'Start With The Basics': How To Explain Climate Change To Children

Climate change is a complex topic. Here are some ways you can talk about it with children. WBZ-TV's Sarah Wroblewski reports.

Video Transcript

- In tonight's Eye on Earth, climate change can be a complicated topic, but it's an important one.

- And when it comes to talking to your kids about it, where do you start? WBZ meteorologist Sarah Wroblewski has some advice.

SARAH WROBLEWSKI: The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970. And since then, the average US temperature has warmed by 2.4 degrees and the city of Boston by 1.4 degrees. Climate change describes a change in average conditions, like temperature and rainfall, over a long period of time.

You may just say, my world is getting warmer. Sure, but why? And why is that bad, and how do you explain it to kids? Let's start with the basics.

To power cars, homes, and businesses, we burn coal, oil, and natural gas, which are called fossil fuels. These fossil fuels release an invisible gas into the air, like carbon dioxide, called greenhouse gases. Now, there is a very protective shield around Earth called an atmosphere, and it wraps around us, like a blanket.

These greenhouse gases get trapped and make this blanket thicker, causing our world to warm faster. The blanket is too thick, which hurts plants, animals, and humans. So we need to make some small changes to have a big impact on Earth. I spoke with Alicia Barton, CEO of First Light Power, the largest clean energy company in New England about what we can do.

ALICIA BARTON: There are lots of opportunities to clean up local parks, to participate in volunteer days, to think about things, like planting vegetables in your own garden, and focus on those local sustainability issues that are great learning opportunities for kids. But as kids get older, you can continue to focus on educating about not only the issue of climate change, but what some of the solutions are, some of the technologies, which you really can see all around us.

- Identifying clean energy solutions, like solar panels, electric car charging stations, and wind turbines, could be a great learning opportunity to have a conversation about where our energy comes from and the choices we have to get it. I'm meteorologist Sarah Wroblewski, WBZ News.