August 24, 2022

fire hydrant with text getting information off internet is like taking drink from hydrant

I suspect that how most of us get our climate change information is a bit chaotic, sort of like climate change! Maybe through our LinkedIn feeds, or Facebook, or Twitter. Or we've signed up for Google search words, or we've signed up for climate news and headline services. Most of these options result in "following the herd," and many reinforce confirmation biases given the filter-bubbles platforms like Google and YouTube build around your search experience.

Trying to figure out a way to make sense of the larger topic of climate change is why we started building the Climate Web 10 years ago; today it's a unique collective intelligence, integrating the thinking of thousands of experts. But a collective intelligence for a wicked problem like climate change also turns out to be a bit terrifying if you haven't been exposed to a lot of tools for visual systems-thinking.

That's why we're experimenting with personal knowledge management (PKM) tools that aren't as complicated. One example is our forthcoming Your Mobile Climate Brain, organizing A LOT of information and resources, and optimized for mobile devices. Another is our forthcoming Individual Action on Climate Change, intended to help individuals sort through the massive topic of "what can I do?" It's important; of the 100 million people in the U.S. concerned or alarmed about climate change, I would estimate that 343 (give or take!) of those people can optimally answer the question of "what can I do?"

Those are forthcoming tools, as opposed to Your Climate Change Search Engine which is now live as a Udemy course. Purchasing the course lets you download Your Climate Change Search Engine. So what does it do?

  • Explore hundreds of climate change topics
  • Instantly execute thousands of pre-set searches simply by hovering your mouse over them (see below). And not "just" general Google searches, but searches aimed at Google Images, Google Scholar, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Reddit, Quora, and other platforms. We're also adding DuckDuckGo search terms to counter algorithmic filter bubbles.
  • Explore aspects of topics that you might not have really thought about or explored. So not just search terms pointing to "carbon pricing," but to "carbon pricing for 2 degrees," "carbon pricing for 1.5 degrees," "internal carbon pricing," and "the social cost of carbon as carbon price."
  • Explore questions that might be key to your financial futures. Including the insurance ramifications of intensifying wildfires in your area, or real estate values is the face of sea level rise, or how sea level rise will eventually trigger massive changes in flood insurance rates. All questions that, once thought about, might cause you to make different decisions.
  • Leverage the amazing resources of Your World in Data, Visual Capitalist, and Quora.com. These may not represent search terms per se, but they have graphics and Q&A relevant to the associated search terms. We've organized many hundreds of great Quora Questions and Answers, for example, often representing great thinking by experts.

Here are a few screenshots to help explain what Your Climate Change Search Engine is all about.

This "front door" to Your Climate Change Search Engine lays out the main topic categories, describes the Search Engine in the Notes Field at right, and lets you access the entire Skeptical Science website through the "Jump" thought to the left.

screenshot of climate change search engine in The Climate Web

When it comes to "topics of the day," users can take advantage of a wide variety of search terms that represent current "hot climate topics." Although you don't see the mouse in the screenshot, it's hovering over the first thought on the list, and you can see the open search term (it happens virtually instantly) at right. Just moving your mouse to any other thought on the list causes it too to execute instantly. It's BY FAR the fastest way to scan climate topics you might be interested in.

screenshot The Climate Web "topics of the day" section

For the topic of "accelerating climate change," you can choose whether you want to access the topic via Wikipedia, Google, DuckDuckGo, Google Images, YouTube, Twitter, Quora, Reddit, or Google Scholar, or even the Climate Web. Just hovering your mouse over any of the thoughts causes the search to execute instantly, in this case pointing to YouTube results (and by the way, you can watch the videos right there inside the Search Engine!)

screenshot The Climate Web section on accelerating climate change

One of the topic categories in Your Climate Change Search Engine is "Is Your Money at Risk?" It helps users quickly investigate questions they might never have thought about when it comes to the value of their home, or farm, in the face of climate change. Or whether they ought to be investing in climate change "commodities" like carbon offsets. Your Climate Change Search Engine is not trying to provide an authoritative answer to such questions, but can hopefully help users explore questions they should be asking.

screenshot The Climate Web section on is your money at risk

Last but not least, Your Climate Change Search Engine lets you jump to dozens of topics in the on-line version of the Climate Web itself (in this case with respect to Accelerating Climate Change). It's far from the best way to explore the Climate Web, but it is a great way to get a sense of the depth of key climate topics, and how you can explore them via the Climate Web's collective climate change intelligence.

screenshot The Climate Web section on climate change known unknowns

Call to Action!

Check out Your Climate Change Search Engine via our Udemy course. You can watch all of the course videos for free, and only purchase the course if you want to download and utilize Your Climate Change Search Engine. I will note that we've priced Your Climate Change Search Engine so that it's affordable to virtually anyone with an interest in climate change (if you're an exception, contact us!). But please note that if you check out the course but don't purchase it within 24 hours, and then purchase it at a later date, Udemy takes most (of the extremely modest) course fee. So we would appreciate your acting sooner rather than later -- and Udemy has a money-back guarantee!

Your Climate Change Search Engine is intended as a read-only tool, allowing you to benefit from all the additions and improvements we're making to it over time. But if you want to be able to customize your own Climate Change Search Engine, or download and organize resources you find via the Search Engine, we have a different (fully modifiable) version of the Search Engine here.

Regardless of whether you purchase Your Climate Change Search Engine, we would welcome your reaction to the idea behind it. Are there Search Engines you'd particularly like to see? We could, for example, do a Search Engine much more focused on business climate risks. Suggestions welcome! 



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