We’re Teaching Kids the Wrong Ways to Fight Climate Change

August 9, 2017 at 10:37 am Leave a comment

Illustration courtesy of Seth Wynes and Kimberly Nicholas, 2017, Environmental Research Letters

When Seth Wynes was teaching high school science in Canada, there was one question his students asked him that he had trouble answering: What can I do to stop climate change? The existence of climate change was an unpleasant surprise for many of them—they had grown up hearing adults talk about things like peak oil in doom-laden tones, so the news that humans would trash the atmosphere before they even reached peak oil filled them with alarm. They wanted to do something.

Then Wynes began comparing their resesarch to climate-related documents aimed at teenagers and adults in the three most high-emitting countries on the list: Canada, Australia, and the United States. He wanted to know—were the actions on his list the same as the actions these documents recommended?

They were not, as Wynes and Nicholas reveal in a paper that was published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The most high-impact actions on his list, like living without a car, avoiding transatlantic flights, and eating a plant-based diet were often ignored entirely in educational climate change materials, which favored less-effective actions like recycling and using more energy-efficient lightbulbs.

Read the full article We’re Teaching Kids the Wrong Ways to Fight Climate Change by Heather Smith at Sierra Club.

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Entry filed under: Carbon_Emissions, Climate, Students/Youth.

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