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Using SDGs to Understand Global Issues – SDG 13: Climate Action

Teaching the next generation about the issues affecting our world today is a fundamental part of helping students not only become informed citizens of their own country but also informed citizens of the world. One of these serious issues, highlighted in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13, is climate change.

Taking action to stop and reverse climate change is essential to preserving our environment and ensuring healthy living standards for future generations. According to the UN, progress toward financing and developing positive environmental advancement has begun, but the current levels of need require greater investment to mitigate the problem.

We believe that education is the first step to creating a world devoted to preventing harmful climate change. Educators can inform students on the science behind climate change and inspire them to champion initiatives that seek to protect our planet and societies. Let’s take a look at SDG 13: Climate Action and its value in the classroom.

Why should we educate on climate change?

In reference to climate change education, UNESCO, the UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, explains that “education is an essential element of the global response to climate change. It helps young people understand and address the impact of global warming, encourages changes in their attitudes and behavior, and helps them adapt to climate change-related trends.”

We have also seen that this education has led to greater activism in regard to climate change among young people. On September 20th, 2019, thousands of children and young people protested in London, Melbourne, Berlin, and New York City, as well as in smaller towns and cities around the world, demanding that their governments begin taking action to positively impact climate change. As young people become more educated on climate issues, they become more likely to act on their knowledge.

How can we integrate SDG 13 into the classroom?

When educators integrate climate action principles into the classroom, they help to increase awareness about the major trends affecting our climate, highlighting the ways that humans impact and increase these trends. Teachers may even choose to explore potential solutions to climate change and ways that students can get involved in alleviating the issues.

To explore SDG 13: Climate Action, educators may choose to discuss:

  • Human impact on greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere
  • The effect that civilization has on natural habitats and resources
  • The viability and influence of renewable energy in urban settings

In addition to lessons and class discussions focused on climate change, there are a lot of online resources to help students engage with action-based environmental topics. EdX, a website that provides courses on a variety of subjects, has a course on climate change science for both primary and secondary students.

How can global citizenship provide an essential perspective on climate change?

Climate change is a global issue that requires worldwide participation. Having a global mindset encourages students to recognize the impacts that climate change has on parts of the world other than their own. It is easy to focus only on the climate issues directly affecting our local and national communities, but it is important to gain a global understanding of how to address climate change internationally.

When students are educated about climate change from a global perspective, they are given the tools to envision positive change for the climate and become better global citizens. When they develop this mindset, students obtain the power to have an impact on others that goes beyond their local communities, to influence people just like them around the world.

To inspire your students to think about how they can have an impact on climate change around the world, download our global citizen infographic.

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