Environment: treading lightly on the Earth
Environment: treading lightly on the Earth

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2.3.5 Viewing and listening for a purpose

Videos can be a powerful medium for showing and explaining complex subjects. They can help you move away from static words to show the dynamics of events, interactions and processes. This study note will give advice on how to view a video effectively.

Study note: Viewing and listening for a purpose

To view video effectively, make sure you can watch without distractions, as when learning from text. Before you view, think about why you are watching a video. Is it to help you gain deeper understanding of a topic or to provide illustrative background material? Will you need to incorporate ideas from the video into an assignment? To learn effectively from viewing, read any notes supplied or the relevant sections of the course beforehand.

When viewing a video there’s a lot of information to take in at once. So after viewing, write down the main points. Don’t write down everything – key points reflecting the video’s purpose are most useful in triggering your memory and understanding. You may want to note down questions or links to things you’ve seen before. You can, of course, stop viewing to take notes or go through to the end – do what works best for you. Sometimes the material may be very rich, and you may feel it is worth viewing several times, but consider whether you have time for this.

If you use these techniques you should be able to use the many environmental TV, radio and online programmes more effectively to enhance your knowledge and understanding. A word of caution – words and images on video and TV are very engaging and may easily convince you. But they give only a version of events and, as with written materials, you should ask questions about the reasons behind the programme and whether alternative views may be just as valid.

Now watch the following video by statistician Professor Hans Rosling who explains why it is important to compare carbon dioxide emissions per person for different countries (as in Table 2 and Figure 9), rather than total emissions, in order to develop policies for tackling climate change on a fair basis. Then complete Activity 5.

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Video 1 Hans Rosling on carbon emissions
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Activity 5 Hans Rosling on carbon emissions

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes
  • a.Why does Rosling say it is necessary to compare countries on emissions per person rather than total emissions?
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Answer

Measuring mean emissions per person of rich countries is fairer, and so more likely to be politically acceptable, to middle-income and poor countries.

  • b.From which groups of countries does Rosling say the main growth in emissions will come in the future?
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Answer

The main growth in emissions will be from newly industrialised countries (e.g. China) and other developing countries (e.g. Thailand) whose inhabitants earn between $10 and $100 per day on average.

  • c.What level does Rosling suggest different groups of countries aim for in reducing their emissions?
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Answer

Rich countries with high carbon emissions per person, like the USA and Australia, should reduce their emissions to the lower level of other rich countries like France and Sweden. Rapidly developing countries like China and Thailand should try to avoid the path of countries like the USA, the UK and Germany by preventing their emissions per person from growing as much.

  • d.What does Rosling leave out of his analysis?
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Answer

Rosling does not include non-CO2 GHG emissions or the emissions embedded in imports and exports in his analysis.

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