Climate change awareness and action start at school! Educators and teachers, being uniquely placed as the main source of knowledge and information for students, play a pivotal role in educating youth about climate change. In this context, UN CC:Learn partnered up with FAO’s YUNGA to deliver the first UN CC:Learn Lab for Teachers – Integrating Climate Change into Education webinar as part of the World Food Forum event series.
The Lab was held on 3rd March 2022, was tailored for teachers, and had 85 participants in total. Its goal was to provide a space for interested teachers from all over the world to exchange and share experiences on the promotion of climate change education, including opportunities, ideas, and challenges. It also offered information on relevant UN resources and activities. The event was divided into three main parts – introduction, group discussion and presentation of resources – and received the support of 4 teachers who had previously worked with UN CC:Learn.
“I would put an emphasis on the role of the teacher. They must be interested and passionate about the topic (of climate change) and then reach out to other schools to look for different kinds of opportunities to connect, talk about and do something.” – Ueli Albrecht, Business, Economics and Law Teacher, Kantonsschule am Burggraben, St. Gallen, Switzerland, and facilitator at the UN CC:Learn Lab for Teachers
Each group discussion was moderated by one of the 4 teachers invited and participants were split into groups according to the grade they teach (Primary, Secondary, High School and University) in order to make the experience-sharing more relevant and relatable. During the discussions, the groups brought up interesting topics, such as the challenges of teaching climate change to people with special needs, the materials they use to teach about climate change and how climate change education is integrated into their educational systems.
After a debrief session with key takeaways of each group discussion, the UN CC:Learn team walked the audience through relevant UN and UN CC:Learn resources that can be useful for educators willing to integrate climate change education into their classes and then invited three teachers to speak about their experiences with UN CC:Learn resources and activities. Ms. Camile Clarke, 2020 UN CC:Learn Champion and a geography teacher in Jamaica, gave an engaging presentation about her experience with UN CC:Learn resources. She was followed by Ms. Divya Rajgarhia, English teacher of GEMS Academy in Dubai, who took the audience through her experience in participating in Youth Climate Dialogues with schools from different parts of the world. Lastly, Mr. Ueli Albrecht, Business, Economics and Law Teacher at Kantonsschule am Burggraben in Switzerland, spoke about youth engagement and the annual visits he does with his students to UNITAR.
“The best part about Youth Climate Dialogues is that it’s not a competition. It’s just an exchange, so the students don’t feel judged. They feel quite self assured when they are expressing themselves, so it’s a great learning platform.” – English Teacher at GEMS Modern Academy and facilitator at the UN CC:Learn Lab for Teachers
“The first course I always recommend is Sustainable Diet. I can tell you when I did it, my whole way of thinking changed. I had no idea that tiny, miniscule changes in diet in my diet, could I actually be part of the solution to climate change. I’d recommend you start by taking a course and I most certainly recommend Sustainable Diet.” – Camile Clarke, 2020 UN CC:Learn Champion, geography teacher in Jamaica and facilitator at the UN CC:Learn Lab for Teachers.
To wrap up the Lab, the UN CC:Learn team laid out to participants the work being done by the programme in its partner countries, notably how it is supporting countries to develop and implement their National Climate Change Learning Strategies and promoting the integration of climate change education into school curricula.
Did you miss the Lab? No worries! Here are the resources for teachers showcased during it:
- Climate Change in the Classroom by UNESCO
- SDG Resources for Educators by UNESCO
- YUNGA Challenge Badges by FAO
- Climate Box by UNDP
- The Little Book of Green Nudges by UNEP
- Library with UN Resources by UN CC:Learn
- Selection of Learning Platforms Developed by UN and Partners by UN CC:Learn
- E-Learning Platform on Climate Change and Green Economy by UN CC:Learn