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Talking Climate Change with Kids

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Helping elementary educators teach about climate change

We all know how important it is to tackle climate change. It’s affecting animals, wild spaces, communities and even the economy.

We believe it’s vital to involve as many young people as we can. We know they care about the Earth and their communities. We also know that given the chance, they have strong opinions and clear ideas about how to fix the problems.

Clean Foundation is providing the climate change resources below to equip elementary-level educators with information and activities that can be easily integrated into their daily lessons.

We hope this will help teachers promote discussion among students about an environmental issue that will have a direct impact on their futures.

Is climate change too scary to talk about with kids?

This is a question worth asking. Climate Change is scary. It’s also important, in the same way Remembrance Day is – even though it can also be frightening for some children.

Just as on Remembrance Day, when talking about Climate Change we should focus on the solutions and a positive path forward, as well as the problems. Here is an article on how some parents are dealing with this issue.

The American Psychological Association has identified that children can be overwhelmed by the troubles climate change can bring. It’s important that we help them (and each other) feel empowered and hopeful about our ability to meet this challenge. 

They offer the following recommendations to make sure we are communicating responsibly, so that people (children and adults alike) have a balanced and hopeful perspective. (You can read more about these in their report, on page 32.)

 

  1. Give them confidence so that they can find their solutions.
  2. Communicate specific solutions.
  3. Highlight co-benefits.
  4. Acknowledge emotion.
  5. Use personal stories, especially around solutions, about ways to help reduce emissions.
  6. Be careful with imagery, especially of climate change impacts. Instead focus on positive imagery, like solar fields, wind turbines, walking instead of driving.

 

We particularly like the suggestions on this youth-focused website, Earth Guardians: 50 Simple Ways to Cut Carbon. There are lots of ideas for ways children and youth can make a big impact by themselves, with their families and in their classrooms.

 

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