When it comes to getting students interested in climate change, there are many factors that we need to consider. The following tips provide ideas for getting students interested in the topic of climate change as well as some calls to action.
Tip #1: Make it Relevant
The best place to introduce the climate change topic is opening up discussion about skepticism. Talking about widespread denial of climate change is crucial to helping students see why sustainable energy sources are necessary. Discussing the different theories and presenting data and facts through projects, presentations, and YouTube videos is an easy way to help students understand why sustainable energy sources matter so deeply. As the population grows denser, even small town areas feel the effects of weather changes due to air pollution. Hotter summers and brutal winters are taking the Americas by storm. Literally.
Tip #2: Introduce Modern Technology
Talking about climate change and its prevention continues with conversations about sustainable energy. Students have often heard about the problem of climate change but do not know the reasons why it matters. Part of the reason they do not understand why sustainability matters is due to the fact that they are not aware of the technology is available to them to make a difference. European countries successfully integrate solar power, hydroelectricity and other forms of clean energy in addition to their use of nonrenewable resources, making it one of the cleanest continents on the planet.
Educating students on the powerful impact electric, Hydroelectric and solar power has on cleaning up the atmosphere is essential. Reducing the impact of pollution on a small town scale is just as important as using clean energy in cities. If students throughout the country care deeply about environmental friendliness—through the education of clean energy sources—they will more than likely use these clean energy sources in their own homes and businesses one day.
Tip #3: Local Experiments
Having students gather water from around their towns and bringing this water into science labs for testing will help them understand how pollution affects the water sources. Comparing the results of the water tests to bottled spring water is a powerful tool for helping students understand the importance of cleanliness in what we put in our bodies.
This experiment can provide a direct correlation to climate change. Students can compare the effects of pollution on water to the effect of pollution in the air. The water experiment helps students conceptualize that similar—if not worse—measurements are being taken in the air as pollution is wearing away at the ozone layer. This can be used to discuss how the Earth is being more and more exposed to the vacuum of space in the heat of the sun.
Tip #4: Actionable Tips
Providing students with actionable tips that they can implement in their own homes is paramount. Teaching students green habits now create better chances of those habits carrying over into adult life. Creating assignments like having students make compost piles, plant gardens, do research on sustainable fashion, materials, makeup, and use electricity saving bulbs are easy ways to engage students in creating sustainable habits.
Another way to engage students is to have them discuss climate change on social media or through monitored blog posts. Not only will this get them thinking about their own opinions, but it will expose them to the opinions of others and allow them the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the topic. The best way to create a sustainable tomorrow is to create advocates for sustainability today.