Climate Change—Earth's Giant Game of Tetris


From TED-Ed, this analogy is new to me and I think very appropiate for the digital generation.

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John Anderson

Interesting.  This one is new to me, too.  For anyone who isn't very familiar with the carbon cycle, this may be a useful video to watch.  Here are a few comments to consider while you do.

Seeking to relate key concepts like the carbon cycle to familiar icons such as Tetris is a sensible impulse.  It's true that CO2 keeps being absorbed by photosynthesis, and I can see how the Tetris analogy could make sense for some people.  Tetris peices being put into correct places in the stack is like CO2 being absorbed into the right places by plants (or other photosynthesizers).

The video does a good job explaining the mechanism of the carbon cycle succinctly and without becoming technical.

There are several challenges in the video, too, that I would recommend avoiding. For example:

1. Stick to one metaphor at a time.  The video mixes tetris with "greenhouse" and with "heat trapping blanket."  Too many metaphors risks confusing your audience. 

2. The "heat trapping blanket effect" absorbs Earth's heat that is radiating away from Earth toward space.  The video says, incorrectly, that it absorbs the sun's heat.  While it's true that sun's energy warms the Earth and then that same energy is radiated back towards space, the most direct source of the heat trapped by the "blanket effect" is Earth's warmth. 

3. Most fossil fuels come from remains of plants and phytoplankton, so I'd recommend focusing on that and avoid reference to animal remains as a source. 

I think attending to such details will help us avoid undermining our credibility.

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