Wake Up, Freak Out, Get Going

This is a video about climate change and the global “tipping point” by freelance animator Leo Murray of WakeUp, Freak Out. Behold!

The rhetoric of this short departs from the analytic strategies of An Inconvenient Truth and The 11th Hour, the heroic romance of Wall-E, and especially the apocalyptic cool of The Day the Earth Stood Still. It is unapologetically alarmist and confrontational, aiming, as its mother web site says, to freak people out and then get them going.

My question would be: is this an appropriate short to show to students? More specifically, should we aim to make students more afraid than they are–or to remind them of how afraid they are– in order to get them going?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Note: As careful readers have noted, there is no list of sources in the video itself. However, should you want to point your students towards the science behind the video, you can follow the link to the animator’s site that appears at the top of the post, where you will find a list of sources. Thanks to everyone who asked about this.

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3 thoughts on “Wake Up, Freak Out, Get Going”

  1. I would show this to students. The way this short makes connections us useful and clear. It makes the various complicated interactions obvious, and provides the necessary sense of alarm.

    But a *big* weakness is the lack of citations for all the data given.

    FYC students in my classes are required to carefully provide credible source citations that support their claims in a paper.

    As well, a significant number of the students I work with see the global warming issue as a hoax.

    So, the combination of lots of claims, no support, and a doubting audience makes the document fairly easy to dismiss for those who most need to hear the message.

    How hard would it be to footnote this short with the landmark research that shows our dire straits?

  2. Why does a video like this need to cite sources? It seems to me that it is a pedagogical video. I don’t cite my sources as I teach. Nor do I cite sources when I make animation (admittedly I have never done anything on the scale of this!). Rather than “citing sources,” a teacher might acknowledge source citation conventions and inquire into the reasons, places, and occasions for citing, no?

  3. It’s important to know that sources are available, I think (and as the edited post makes clear, they are) – as anne says, without them, it is too easy to dismiss, for those who are predisposed to do so. Many people apparently are disposed to dismiss climate change, so this is especially important.

    You wouldn’t cite your sources as you teach (and similarly, it would make no sense to try to include them *within* the animation!) – but one might hope that you would be able to back up any claims you make, if a student were to challenge you…?

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