Climate change education and what it means for the upcoming generation

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Dr. Sonja Klinsky, Associate Professor in the ASU College of Sustainability, joined us to talk more about climate change and the discussion as to its role in K-12 education. Klinsky is also a global futures scientist.

Dr. Klinsky said that some schools embrace teaching about climate change, while others tend to struggle. “We see a lot of variations in the field,” she mentioned. “You don’t have to be as concerned about the politics when teaching climate change to children, as long as you explain the physical principles.”

Klinsky said she has faced political pushback, which one has to deal with when talking about climate change. “I think people are concerned about the politicization of climate change and then how that leads into the classroom.”

Kids are totally getting it, she said. Kids are hearing about climate change outside the classroom. “You cannot be a child in America today, and not be hearing about climate change.” One of the ways Klinksy suggests focusing on the teachings is to teach the basic physics first.

“When you love the kids you work with, you allow space to talk about how kids are feeling about climate change.” Klisnky also believes it helps with the political resistance because kids and parents don’t have to be scared. “Working in a space that it allows it to be scary is one of the most helpful things one can do,” she added.

“Whether we like it or not, it’s their world, not ours,” she said.

Sonja Klinsky, an associate professor in the ASU School of Sustainability

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