Climate Change and Education

What is Climate Change?

The Earth’s climate is always changing, and throughout history we’ve had periods of tropical heat and intense ice ages, but in the last 200 years, the rise in temperature has increased so dramatically that it's impacting both humans and the environment alike. And since so much of this has been our responsibility, it is vital that we make the changes necessary to reduce the effect of climate change. 

What are Some of the Effects of Climate Change?

Climate change affects us in many ways. As the world gets hotter, some areas become drier and more desertic, making it more difficult for food to grow. This also causes droughts, making it harder to have access to drinking water. As the sea absorbs all the heat, the ice caps are slowly melting, making sea levels rise, and natural disasters like big storms, wildfires and landslides also become more common. 

Can We Have an Impact on Climate Change?

Absolutely. Climate change and its effects are a big cause for anxiety, but through actions big and small we can help reduce its impact. Education plays an integral role in raising awareness and actioning change. Although there are already changes in place to the National Curriculum regarding climate change that will come into effect from 2023, the sooner we integrate climate change awareness in the classroom the sooner we will see results. Children are energetic, skilled with technology and enthusiastic to create change, so they are already equipped to make a difference. 

Climate Change for Younger Students

Climate change can be a difficult subject to tackle because it can cause worry. With younger students the most important lesson will be to teach them all the great things the planet provides us with, and what we need to do to care for it. Growing plants or vegetables in the classroom is a great hands-on way to get them involved, and small activities where they need to reuse or recycle objects and find a new use for them will teach them to care for finite resources. Children love animals, so explaining the importance of their habitat will also teach them to care not only about the animals, but the space they live in. 

Climate Change in Key Stage 2

As children get older, they have a better comprehension of cause and effect. Through a number of experiments, they can study first-hand how climate change works. They can learn how we cause climate change and also what actions we can take to reduce its impact. Small changes in our daily routines such as using less water, walking when we can and turning off the lights are just as important as changes we can make as a society: using renewable energies rather than fossil fuels for energy, phasing out the use of plastics, and reducing the amount of carbon dioxide we create. 

Climate Change in Key Stage 3 and Beyond

As students grow older they can study the far-reaching implications of climate change and how they as individuals can effect change on a larger scale, be it through political action, through communication, research or design and engineering. They can also study about contemporaries who are making a difference to see that they can have an impact at any age

Climate change is a tremendous cause for concern, but it is also an opportunity for us to innovate and rethink how we live. By educating children early on about climate change we are giving them the tools they will need to feel empowered and build a better future for themselves. 

“Instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, only then, hope will come”
Greta Thunberg

There has never been a more important time to teach children about science, engineering, technology and maths to help find solutions for climate change. If you are interested in becoming a STEM teacher to impart this vital knowledge, then you may be wondering about what financial help there is available to enter the teaching profession. In this blog we outline the bursaries and scholarships that you can apply for, to help your teaching dream become a reality.

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