Voices for Climate Change Education

Voices for Climate Change Education in PDF

Teaching Climate Change logo by Paula Spence for NCSE, 2012

Many leading scientific and educational groups have expressed support for teaching climate change in college, high school, grade school and informal settings. Here are some of their statements:

US Government

National Research Council of the National Academies of Science of the US, Climate Change Education: Goals, Audiences, and Strategies (2011):

The reality of global climate change lends increasing urgency to the need for effective education on earth system sciences, as well as on the human and behavioral dimensions of climate change, from broad societal action to smart energy choices at the household level.

National Research Council of the National Academies of Science of the US, Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change (2010):

The climate-related decisions that society will confront over the coming decades will require an informed and engaged public and an education system that provides students with the knowledge they need to make informed choices about responses to climate change. Today’s students will become tomorrow’s decision makers as business leaders, farmers, government officials, and citizens. Our report finds that much more could be done to improve climate literacy, increase public understanding of climate science and choices, and inform decision makers about climate change, including an urgent need for research on effective methods of climate change education and communication.

US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP):

People want to know how climate change and variability affect their lives and livelihoods and whether humans can and should do something about global warming. There is a growing imperative for the actionable climate and environmental information that is needed to inform resource management, planning, and other decisions taking place across the [n]ation.

Educational Organizations

National Association of Geoscience Teachers:

The National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) recognizes: (1) that Earth's climate is changing, (2) that present warming trends are largely the result of human activities, and (3) that teaching climate change science is a fundamental and integral part of earth science education.

Professional Science Organizations

American Geological Institute:

The American Geological Institute (AGI) strongly supports education concerning the scientific evidence of past climate change, the potential for future climate change due to the current building of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and the policy options available. Understanding the interactions between the solid Earth, the oceans, the biosphere, and the atmosphere both in the present and over time is critical for accurately analyzing and predicting global climate change due to natural processes and possible human influences.

American Geophysical Union:

Members of the AGU, as part of the scientific community, collectively have special responsibilities: to pursue research needed to understand it; to educate the public on the causes, risks, and hazards; and to communicate clearly and objectively with those who can implement policies to shape future climate.

Geological Society of America:

[T]he Geological Society recommends that its members take the following actions: Actively participate in professional education and discussion activities to be technically informed about the latest advances in climate science. … Engage in public education activities in the community, including the local level.

The American Chemical Society recommends the development of:

a national strategy to support climate change education and communication that both involves students, technical professionals, public servants and the general public, as well as being integrated with state and local initiatives. A national climate education act could serve as a catalyzing agent to reinvigorate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education across the nation.

International Organizations

UNESCO, Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development (2010, PDF):

What children learn today will shape tomorrow’s world. Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development (CCESD), therefore, has a central role to play in helping the general public and especially the next generations understand and relate to the issues, make lifestyle changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and adapt to the changing local conditions. While CCESD at all levels and in both formal and non-formal settings is needed, instilling climate change awareness and understanding at a young age is ultimately the best way to change behaviours and attitudes.