The Earth is a complex connected system 


Active Philanthropy


A climate science workshop series by Active Philanthropy: Episode 4 

What happens in one part of our planet, doesn’t stay there. The Earth is a complex, connected system. When one part of the Earth’s system changes, it can set off a chain reaction with far-reaching and potentially catastrophic consequences.  

The loss of huge amounts of ice – our planet is losing 1.2 trillion tons of ice every year – is one such example: Less ice means that less heat can be reflected back into the atmosphere, because darker surfaces tend to absorb more heat. Thus, ice loss triggers more warming, which in turn causes more ice to melt – a vicious cycle. 

The fourth episode of our climate science workshop series with climate scientist Dr Twila Moon, dives into such very concrete examples and shows just how deeply our Earth system is interconnected. Each of the 8 episodes in this series is just about 5 minutes long and packed with key facts and figures to help you get a basic understanding of climate science. 

Watch now: Climate Science with Dr Twila Moon: Episode 4 – The Earth is a complex connected system 

3 key takeaways from this episode 

  • Because we live in a connected Earth system, changes can create vicious amplifying loops. 
  • For now, human action can minimise the potential for these loops to cross irreversible tipping points.
  • But time is of the essence – we must take action now, while human action can still prevent runaway changes.  

For a more detailed summary of this episode, check out our cheat sheet! 

If you’ve missed the previous episodes, you can catch up here: 

Episode 1: Yes, people are changing the climate 

Episode 2: Climate science is well understood 

Episode 3: Carbon emissions have created our warmer temperatures 

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