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Teaching Climate Change

Teaching about climate change and climate justice in the social studies classroom is perhaps the most important task of our times as teachers. In terms of threats to the human species, it doesn't get more intense than the impact of climate change on our lives. As climate change accelerates we will see an increased melting of the Arctic, rising sea levels, the wiping out of entire island nations, and increased severity of severe weather. All of these events can lead to and have caused human casualties.

It is essential that teachers take up the task in the climate justice movement and understand that climate change is interconnected to our social, economic and political aspects of our lives. We cannot afford to "debate" if climate change is real or not with our students. It is time that we teach the truth as represented by 97% of climate scientists. Not only that, but we also need to be working on solutions with our students on how we can limit and stop climate change before it's too late.

More importantly, students must understand that climate change is inherently unjust. The major western countries on earth are the largest polluters and contributors to climate change, yet it is the countries with the smallest carbon footprint that will be paying the deadly price of climate change. We must learn with our students that environmental justice is also tied to social and economic justice in our world. As Naomi Klein states in her new book, "This Changes Everything", "Our economic model is at war with life on Earth. We can't change the laws of nature, but we can change our broken economy. And that's why climate change isn't just a disaster. It's also our best chance to demand - and build - a better world". And that is our ultimate challenge as teachers. We must discuss with our students about how our profit/growth driven economy has accelerated the rate of climate change and what that will do to the world as we know it.

The facts about climate change can be truly horrifying for any student to consider. That's why it is essential that will also provide hope to our students that a better world is possible and that at this moment in time we are presented with an opportunity to change the trajectory of the profit driven and greed riddled path that we're on to one based on equity, justice and environmental/human rights.

Whether you teach in Alberta, Texas or anywhere else in the world, this is not an issue we can ignore in our classrooms.

Resources:

1. Teaching the Terrifying Math of Climate Change

2. Teach Climate Justice  

3. A People's Curriculum for the Earth 

4. Get Real On Climate 

5. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate



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