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One Planet: How should the climate crisis be taught in schools?

A University of Bath survey of 10,000 young people across 10 countries between ages 16 and 25 found that two-thirds of youth said they were feeling sad, afraid, or anxious about climate change. Eight out of 10 said the future is frightening.

On this edition of Your Call, we discuss how climate change is being taught in schools.

More than 80 percent of parents in the US said they want climate change taught to their children, according to a 2019 poll from NPR/Ipsos. A separate poll found teachers are even more supportive, but nearly 60 percent don't teach climate change because they believe it's outside of their subject area.

Recent research shows that if only 16 percent of high school students in high and middle-income countries were to receive climate change education, we could see a nearly 19 gigaton reduction of carbon dioxide by 2050. One gigaton equals one billion metric tons.

What's needed to improve the curriculum to include climate change and how can we help young people cope with climate anxiety?


Dr. Christina Kwauk, social scientist and non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution

Kimi Waite, social justice educator, civics environmental education fellow at the North American Association for Environmental Education, public voices fellow at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication & The OpEd Project, and 2021 California Council for the Social Studies Outstanding Elementary Teacher of The Year

Julieta Rodrigo, certified climate science educator and communicator, member of YOUNGO, the official children and youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and former program manager at The CLEO Institute

Web Resources:

K12 Climate Action

The Zinn Education Project: A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis

Grist, Kimi Waite: Bills banning critical race theory also threaten climate education

Brookings, Christina Kwauk and Rebecca Winthrop: Unleashing the creativity of teachers and students to combat climate change: An opportunity for global leadership

Brookings, Christina Kwauk and Olivia Casey: A new green learning agenda: Approaches to quality education for climate action

NPR, Anya Kamenetz: Most Teachers Don't Teach Climate Change; 4 In 5 Parents Wish They Did

Malihe Razazan is the senior producer of KALW's daily call-in program, Your Call.
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.