Do you know what a MOOC is? It may be the highest expression of what the internet is capable of. According to MOOC.org, “Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses available for anyone to enroll. MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale.” In other words, they offer the sum of all human experience to anyone with an internet connection for free.
A new MOOC entitled Climate Change and Health is now available. It was developed by Rainer Sauerborn, a public health expert who is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, together with educational engineer Sophie-Hélène Goulet.
According to the Washington Post, the videos, quizzes and interactive exercises help you understand how climate change affects health, how humans might adapt to physical changes on Earth, and how you can take care of your own health while helping to sustain the planet. It includes commentary and research from IPCC authors and experts from 10 countries.
Climate Change and Health is user-friendly and self-paced. It encourages students to reflect on their own surroundings and advocate for better health for themselves and others. And though there is the option to buy a certificate of completion from Springer Nature, the educational publisher that hosts the course, its evidence-based lessons are free to all. Below is the introduction page for the course.
About this course
Climate change is currently at the center of the world’s attention, with delegations from more than 190 countries meeting in Paris for the COP21 to negotiate an agreement how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep global warming under 2°C.
There are not many world citizens who do not have their children’s and their own health as a top priority. So why is health not more prominent topic in the debate on climate change and its impacts? We hear a lot about polar bears and smokestacks in the media, but very little on the many and the large health impacts of climate change. With this MOOC, we want to provide state-of-the art evidence of the link between climate change and the health of populations.
Who is this course for?
We address the general public from all parts of the world.
Health professionals may have a special interest and are very welcome, so are teachers and journalists, who may use this MOOC to disseminate the evidence provided. People working in meteorology and climate sciences, too, may be interested in health impacts and are welcome. In this interface between health and climate, there are few experts. So every interested global citizen, whether expert or not, is welcome to chime in.
What do I need to know?
The course does not require any knowledge about the climate system and climate change. You do not have to be a health person to follow as we cover ground on the link between climate change and health that will be new even for medical doctors. Of course you should be reasonably comfortable with English, not the least to be able to participate in the many interactive platforms and exercises offered during this MOOC.
What will I learn?
You will become familiar with the nature of health impacts worldwide, and for your country in particular. Further you will get to know best practices from around the world in adaptation strategies and the promotion of health co-benefits. There will be discussion forums for disease- and target-group specific interest groups, e.g. a forum on child malnutrition from climate change or health effects on the elderly.
You will analyse your country as a case study throughout the course and share this work with other course participants on our country-specific platforms. You will understand the limits and strengths of your own country’s climate adaptation plan.
Hence you will be able to engage national and local policy makers to improve health protection from climate change in your country. Interviews with national policy-makers will be part of the course.
Chapter 1: What is climate change and how can it affect health?
Chapter 2: What health effects do we expect?
Chapter 3: Reducing emissions – in health terms: prevention
Chapter 4: The good news: doing something to reduce emissions is good for your health
Chapter 5: Adapting to the effects of already occurring climate change – “therapy”
Outlook: A climate friendly world is healthier, more equitable, sustainable and fun
A CleanTechnica Challenge
So here’s the deal. We write constantly about climate change and hope our efforts affect the thinking of our readers. But we are merely reporters. Although we get some feedback from the comments people post, we have no accurate way of assessing whether we are making a big difference, a little difference, or no difference at all.
But what if a number of our readers were to take the free Climate Change and Health online course and share what they learned with us and others? Is this course helpful? Does it advance our understanding of climate change and the challenges facing humanity as average global temperatures increase?
If you take the course, please share your experience with us. We will compile your input and update this story using actual reader experiences on a regular basis. No grades, no fees, no pressure, just access to knowledge. After you finish the course, let me know if it was valuable and why. My e-mail address is email@example.com.