Climate Change and the Environment

A polar bear looks up at the camera from the ice. (Christopher Michel/Flickr)

NEW YORK, June 21, 2017 — The first day of summer brings record temperatures in many parts of the United States and around the world. Planes in Phoenix were grounded recently because the temperature was simply too high.

Yet earlier this month, President Trump announced that he would withdraw the United States from the United Nations' Paris Agreement, an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year 2020, which has been signed by 195 participating member states, including the United States.

There is overwhelming scientific consensus on the impacts of climate change, yet some consider climate change to be a controversial topic. But teaching controversy is second nature to many educators; indeed, it's a key aspect of teaching for global competence—preparing students to investigate the world and weigh perspectives is critical to their growth as global citizens.

Our goal here is to help you in that task, so we have compiled resources that we have found useful in teaching about climate change and the environment. If you have other favorite resources on the topic, please send them our way, and we will add them to this collection.

Note: As there have been reports of the Trump administration deleting references to climate change and deleting entire data sets and websites documenting climate change, we have added website access dates to each resource, particularly as many of these resources are from the U.S. government. Every link below worked as of the access date. If you attempt to visit a site that no longer works, please let us know.


Below are the resources we found useful or interesting. If you find others, please share them with us, and we'll add them to this collection!

Captain Planet Foundation Grants
By the Captain Planet Foundation (Accessed 21 June 2017)
P-12 students are our future leaders, professionals, scientists, and citizens. With that, it is important for us to pursue environmental protection as well as education for our future leaders. The Captain Planet Foundation aims to invest in programs that inspire youth to take a lead in the environmental challenges we face.

Classroom Activities on Climate Change
By the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (Accessed 21 June 2017)
The Jet Propulsions Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center that manages NASA’s Deep Space Network. They have provided activities educators [AH1] can use to educate students at all grade levels about climate change and our universe.

Climate Change and Your National Parks
By National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior (Accessed 21 June 2017)
The US has over 50 protected National Parks operated by the National Park Service. These parks have been enjoyed by many Americans and visitors abroad; however, climate change is already threatening the state of some of these parks. Learn how climate change can affect our national parks and how the National Park Service is responding.

Climate Change Education Partnership Alliance
(Accessed 21 June 2017)
The Climate Change Education Partnership Alliance is made up of six multi-institutional projects funded by the National Science Foundation. The CCEP Alliance aims to expand climate change education through research and partnerships.

Climate Change News
By National Geographic (Accessed 21 June 2017)
Read the latest news related to climate change from National Geographic and how it affects our environment, society, and overall well-being.

Climate Change Resources from Global Oneness Project
By Global Oneness Project (Accessed 21 June 2017)
The Global Oneness Project provides stunning images, informative short films, and thoughtful articles on how climate change impacts individuals, communities, and our planet’s resources.

Climate Science Meets a Stubborn Obstacle: Students
By Amy Harmon, New York Times (Accessed 21 June 2017)
As educators, it is always difficult to deal with controversial topics in the classroom, especially when the skeptics are the students themselves. Read this The New York Times article, which features a science teacher struggling to teach his high school class about climate change with many students against his teachings.

Environmental Stewardship Curriculum: Energenius Out-of-School Time Program
By the California School-Age Consortium (Accessed 21 June 2017)
This environmental program aims to engage youth in energy and environmental education. With its focus on energy, youth can become more aware on how energy is measured and funded and learn ways they and their families can adopt energy and water conservation habits.

GlobalChange.Gov Resources for Educators
By the U.S. Global Change Research Program (Accessed 21 June 2017)
The U.S. Global Research Program’s primary goal is to educate others in understanding global change. They provide many useful resources for educators about teaching climate change to students.

Guidance in Teaching Climate and Energy
By the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (Accessed 21 June 2017)
The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network, or CLEAN, sets its goals on enhancing society’s climate and energy literacy by providing educators with resources and guidance on teaching climate change.

How to Teach Kids About Climate Change Where Most Parents are Skeptics
By Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post (Accessed 21 June 2017)
While it’s important to teach students about the effects of climate change in the classroom, what seems to be most effective is having student reach conclusions themselves based on the evidence they find outdoors. Learn how students teach themselves about climate change in an area where most parents doubt human activity affects global climate.

Human Impacts on the World Ocean – Lesson
By National Geographic (Accessed 21 June 2017)
It is clear that the ocean provides many resources for society; however, more recent human activity has negatively affected the states of our oceans. National Geographic has provided lessons and activities educators can use in their classrooms to inform students about our changing ecosystem.

Lessons on Climate Change
By National Geographic (Accessed 21 June 2017)
The National Geographic has provided detailed lesson plans for a range of grade levels for teaching climate change and its effects on our planet.

Reviewed Resources for Teaching about Climate and Energy
By (Accessed 21 June 2017) provides scientific information on climate change that educators can use to teach students about climate science and climate effects.

Teach About Climate Change
By NASA's Climate Kids (Accessed 21 June 2017)
NASA provides interactive lessons that educators and students can take part in. From fun activities to vivid photos, NASA aims to encourage students to be more involved in learning how climate change affects earth.

Teach and Learn – Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
By (Accessed 21 June 2017) provides educators and students of all ages resources they can use to not only enhance their own knowledge about energy, but also to inform others on how energy conversion can alleviate the pressure of climate change.

Teaching About Climate Change with the New York Times
By Jennifer Curtraro and the Learning Network, New York Times (Accessed 21 June 2017)
There’s no single way to teach about climate change. There are many subjects within climate change that both teachers and students should look into. The New York Times’s Learning Network compiled seven teaching ideas that teachers can start with when teaching about global climate.

The Value of Teaching Climate Change in Today's Classroom
By Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Global Oneness Project (Accessed 23 June 2017)
There are clear political debates about what responsibilities we have to take care of our planet. In this article by the Global Oneness Project, Cleary Vaughan-Lee explains the roles and responsibilities teachers, parents, and students have on the subject of climate change, no matter their political agendas.

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