Module 1

Stakes of the Tension

A Primer on Climate Change and Mass Extinction

Tensions In Sustainability Forum Series, Center for Ethics, Emory University

Module Goals

This module focuses on the current state of our physical and biological environment and the threats of climate change and mass extinction on those environments. To this end, the following overarching goals have been identified for this module.

  • Participants have a scientific understanding of global climate change and mass extinction
  • Participants are able to describe the relationship between climate change and mass extinction


To prepare for this module familiarize yourself with this Guide. It is also recommended that you spend some time researching general information about global climate change, mass extinction, and pollution. It is important that you have a basic understanding of these phenomena and be equipped to answer questions that might arise during this discussion. In addition to this, spend some time researching greenhouse gas emissions in your local area and the local impact of climate change in your area. You will need to provide this information to participants during the module.


Preparation time should take about 2 hours. The implementation of the module will take 1 hour. Throughout the guide suggested times are provided for sections and sub sections to assist the facilitator with time management.

Module Outline

  • Climate Change – Climate Change, Causes, Physical Effects, Biological Effects, Impacts on Humans
  • Mass Extinction – Range, Phenology, Morphology, Physiology, Pathogens, Biodiversity
  • Moving Forward: Envisioning the Future

Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of the module, participants should:
  • Be equipped to explain the current findings of climate change science
  • Be familiar with causal contributors to anthropogenic climate change
  • Understand why climate change is very difficult to address and mitigate
  • Be equipped to explain the concept of mass extinction
  • Be able to communicate the evidence for our current biodiversity loss
  • Understand how climate change contributes to this extinction event
  • Be cognizant of the variety of ways by which climate change and mass extinction concerns can be positively addressed

Materials Needed

  • Markers or other writing implements
  • Whiteboard or large flip chart on which to use writing implements
  • Maps/Graphs/Diagrams – either in handout form or on PowerPoint
  • Copies of Climate Change and Mass Extinction Handout for each individual


Download Module 1 here: CREATE_Forum.Module1


Module 1 PowerPoint

Module 1 Presentation PFD