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Climate Change: A Plain Language Guide

By Reid Caplan

July 1, 2022

What is climate change?

Climate is the measure of things like the weather and temperature over time in an area of the world. Climate change is when the weather and temperature all over the world changes. This makes the environment harder for everyone to live in.

You might have heard the words “climate change” to talk about things like:

  • Global warming. Global warming is when the average temperature on Earth gets hotter. The Earth is getting warmer as time goes on. This makes ice melt in places like Antarctica. It makes the sea level get higher. This causes a lot of problems.
  • Natural disasters. Natural disasters are dangerous events that happen in nature. They are things like floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and fires. They happen randomly, but climate change makes them more likely to happen. Climate change also makes natural disasters worse when they do happen. For example, global warming makes forests drier. That makes it more likely for a fire to happen, and for the fire to do more damage.
  • Pollution. Pollution is when the environment gets poisoned by something. For example, smoke from factories pollutes the air. It makes it dangerous to breathe.
  • Plants and animals dying. They may die from pollution. They may die from climate change making their homes dangerous to live in. People die from climate change too.


Reid Caplan, “Climate Change: A Plain Language Guide.” Plain Language Version. Disability and Climate Change: A Public Archive Project. July 1, 2022.

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