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Humans Can Reduce Climate Change

The Guiding Principle for Informed Climate Decisions: Humans can take actions to reduce climate change and its impacts.

Changing our own behavior can avert climate change: By switching to energy sources that don't release greenhouse gases, increasing the energy efficiency of our homes and offices, and driving less, we can reduce our effect on the climate and limit climate change.Changing our own behavior can avert climate change: By switching to energy sources that don't release greenhouse gases, increasing the energy efficiency of our homes and offices, and driving less, we can reduce our effect on the climate and limit climate change.

The Guiding Principle for Informed Climate Decisions is a reminder that we are not helpless in the face of the consequences of climate change. Understanding the essential principles is a good start, since any discussion of what actions to take in response to climate change ought to be informed by a solid understanding of the relevant facts.

As “Climate Literacy” emphasizes:

Actions taken by individuals, communities, states, and countries all influence climate. Practices and policies followed in homes, schools, businesses, and governments can affect climate. Climate-related decisions made by one generation can provide opportunities as well as limit the range of possibilities open to the next generation.

Educators in particular should bear the Guiding Principle in mind, since discussing the consequences of climate change for human lives may overwhelm students, hindering their learning and leaving them fearful or even depressed. Including a discussion of what we can do to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as discussed in “Integrating Science, Scientists, and Solutions,” is a good strategy for aiding student understanding of the science while reinforcing the Guiding Principle.

CLEAN’s “Teaching the Guiding Principle for informed climate decisions” provides overview of the content, why it is important, related pedagogical challenges, and examples of high quality resources by grade level.

The links in Resources for Teaching and Learning about Climate Change provide more information especially useful for educators. Or continue to the next section for suggestions on communicating climate change for educators.