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Harry Potter and Climate Change

“Harry Potter” by JK Rowling sets up ideas and methods on how to stop climate change and slow global warming, according to Belmont professor Ann Coble.

“What happened was, I teach a first year seminar with Harry Potter, and I teach a third year religion that does theology and climate change. And I thought, could those have anything to do with each other?” Coble said.

Using Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore’s Army and the Hogwarts houses as examples, people can learn through a popular book series how to better care for the earth. This was the premise for the WELL Core event hosted by Belmont's College of Theology and Christian Ministry.

The Order of the Phoenix in the Harry Potter books centers around resistance and fighting against evils that were dominating the wizarding world.

This relates to the resistance movements of the older generations of scientists who fought to bring climate change to the limelight and continue to speak about it in organizations like The Third Act, Coble said.

“I hear people say that the fight against climate change is only for the younger generation. This is a big mistake,” Coble said. “However, we also make a mistake if we think only older, wiser, more knowledgeable people can address climate change.”

The younger generation in Harry Potter is Dumbledore's Army, a group of rebellious teenagers, and Coble tells of the motivation she wants this analogy to give to young adults.

“They can make a difference, it is not hopeless, and they can do things to help the younger world,” Coble said. “There’s practical things people can do, things that seem really small like recycling.”

This event did inspire students like Kiley Heltzel to get more educated on what she can do to benefit the world.

“I’m really not that educated on it, so it definitely made me want to look into climate change,” Heltzel said. “Then I’ll see what I’m capable of in the world.”

To see what someone could do to better the climate, Coble suggests looking at your prominent character traits and your Hogwarts house.

By comparing how Gryffindors are traditionally defined by their bravery, Hufflepuffs by their loyalty and hard work, Ravenclaws by their intellect and Slytherins by their cunningness, everyone can play into their strengths and come together to stop climate change, according to Coble.

“We need to rally out ravenclawness, not just to cool our heating world, but also to treat one another justly in the midst of complicated economic, agricultural, social and political problems,” Coble said.

This connection to the Harry Potter series’ houses resonated with Belmont student Abby Hodge.

“I thought it was interesting how all the different houses kind of correlated to what they can do and what efforts they can do to help climate change,” Hodge said. “Using our different passions, using our different strengths in communication to help.”

Presenting fun analogies and connections between the book series and real life, Coble has taught the importance of talking about and working to stop climate change.

Behind the fun WELL Core, the facts about the world’s current climate built the foundation for the event.

“October has been hotter than any previous October, and the whole year, each month has been hotter than any previous month so far,” Coble said. “Not by huge amounts, but by enough that they’re paying attention since it’s not just one month here and there, but it’s months in a row.”

By comparing a fun series to a real-world issue, Coble accomplished her goal of encouraging people to care more about climate issues.

“Through the storytelling aspect of communicating a need to people, she spoke really clearly,” Hodge said. “And that was able to resonate with people.”


This article was written by Maya Burney

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