Climate change resources aim to spark pupil debate and action

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Two new resources have been published to help support climate change education and action in schools…

UN Climate Change Conference

A suite of learning materials has been published to help students explore the themes of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), which is taking place in Glasgow from November 1 to 12.

The resources have been created by the Fairtrade Foundation alongside a coalition of organisations including the WWF, the Climate Coalition, Global Action Plan, Ashden, and Young Climate Warriors.

The resource gives young people the opportunity to explore the climate crisis through a range of perspectives – from coffee farmers in Kenya to architects in Leeds – highlighting the interconnected nature of the challenges facing us.

The resources will help schools to introduce climate change and COP26 to students and discuss the role of schools in shaping the future. Resources are available for students aged from seven to 16 and include a COP26 Presentation as well as:

  • A Mini Climate Summit Toolkit: Fact sheets, discussion cards and facilitator guide for a mini climate summit activity.
  • A Promise to the Planet Workshop: Guided discussion to identify actions everyone can take in their own lives, and as a contribution to a school's #PromisetothePlanet.
  • Video Library: Bite-sized videos from UN negotiators, climate witnesses and science experts, highlighting COP and the issues it seeks to address.
  • Educator and youth leader guidance: To provide educators, youth leaders and parents with information and advice to help them tackle these complex subjects with confidence.

Joanna Milis, education campaigns manager at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “The time to talk about these issues with young people is now. With all eyes on the UK in November, we must ensure that young people have the opportunity to explore the issues around climate change and understand their own agency in creating change.

“The resource offers a range of perspectives, from producers to climate witnesses, and highlighted the importance of social justice in all steps taken to tackle, adapt to and mitigate climate change.”

Climate Action Plan

A Climate Action Plan has been published aimed at helping schools and colleges – and their students – to take meaningful steps to tackle climate change.

Published by Friends of the Earth, the Climate Action Plan for Schools and Colleges contains a checklist of 50 measures that students and school staff can take.

Suggestions from the Climate Action Plan, which has been funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery, include:

  • Joining the School Streets programme: School Streets is an initiative which restricts vehicle access to roads near schools at drop-off and pick-up times, thus reducing air pollution and promoting active forms of travel.
  • Meat-free Mondays: Food production accounts for 14.5 per cent of global carbon emissions and the meat and dairy industry is responsible for the lion’s share.
  • Greening the curriculum: There are many opportunities to promote learning about the climate emergency within the school curriculum. From the impacts of air pollution in science lessons, or using English classes to perfect persuasive writing techniques.
  • Connecting with community nature initiatives such as Wild in the City.
  • Switching to green energy by opting for a provider that is fossil fuel-free and offers 100 per cent renewable energy.
  • Holding a plastic-free competition challenging staff and students to commit to a week or month without single-use plastic.

Jenny Thatcher, head of youth and families at Friends of the Earth, said: “The wave of school strikers across the planet has underlined the need for educational institutions at all levels to join the wider movement to avoid climate breakdown. The climate crisis is yet to be made part of the formal curriculum, which it must be, but that doesn’t mean schools and students can’t make easy climate wins now. The Climate Action Plan contains so many simple and immediate things that can be done to minimise the impact of transport, food, nature, energy and waste, as well as cost savings and creative ideas for delivering on the curriculum.”


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