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Supporting Climate Change Education

What can you do to support climate change education in your local community?

Parents

Communicating climate change: Source: NRELCommunicating climate change: Source: NREL
  • Tell your child’s science teacher that you support climate change education, in the science classes and throughout the curriculum.
  • Emphasize that you reject the idea of teaching the controversy over climate change as scientifically inaccurate and pedagogically irresponsible.
  • Support the inclusion in climate change education of a discussion of solutions, which helps to allay the possible emotional impact of the topic.
  • Ask your child about activities and homework. Be on the lookout for attempts to downplay climate change, especially the use of supplementary materials reflecting climate change denial.
  • Help to organize a field trip to a climate change exhibit at a local natural history museum, science center, nature center, zoo, or aquarium.

Schools

  • Share your views about climate change with your principal, local school board members, textbook committees, and other relevant authorities.
  • Encourage local media to ask school board candidates questions about their views on science and climate education.
  • Monitor school board meetings to make sure that there are no attempts to compromise the quality of science education.
  • Make sure your school’s library and classrooms have scientifically accurate and educationally appropriate resources on climate change.
  • Arrange for local scientists who study different aspects of climate and global change to visit classrooms and laboratories as guest speakers.

Beyond the schools

  • Encourage local museums, zoos, parks, and similar informal learning environments to be clear in their support for climate change education. Contribute funds to special exhibits, post positive remarks on the organization’s website (via forums, blogs, and other social networks), and share the news with others.
  • Join — or organize — a local citizens science group. Get in touch with NCSE if you need help.
  • When there is controversy in your community, add your voice. Write local officials and journalists; attend (and testify) at local hearings; energize your friends and colleagues to make their voices heard; support local citizen science groups; create Facebook pages, blogs, Twitter feeds, and newsgroups that keep people informed; contribute editorials to local newspapers, websites, and blogs.

Media

  • Monitor local media for news of efforts to undermine climate change education in your state or community.
  • Thank print, radio, television and online journalists for accurate and informative coverage about climate science and climate education. Encourage and support science education in the media — express your appreciation of climate-related shows (such as NOVA’s) to the station and the sponsors.
  • Write positive reviews of good climate change books, especially those that provide a range of solutions, at on-line bookstores and similar forums.
  • Tell friends and colleagues about climate and energy related articles, books, and websites via e-mail, Facebook, Yelp, Amazon, Twitter, and other on-line venues.
  • Add links on your personal and/or organization’s web page to climate change websites (including ncse.com), articles, blogs, and books.

Scientists

  • If you have the appropriate background, visit classrooms, teacher workshops, civic groups, business groups and church groups, to share your expert knowledge — but make sure you calibrate your talk appropriately for the audience so the science is accessible and relevant to them.
  • Ensure that climate change and related scientific topics are taught well and thoroughly in your own department, and encourage the creation of informal opportunities for climate change education, such as public lectures and museum exhibits.
  • Inform your colleagues about ongoing climate change controversies and the need for their involvement — giving presentations at professional society meetings, writing articles for organization websites, making announcements on e-mail lists, etc.
  • At conferences, organize sessions on climate change education, communications, and outreach, and provide workshops about climate education for local teachers.

Faith communities

  • Suggest adult religious education projects focusing on climate change with your religious leaders.
  • Encourage your religious leaders to produce educational resources about climate change and religion.
  • Encourage your religious leaders to take a formal stand in support of climate change education.

NCSE

Learn why climate change isn’t taught. Or learn about defending climate change education from the attacks of climate change deniers.