“Climate Change for Astronomers” e-book with Travis Rector

A team of twenty scientists, many being members of Astronomers for Planet Earth (A4E), has published an e-book Climate Change for Astronomers: Causes, consequences, and communication”. The book should “help astronomers be better educators, communicators, and advocates” of climate change. On 590 pages the book collects many aspects of communicating the climate crisis and possible solutions. It was led by Travis Rector, an astronomy professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage and a passionate climate activist.

The initial idea was to create a technical resource, with chapters emphasizing the science of climate change. However, it quickly turned out that the real issue was not that astronomers did not know enough science; the real issue is helping astronomers be better communicators. Climate change communication is much more politically charged, personal, and urgent than most astronomy fields. Climate change communication faces skepticism, denialism, misinformation, and emotions. Thus, the focus of the book shifted from being a technical text to being a resource for astronomers to improve their climate change communication to become effective advocates.