If you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around the unsexiness that is climate change — or need a way to break it down for your nephew — take two minutes and 49 seconds for the video above.

In her TED-Ed mini-lesson, Joss Fong compares CO2 emissions to Tetris blocks we’ve gotta get rid of. Burning fossil fuels adds blocks to the atmosphere, she says, and clearcutting forests undermines Earth’s ability to absorb the blocks. “The more blocks pile up, the harder it becomes to restore stability,” she says.

And just like in Tetris, things are speeding up — less ice, for instance, means there’s less surface area to reflect the sun, which is more rapidly heating the ocean. We’ve got to do something before game over! As Fong says, “Unlike in Tetris, we won’t get a chance to start over and try again.”

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!