the point. As Bill McKibben has noted, we need urgent national policies over the entire globe to incentivize and require the switch to non-emitting energy sources, not to mention industrial processes like lower-emission cement production as researched at UCLA. I have been walking to work when I can to lower my personal emissions and have stopped consuming all meat and dairy, which also lower my personal carbon footprint. But I only have a tiny impact individually. So I entirely agree we need the equivalent of a New Deal and the type of mobilization our country made during World War II to head off more climate disruption. Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute has been saying this for years, and its time is LONG overdue. I have two sons, and i do NOT want to leave them a world where the Great Barrier Reef is dead and gone due to ocean acidification and higher ocean water temperatures. We can and WILL make the switch to green processes and agricultural practices that will stop the most severe impacts. Thank you, Science Friday, for encouraging all of us to look at and call for new public policies on this critical issue, as the glaciers are disappearing from Glacier National Park and even Mount Kilimanjaro!

  • Edwin Henry Beitz

    It is obvious that our future depends on readily available, inexpensive electricity. The renewable sources; wind, solar and hydro, will never satisfy our needs no matter how inexpensive they become as energy generators. Dr. Helen Caldicott poisoned all the concepts of using nuclear power. There is a viable nuclear alternative – the molten salt reactor. To see a presentation that describes why, watch the TED talk of Dr. Salim Zwein at
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZf6e0ntFrw

  • PaulScott58

    Some great comments here already, so I’ll speak to energy and transportation specifically.

    Americans spend just north of $1.5 trillion for dirty energy every year. That’s for coal and gas-generated electricity to power your home and oil for transportation. The cost to do all of that work with a combination of solar, wind, and hydro is less than one trillion at today’s cost from those sources.

    In the past, there were no options. You had to buy the power from your utility, and gas from the station on the corner. But that has recently changed. Solar and wind energy are now cheaper than coal and gas, and both continue downward in price while a carbon tax will eventually raise the price of dirty energy. If you want to switch your home’s electricity to 100% renewable, either your utility sells a clean energy option, or you can buy from a third party provider of clean energy. Everyone should do this immediately.

    If you are fortunate to own a home or property where you could install a solar PV system, they make excellent investments. I installed a small 3 kW system in 2002 when prices were much higher. But because I also bought an electric vehicle, I no longer had to buy gasoline. We powered our home and car with that little PV system. I calculated payoff in 2010 by not having to buy kWh from SoCal Edison, and not buying any gasoline ever again. So since then, and for the rest of my life, I get free energy to power my home, cars, and motorcycles. And none of it causes harm to people or the planet.

    That’s the electricity side. Super easy to do.

    Now for the cars. At this point, all the legacy OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) have read the crystal clear message on the wall and know that the end game is a fully-electric fleet. They’ve all driven the three Tesla models and know they’ve been left in the dust. The good news is that there are some very good EVs on the market. For those who don’t want to take the plunge for a full EV, there are lots of plug in hybrids that will do anything your current car will do, but most of your miles will be on clean electricity.

    For the purists there are great selections with several EVs with well over 200 miles of range, and Tesla almost hitting 400 miles of range with a recent upgrade.

    Here is why this is important.

    We want the transportation industry, from motorcycle and cars to trucks and trains, to run on 100% clean electricity. There is a clear path to this reality, and it’s potentially a lot closer than most people think. This is why it’s so important for Science Friday folks to make this switch happen as quickly as possible.

    We want the whole industry to switch quickly, or suffer a Kodak moment. Kodak invented digital photography, but never pursued it because they were making bank in the film business. The legacy OEMs that are slow to switch are giving market share to Tesla, which is fine by me, but we need more manufacturers to help grow the numbers.

    Like all major consumer items, think cars, TVs, telephones, flip phones to smart phones, the early adopters grew the market slowly till there was around 10% penetration. That’s when manufacturing scaled, prices dropped, and within a decade everyone who wanted one had one.

    We are at about 2% penetration for EVs (10% in CA), and close to 5% for solar. Those who adopt clean energy and transportation now are the first responders in the war on climate change.

    All that said, there are still some who cannot yet afford a new EV, but they will be happy to know the used market has great bargains. Also, quite a few folks don’t have access to charging. We desperately need to install charging infrastructure everywhere. We have over 100 free chargers in little Santa Monica. All the energy is from solar, and it’s free. We are expanding to 300 chargers by 2020, and 1,000 by 2025. When you are in Santa Monica, EVs are literally all around you all the time, They are everywhere. Charging infrastructure will make that happen in your town.

    Doing both the car and electricity will reduce the average American’s pollution footprint by over 90%. It’s a big deal.

    There’s lots more to this, but I’m going to stop here and see what people think.

  • jake3_14

    Back in 2015, we installed solar panels on our home. Our monthly summertime electricity bills went from $450 to $220, YOY. Since then, we’ve installed a secondary solar system, lowering our monthly summertime electricity bills another 15%. Since our electric utility is asking for huge rate increases in order to recoup the cost of liability for CA wildfires, the locked-in, 25-year KPH rate keeps looking better. Oh yeah, it’s better for the environment, too.

    I wish we had the funds to do xeriscaping, but we’re not up to it personally, and professionally, it’s too costly.

  • Derek Miskiman

    Living in a Condo building with very limited outdoor space . Is there anything I specifically can do with my balcony space to help combat climate change?

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