Reshaping the Study of Sociology

Climate Change Teaching Resources

This is a collection of resources for sociology instructors who are considering teaching about climate change. Suggestions for additional resources are gladly accepted. Please send them to Michelle Edwards at

The resources are divided into two categories: General Resources, such as readings, films, and internet sites dealing with climate change, and Course-Specific Resources, which offer discussion questions and other materials for courses such as Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems, Sociology of Media, and many others.

General Resources

Course Materials

Ford, Allison. Sociology of Climate Change Syllabus. [pdf]

Ford, Allison. Climate Ethnography Assignment. [pdf]

Perkov, Ivan. (Non)sustainability of sustainability. [pdf]

Peer Reviewed Articles

Brulle, Robert. 2019. “Networks of Opposition: A Structural Analysis of U.S. Climate Change Countermovement Coalitions 1989–2015.” Sociological Inquiry. 91(3), pp.603-624.

Clark, Brett and Richard York. 2005. “Carbon Metabolism: Global Capitalism, Climate Change, and the Biospheric Rift.” Theory and Society 34(4):391–428.

Cunsolo, Ashlee, and Neville R. Ellis. “Ecological grief as a mental health response to climate change-related loss.” Nature Climate Change, 8(4):275.

Daggett, Cara. 2018. Petro-masculinity: Fossil Fuels and Authoritarian Desire. Millennium: Journal of International Studies. 47(1):25-44.

Ergas, Christina, Patrick Greiner, Julius McGee, and Matt Clement. 2021. “Does Gender Climate Influence Climate Change?: The Multidimensionality of Gender Equality and its Countervailing Effects on the Carbon Intensity of Well-Being.” Sustainability. 13(7): 3956;

Ergas, Christina and Richard York. 2012. “Women’s Status and Carbon Dioxide Emissions: A Quantitative Cross-national Analysis.” Social Science Research. 41:965-976.

Ford, Allison and Kari Marie Norgaard. 2020. Whose everyday climate cultures? Environmental subjectivities and invisibility in climate change discourse. Climatic Change, 163(1), pp.43-62.

Liu, John Chung-En, and Andrew Szasz. “Now is the time to add more sociology of Climate Change to our introduction to sociology courses.” Teaching Sociology 47.4 (2019): 273-283.

Kashwan, Prakash, Lauren M. MacLean, and Gustavo A. García-López. 2019. “Rethinking Power and Institutions in the Shadows of Neoliberalism: (an Introduction to a Special Issue of World Development).” World Development. 120: 133-46.

Kashwan, Prakash, Frank Biermann, Aarti Gupta, and Chukwumerije Okereke. 2020. “Planetary Justice: Prioritizing the Poor in Earth System Governance.” Earth System Governance. 6:100075.

Kashwan, Prakash, and Jesse Ribot. 2021. “Violent Silence: The Erasure of History and Justice in Global Climate Policy.” Current History. 120: 326-31.

MacGregor, Sherilyn. 2009. “A stranger silence still: the need for feminist social research on climate change.” Sociological Review. 57(2_suppl), pp.124-140.

McCright & Dunlap. 2003. “Defeating Kyoto: The conservative movement’s impact on US climate change policy.” Social Problems. 50(3):348-373. (Canvas)

 McCright & Dunlap, 2011. “Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States.” Global Environmental Change. 21(4):1163-1172.

McGee, Julius, Christina Ergas, and Matthew Clement. 2018. “Racing to Reduce Emissions: Assessing the Relationship between Race and Environmental Impacts from Transportation.” Sociology of Development. 4(2): 217–236.

Norgaard, Kari. 2012. “Climate Denial and the Construction of Innocence: Reproducing Transnational Environmental Privilege in the Face of Climate Change”. Race, Gender & Class. 19(1/2):80-103.

Oreskes, Naomi. 2004. “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change.” Science. 306(5702):1686.

Overland, Indra and Benjamin K. Sovacool. 2019. “The misallocation of climate research funding.” Energy Research and Social Science. 62:101349.

Shove, Elizabeth. 2010. “Beyond the ABC: climate change policy and theories of social change.” Environment and Planning.42:1273-1285.

Shove, Elizabeth, & Walker. “What Is Energy For? Social Practice and Energy Demand.” Theory, Culture & Society 31.5 (2014): 41-58. 

Willox, Ashlee Consolo. 2012. “Climate change as the work of mourning.” Environment & Ethics.17(2):137-64. 

Book Chapters

Ford & Norgaard. 2020. “From Denial to Resistance: How Emotions and Culture Shape Our Responses to Climate Change.” In Climate and Culture, Edited by Giuseppe Feola, Hilary Geoghegan and Alex Arnall. 

Sealey-Huggins, Leon. 2018. “The climate crisis is a racist crisis: structural racism, inequality and climate change.” from The Fire Now: Anti-Racist Scholarship in Times of Explicit Racial Violence. ZED Books. London.

Academic Books

Bhavnani, Kum-Kum, John Foran, Priya A. Kurian, and Debashish Munshi, eds.. 2019.  Climate Futures: Re-imagining Global Climate Justice. ZED Books Ltd. London.

Dryzek, John S., Richard B. Norgaard and David Schlosberg, eds.. 2011. The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society. Oxford University Press. Oxford.

Dunlap, Riley E. and Robert J. Brulle, eds. 2015. Climate Change and Society: Sociological Perspectives. Report of the American Sociological Association’s Task Force on Sociology and Global Climate Change. Oxford University Press.  

Ergas, Christina. 2021. Surviving Collapse: Building Community Toward Radical Sustainability. Oxford University Press. New York, NY.

Feola, Giuseppe, Hilary Geoghegan and Alex Arnall, eds. 2019. Climate and Culture: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on a Warming World. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Henson, Robert. 2019. The Thinking Person’s Guide to Climate Change. Second Edition. University of Chicago Press. Chicago, IL. 

Hoffman, Andrew. 2015 How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate. Stanford Briefs, Stanford University Press. Stanford, CA.

Johnson, Ayana Elizabeth, and Katherine K. Wilkinson. 2020. All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis. One World. New York.

Kimbro, Rachel. 2021. In Too Deep: Class and Mothering in a Flooded Community. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Marino, Elizabeth. 2015. Fierce Climate, Sacred Ground: An Ethnography of Climate Change in Shishmaref Alaska. University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks.

Méndez, Michael. 2020. Climate Change from the Streets: How Conflict and Collaboration Strengthen the Environmental Justice Movement. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.

Nagel, Joane. 2016. Gender and Climate Change: Impacts, Science and Policy. Routledge, New York & London.

Parenti, Christian. 2012. Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence. New York: Bold Type Books.

Ray, Sarah Jaquette. 2020. A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: On How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet. University of California Press. Oakland.

Smil, Vaclav. 2006. Energy: A Beginner’s Guide. OneWorld Publications. 

Popular Books

Klein, Naomi. 2014. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Simon & Schuster, New York.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. 2006. Field Notes from a Catastrophe. Bloomsbury Publishers. 

Miller, Todd. 2017. Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration and Homeland Security. City Lights Books, San Francisco.

Reports & Statements

National Climate Assessment: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States Report Overview and Findings [select most recent edition]

IPCC 6th Assessment Report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Past reports can be retrieved at

Anchorage Declaration – Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change. 2009. “Indigenous peoples’ representatives from the Arctic, North America, Asia, Pacific, Latin America, Africa, Caribbean and Russia attending the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change call for greater government and international actions to address climate change and governmental and intergovernmental commitments to safeguard indigenous peoples’ rights in climate change mitigation and adaptation policies and programmes.

Bali Principles of Climate Justice. 2002. [developed in Bali by a coalition of environmental justice and human rights groups including CorpWatch, Third World Network, Oil Watch, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and others at the final preparatory negotiations for the Johannesburg Earth Summit.]

CDP and the Climate Accountability Institute. 2017. Carbon Majors Report. [Report documenting that 100 Oil, Coal and Gas producers  were responsible for 71% of industrial carbon emissions.] View data at Climate Accountability Institute’s website.

Popular Articles, Opinion & Commentary

Atkins, Emily. 2021. “What can I do? Anything.” Heated. [Opinion/Commentary]

Hansen, James. 2006. “The Threat to the Planet”. New York Review of Books. July 13. [Opinion/Commentary]

Heglar, Mary Annaise. 2019. Climate Change Isn’t the First Existential Threat. Medium. [Opinion/Commentary]

Heglar, Mary Annaise. 2019. I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle. Vox.  [Opinion/Commentary]

Hertzgaard, M. 2006. “While Washington Slept”. Vanity Fair. January 1. 

Flavelle and Goodluck, 2021. “Dispossessed Again: Climate Change Hits Native Americans Especially Hard” New York Times. [Reporting]

Gardener, Beth. 2020. “Unequal Impact: The Deep Links Between Racism and Climate Change.” Yale360. [Analysis]

MacKean, 2019. “Why climate denial and misogyny go hand in hand.” TVO. [Opinion/Commentary]

Malm, Andreas. 2015. “The Anthropocene Myth: Blaming All of Humanity for Climate Change Lets Capitalism off the Hook.” Jacobin Magazine. [Opinion/Commentary]

McKibben, Bill. 2006. “The Coming Meltdown”. New York Review of Books. January 12.

Feature Length Films

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

  • Note from Allison Ford (Sonoma State University) – I pair this film with Spencer Weart’s chapter on “The Development of the Concept of Dangerous Anthropogenic Climate Change” in the Oxford Handbook of climate change and society. We view the film both as a source of scientific information about climate change, most of which is new to students, despite the film’s age, as well as a historical document that fits into Weart’s historical discussion of how climate change came to be understood at anthropogenic and dangerous. Pairs nicely with: Gleiser, Marcelo. 2016. “After 10 Years, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ Is Still Inconvenient”. NPR. 

An Inconvenient Sequel (2017)

Baked Alaska

Blowout: Inside America’s Energy Gamble (2018)

Boiling Point: The Global Climate Crisis

Climate Refugees (2010)

  • Note from Allison Ford (Sonoma State University) – This film is so/so. It is highly effective in that it provides imagery that brings alive the plight of people around the world as they confront migration related to climate change. The experts they interview lack diversity, and at times the narrative reinforces tropes of refugees as victims. But students respond strongly to the visual medium, and the problems in the discourse that the film at times falls into provides a good basis for discussion. 

Everything’s Cool

Heat (Frontline PBS)

Hot Politics (Frontline PBS)

  • Description (from Kari Norgaard): Details the political issues involved in global warming; excellent interviews with top officials (gov’t and scientific experts) on global warming and why the U.S. has not been involved in international treaties, etc. Available to watch online, one-hour long, but can view separate chapters.

Idiocracy (2006)

Merchants of Doubt (2014)

  • Description – This is a film based on the book of the same title by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. 

Mossville: When Great Trees Fall (2019) 

  • Description – Follows one of the last remaining residents of Mossville, Louisiana, a community founded by formerly enslaved and free African Americans that has been overtaken by South African fossil fuel multinational corporation Sasol. The film does an excellent job drawing connections between global racial politics of South African apartheid and racial inequality in the US, focusing on the story of Stacy Ryan, one of the last residents who refuses to leave, despite the toxic contamination of the expanding plant all around him.

Oil on Ice

Out of Balance: ExxonMobil’s Impact on Climate Change

  • Description (from Kari Norgaard): This documentary includes a concise overview of the basic science of climate change (which I skipped over for my class full of Environmental Studies majors), outlines the economic history of the company from its origins as Standard Oil, and shows the strategies ExxonMobil has used to create public confusion about the issue. I recommend stopping the film at the point where one of the commentators notes that the problem is “systemic”. After that quote, the filmmaker advocates boycotting Exxon and switching to biofuels for personal vehicles, recommendations that go against that important structural point. (Plus I would not want to advocate biofuels for many reasons.)

Rising Waters: Global Warming and the Fate of the Pacific Islands

The 11th Hour

  • Description (from Kari Norgaard): Consider showing the middle section on corporate actors and economic structure – important areas of focus conveniently missing from Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

This Changes Everything (2105)

  • Description – This is a film based on the book of the same title by Naomi Klein.

To the Ends of the Earth (2016)

  • Description – The film “follows concerned citizens living at the frontiers of extreme oil and gas extraction, bearing witness to a global crossroads. They call for human ingenuity to rebuild society at the end of the fossil fuel era.” (film website)

The Condor & The Eagle (2019)

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (2019)

  • Description – Limited narrative, but powerful, unique imagery of the extent and reach of human impact on Earth. 

Last Call for the Bayou: Five Stories from Louisiana’s Disappearing Coastline

Beyond Climate

The Island President

The Story of Plastic

Short Films & Videos

NASA Space Place. 2020. What is the Greenhouse Effect? (2:29)What Is the Greenhouse Effect?

Margaret Atwood, Hope and the “Everything Change” (3:48)

After the Fire (17:51)

Complex Movements (7:37)

The Planetary Boundaries framework: current status and future challenges from the Stockholm Resilience Center (7:52)

Welcome to the Anthropocene (3:19)  

Climate Change: What’s Gender Got to Do With It? (2:16)

Gone Before the Wave. 2015. (12:20) Summer Gray, UCSB.

Idle No More Short Documentary (6:55) 

Rise: From One Island to Another (6:31) two indigenous poets, one from the Marshall Islands, one from Greenland 

How Global Warming Works – series of videos explaining the science of global warming. Includes video ranging from 1 – 5 minutes. 

Climate Crisis: The Final Exam! (9:20)

Lowland Kids: Climate Change Threatens Two Teenagers’ Family Home (22:00)

Podcasts/Audio Resources

How to Save a Planet

A Matter of Degrees 

How to Survive the End of the World by Autumn Brown & adrienne marie brown

Hot Take

Heated  (limited-run podcast by climate journalist Emily Atkins

Hot and Bothered, by environmental sociologist Daniel Aldana Cohen and journalist Kate Aranoff 

Did We Go Too Far? by Movement Generation, about transformational times that touches on climate, as well as race, queerness, and politics of oppression

Other Teaching Resources & Visual Materials

The Climate Solutions Lab Climate Syllabus Bank, from the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Interdisciplinary bank of syllabi addressing climate change in a number of disciplines.

Szasz, Andrew and Jeff Kiehl. A Climate Change Module for Social Problems ClassesA complete module for teaching climate change as a social problem. Includes lesson plans, videos, customizable power points, discussion prompts and advice on troubleshooting challenges.

Existential Toolkit for Climate Justice Educators: Resources for the Climate Crisis

UC-CSU NXTerra – “A resource for college teachers from across all disciplines and anyone seeking to enhance their teaching and learning about the climate crisis, critical sustainability, and climate justice studies, both inside and outside the classroom.”

Cooke, Sandra L., Alicia Claire Lloyd, Adelle Dora Monteblanco, and Silvia Secchi. 2015. Moving to Higher Ground: Ecosystems, Economics and Equity in the FloodplainA role-play case study from National Science Teaching Association on social response to natural hazards focused on floodplain management. Case includes teaching notes, activity guide, and powerpoint overview. 

Yale Climate Opinion Maps, using data from the  Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication

xkcd webcomic. A Timeline of Earth’s Average Temperatures since the last ice age glaciation

Richie, Hannah. 2019. Who has contributed most to global CO2 emissions? Our World in Data.

Richie, Hannah and Max Moser. 2020 [2017]. CO₂ and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data. Our World in Data. 

The Thing From the Future, by The Imagination Lab. Imaginative game about the future that can be tailored to incorporate climate scenarios.

Highwater Line: Visualizing Climate Change

US Global Change Research Program Resources for Educators on Climate Change, including lesson plans of climate change and human health, climate and energy literacy frameworks, and climate change education videos from the US National Park Service.

Pedagogy & Climate Change

Foran, John,  Summer Gray, Corrie Grosse, and Theo LeQuesne. “This Will Change Everything: Teaching the Climate Crisis”. 2018. Transformations. 28(2): 126-147

Schneider-Mayerson. 2021. “To Teach Students about Climate Change, ‘Just the Facts’ Isn’t Enough.” Scientific American. 

Climate News Resources

Climate News Aggregators

Climate central

Inside Climate News

Daily Climate

Climate Desk

Covering Climate Nowcollaborates with journalists and newsrooms to incorporate climate reporting 

Blogs, Substacks & Online Commentaries

Heated – substack of climate journalist Emily Atkins

Hot Take – substack of climate critics Mary Annaïse Heglar and Amy Westervelt

Grist – environmental blog, lots of climate coverage

The Conversation, environment & energy section – Academics and scholars translate their work for a public audience

Ecowatch – Policy, science, and other experts cover environmental topics including climate change

US Government Climate blogs

Ask NASA Climate blog – NASA scientists communicating about their climate work

USAID Climate Links – climate blog from US international aid agency, focusing on development and humanitarian sector – NOAA site covering climate change

Major Newspapers with Climate Sections

The Guardian – UK based, global focus

The Hill – Washington DC, US federal policy focus

The New York Times –


Politico – Washington, DC based focused on federal policy

BBC Science Focus –

The Washington Post –

Smithsonian Magazine –

Additional Resources

Course-Specific Resources

Social Problems
Introduction to Sociology
Sociology of Religion
Sociology of Media
Political Sociology / Social Movements
Sociology of Health and Illness / Medical Sociology
Sociology of Emotions
Social Stratification / Environmental Justice
Social Psychology

Social Problems

Courses in Social Problems might consider questions such as: How has climate change been created as a social problem by different interest groups? How does climate change reflect larger questions of how social problems rise and fall in urgency in our society? What examples can be found of social problems indirectly linked to climate change? Does climate change interact with other social problems in particular ways? See the general resources page and also peruse specific ideas for other courses.

Introduction to Sociology

Introductory courses in sociology might consider questions such as: How does social inequality influence different social groups’ vulnerability to climate change? See also other questions and readings listed under media, religion, and stratification below.

Internet Resources:

Sociology of Religion

What role do environmental problems play in re-shaping religious communities today? How has the consideration of environmental problems as moral issues changed over time? How has climate change in particular split the evangelical community? What is the significance of a religious dimension of the environmental movement? How might this intersect (or not) with secular aspects of the movement?

Internet Resources:
Readings on Religion and the Environment (not specific to climate change):
  • Gottlieb, R.S. “A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet’s Future”. Oxford University Press. 2006.
  • Hendricks, S. “Divine Destruction: Wise Use, Dominion Theology and the Making of American Environmental Policy”. Melville House. 2005.
  • McGraw, B. “Rediscovering America’s Sacred Ground: Public Religion and the Pursuit of the Good in a Pluralistic America”. SUNY Press. 2003.
  • Tucker, M.E. “Worldly Wonder: Religions Enter Their Ecological Phase”. Open Court. 2003.

Sociology of Media

Courses on Sociology of the Media might address the host of interesting studies on media framing of climate change.

Internet Resources:
  • Dana Fisher talks about the youth movement demanding climate action with NewsHour. PBS. 2019. (link)
  • Robert Henson discusses global climate change. CCTV. 2016. (link)
  • Episode of On the Media with interview of Ross Gelbspan. 2004. (link)
  • Journalist Ross Gelbspan’s website with updated news stories on climate change from around the world. (link)
  • Competitive Enterprise Institute commercial. (link)
  • Environmental Defense global warming commercial. (link)
  • Antilla, L. “Climate of skepticism: US newspaper coverage of the science of climate change”. Global Environmental Change. 2005. (link)
  • Boykoff, M. and Boykoff, J. “Balance as Bias: Global Warming and the US Prestige Press”. Global Environmental Change. 2004. (PDF)
  • Dispensa, J. and Brulle, R.J. “Media’s Social Construction of Environmental Issues: Focus on Global Warming”. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 2003. (PDF)
  • Gelbspan, R. “Boiling Point”. Basic Books. 2004. (link)

Political Sociology / Social Movements

How does social change happen? What are the most effective methods used to support change according to social science research?

  • Hertzgaard, M. “While Washington Slept”. Vanity Fair. 2006. (link)
  • Fortier, Craig. “Decolonizing the Commons in Unsettling Times” in Unsettling the Commons: Social Movements Within, Against, and Beyond Settler Colonialism. 2017. (link)
  • Lorenzen, Janet et al. “‘Turning Out the Grassroots’: Refining Public Feedback in Environmental Policy Making.” Humanity & Society 40(4):379-400. 2016. (link)
  • Steinman, Erich.“Why was Standing Rock and the #NoDAPL Campaign so Historic? Factors Affecting American Indian Participation in Social Movement Collaborations and Coalitions.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 42(7):1070-1090. 2018. (link)
  • LeQuesne, Theo. “Petro-hegemony and the Matrix of Resistance: What Can Standing Rock’s Water Protectors Teach us about Organizing for Climate Justice in the United States?” Environmental Sociology 5(2):188-206. 2018. (link)
  • McCright, A.M. and Dunlap, R.E. “Defeating Kyoto: The Conservative Movement’s Impact on U.S. Climate Change Policy”. Social Problems. 2003. (PDF)
  • Buell, F. “From Apocalypse to Way of Life: Environmental Crisis in the American Century”. Routledege. 2004.
  • Brulle, R. and Jenkins, J.C. “Fixing the Bungled U.S. Environmental Movement”. Contexts. 2008. (link)
  • Bluhdorn, I. “Symbolic Politics and the Politics of Simulation: Eco-political Practice in the Late-Modern Condition”. Environmental Politics. 2007. (PDF)
Internet Resources:
  • Jim Mulherin contributed video. (13 min.). “Introduction & 3D Social Network Analysis of Organized Climate Denial Network,” (3+ min.); “Refection on Current Context,” (4 min.); and “Appendices on SNA visualization”. Includes a short clip of Riley Dunlap’s talk at PSU and a brief introduction to 100% renewable electrical energy simulation. (link)
  • Supplemental materials for “Introduction & 3D Social Network Analysis of Organized Climate Denial Network”. (link)
  • Greenpeace site tracing funding flows from Exxon-Mobil’s anti-global warming campaign. (link)
  • BBC series on climate skeptics. (link)

Sociology of Health and Illness / Medical Sociology

  • Epstein, P.R. “Climate Change and Human Health”. New England Journal of Medicine. 2005. (link)

Sociology of Emotions

  • Norgaard, K.M. ” ‘People Want to Protect Themselves a Little Bit’: Emotions, Denial and Social Movement Nonparticipation.” Sociological Inquiry 2006. (PDF)

Social Stratification and Environmental Justice

Courses in Social Stratification and Environmental Justice might consider how people’s experience of climate change are organized by race, class and gender. The racialized dimension of exposure to “natural disasters” such as hurricanes obviously hit the public consciousness after Hurricane Katrina. On the opposite end of the inequality spectrum, privileged people may encounter emotions of guilt regarding their perpetuation of the problem.

Internet Resources:

Social Psychology

Social Psychology courses might discuss how people perceive climate change, including how they fail to process information about this topic:

  • Bazerman, M. “Climate Change as a Predictable Surprise”. Climate Change. 2006. (PDF)
  • Norgaard, K.M. ” ‘People Want to Protect Themselves a Little Bit’: Emotions, Denial and Social Movement Nonparticipation.” Sociological Inquiry 2006. (PDF)
  • Ungar, S. “Why Climate Change Is Not in the Air: Popular Culture and the Whirlwind Effect”. Proceedings of the Conference on Climate Change Communication, June 22-24, 2000. (PDF)
  • Weber, E. “Experience-Based and Description-Based Perceptions of Long Term Risk: Why Global Warming Does Not Scare Us (Yet)”. Climactic Change. 2006. (PDF)