Engaging with Climate Change: What Teachers Can Do

Top Tips by Executive Director Gareth Thomson


We've been thinking long and hard about how to teach climate - and we KNOW it can be done! Here's some of our top 'tips and tricks...' Please click through the links below, and send us any comments at info[at]abcee.org - we'd love to hear from you! 

-ACEE Staff

Engage in the topic, through your curriculum. There is something here for all teachers, because climate education is for all K-12 students.  It is…

  • science, social studies, language arts, math, wellness, etc.
  • student learning in energy, environmental conservation, and in the outdoors


Reframe the climate issue. Climate has a solution space and a problem space – teach about the solutions, not the problems. This means you’re talking about good news, not bad news. This means you’re giving hope, not despair.  


Help students take action – because action is our secret sauce. It is no longer good enough to just learn – we need both personal and public action. Remember that learners act because of how they feel, not what they know – so use the arts to help them feel. Action engenders hope: as David Orr says: “Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.”


Help students understand about limits and trade-offs. "Sorry kids – but we can’t have it all." We need to get used to making hard decisions, akin to staying within your personal or household budget.


Lobby for MORE environmental, energy, and climate change education:


Get better at talking about climate. Learn from the Alberta Narratives project, frame climate action as part of a positive narrative.  Talk about energy transition, extreme weather, human health. Keep it local, keep it personal.  


Things are changing – this is good news, so talk it up! 1.4 million students took part in the last Climate Strike. Five Canadian cities have announced Climate Emergencies. Many Alberta municipalities have Climate Action Plans (e.g. Canmore, Calgary, Edmonton)….Something is happening!


Encourage students to think beyond themselves and be global citizens; to move away from "Me. Here. Now." thinking. Instead of Me – what is good for my community. Instead of Here – how will things change in my region? Instead of Now – What will be the impact seven generations from now?


Get more and better resources, and try them out! Do a search on our Resource Hub, and check out ‘What is Excellent Climate Change Education?’


Doing good work? Tell your story! Your students (and you) deserve credit – and you’ll inspire others to also act. The planet needs you to tell your story! Please share your story with us - we'll broadcast it even further!


Feed your brain and your heart – stay engaged. Become part of your local network – and mark your calendar for the next Recharge conference, 16-18 April 2020, Canmore! Please let us know what you'd like to learn at this conference!


“Schools should prepare us for the future, not the past. The future of the world will be built on sustainability. If we learn what sustainable technologies are available when we are in school, we will be able to help shape the future of global sustainability when we graduate.” 

- Quinn, student at Jasper Place high school in Edmonton