In need of some viewing inspiration? Here are some of the very best YouTube videos and channels on climate change to watch now.
Climate change is a complex issue. If you are struggling to get your head around the ins and outs of climate change, then you’re not alone. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), around 35% of adults in the UK feel like they don’t know much about climate change.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a climate scholar to understand the issues. A host of science communicators have put together some incredibly useful and accessible YouTube videos on the topic of climate change. From the causes and effects, to why it isn’t straightforward to solve planetary warming. Some videos even cover the problems of climate misinformation – fuelled by both oil companies and the media.
Best YouTube Videos On Climate Change
Whether it’s for yourself, or if you want to show a climate video to students or for a group talk to help inspire and educate, then you don’t need to look far. Here are some of the very best YouTube videos on climate change that you can watch right now.
Can YOU Fix Climate Change?
Can YOU Fix Climate Change is by Kurzgesagt – a German animation studio specialising in educational videos. This great video explains the complexity of climate change in just 15 minutes. Kurzegesagt is German for ‘in a nutshell’ after all!
With 11 million views in just 8 months, there’s good reason for the video’s popularity. As well as explaining what climate change is, the video also succinctly explains complex issues behind climate change. This includes the historical and geopolitical factors that make taking action on rising carbon emissions tricky. The YouTube video also covers why individual climate action, such as switching to an electric car, won’t solve climate change by itself.
Don’t feel despondent though. The video also presents real, doable solutions. It’s not going to send you into a spiral of climate anxiety. I’ve studied Education for Sustainable Development as far as PhD level and I would say it’s the best climate change video I’ve found. No word of a lie.
Climate Change 101 With Bill Nye
If 15 minutes is too long, and you want a climate change explainer in less than 5 minutes, then this is the best YouTube video for you. In this video for National Geographic, Bill Nye – the US science communicator – explains what climate change is exactly.
Whilst it doesn’t go into such depth as the Kurzgesagt video – such as the issues that make solving climate change difficult – it is a very useful video. Particularly if you are looking to educate your audience first before advancing to other climate change discussion points.
Causes And Effects Of Climate Change
Another quick primer on climate change, this 3-minute video from National Geographic on the causes and effects of climate change is a good watch for beginners. From discussing what causes climate change to discussing what the effects of climate change are, this video outlines the human impact and consequences of climate change on the environment, and our lives, in an accessible manner.
13 Misconceptions About Global Warming
13 Misconceptions About Global Warming by Veritasium is another useful YouTube video to watch to help educate people about climate change. It’s also a useful video for when you come up against climate change deniers.
Debunking the 13 most common misconceptions about global warming, along with sources for the information, this fun yet informative 7-minute video is a must-watch. With over 5.3 million views, the internet agrees!
Who Is Responsible For Climate Change?
Who Is Responsible For Climate Change, again by Kurzgesagt, is another must-watch. This ten-minute video explains the complexities and ethical dilemmas at a Nation-state level when it comes to taking action on climate change. This includes to complexities of working out who needs to do the most to reduce emissions.
My only criticism of this otherwise excellent video is what it omits. It fails to mention that nations such as the US and UK have reduced their own carbon footprints by outsourcing the production of goods to China. Chiefly because labour is considerably cheaper there. As such, China’s emissions are higher because they make many of the West’s consumer goods. This is a really important talking point that should not be overlooked.
If you watch this video in an educational or community setting, then I’d really recommend having this topic as a discussion point.
The History of Climate Change Negotiations In 83 Seconds
Strongly related to the last Kurzgesagt video is this YouTube video on climate change negotiations in 83 seconds by CICERO Klima. This Norwegian climate research institute has put together an incredibly concise video on the problems with getting nation-states to agree to take the necessary climate action. Watch it and understand the problem in less than 2 minutes!
The Biggest Lie About Climate Change
The Biggest Lie About Climate Change by AsapScience is a really interesting YouTube video about misinformation. It explains how Exxon – the oil company – knew in the 1980s about the links between burning fossil fuels and climate change. Rather than looking to innovate and diversify into cleaner forms of energy, Exxon kept this information quiet. Instead, they lobbied Governments and took part in disinformation campaigns to maintain the status quo.
It’s an engaging watch if you want to understand why we’re in the situation we’re in right now.
Climate Change And The Titanic
I first came across this clever YouTube video on a climate change education course I went on. The simple 4-minute animation draws parallels between the decisions taken by the crew of the Titanic, despite repeated warnings from other ships in the area, and world leaders, despite repeated warnings from climate scientists.
Sounds like climate doomism? I promise it’s not. Instead, it’s a clever way to say that if we carry on full steam ahead then we will run into catastrophic problems. If, however, we take action now, we can change course.
A Statistically Representative Climate Change Debate YouTube Video
This statistically representative climate change debate from the Last Week Tonight Show with John Oliver does contain bad language. It’s probably not what you would want to show to school pupils or anyone easily offended! However, this 4-minute comedy video is a really great watch on the colossal failings of the media when it comes to communicating about climate change, and what the media should do to make their reporting more balanced.
Why Humans Are So Bad At Thinking About Climate Change
Finally, this YouTube video by Vox on why are humans so bad at thinking about climate change is another video high on my list. Discussing why the biggest problem in the climate change fight isn’t technology – it’s human psychology, this 10-minute video is incredibly compelling.
M. Sanjayan, a Senior Scientist and Researcher from UCLA and Conservation International, discusses the messaging that turns people off from taking action on climate change. By then looking at proven effective ways to get people to take environmental action, it’s a fascinating watch for anyone looking to encourage their community to take action on climate change.
Have you found any great YouTube videos on climate change? As always, do share in the comments below.
And looking for more inspiration? Do check out my post on the best Ted Talks on climate change. I also have put together my top sustainability quotes, as well as some inspiring climate change speeches.