A Climate Change Module for Introduction to Sociology Classes

From its beginnings, Sociology has always been centrally concerned to understand the problems of Modernity. Today, there is no longer any serious doubt that climate change has become one of the greatest – if not the single greatest — threats to the future of human society.

In the U.S., hundreds of thousands of undergraduates take an Introduction to Sociology course each year, making Intro courses an idea site for showing college students how sociological analysis can help them understand the causes of, the impacts of and societal responses to the climate crisis;

A content analysis of best selling Intro to Sociology textbooks shows that these books discuss climate change late in the book, typically in the next to last chapter, and then devote only a few paragraphs to it.

Textbooks do change, but too slowly, given how fast the climate crisis is accelerating.

“A Climate Change Module for Introduction to Sociology Classes” offers:

  • Videos on the science and sociology of climate change;
  • A variety of lesson plans, ranging from “minimal” (one session) to “full” (three sessions);
  • Prompts that guide students’ research into various aspects of the sociology of climate change.

The module is designed primarily for Introduction to Sociology courses, but may be useful in other courses, such as Social Problems, as well.

For more information, questions, comments, write to:

Andrew Szasz
University of California at Santa Cruz

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