How, Leichenko and O’Brien ask, can we expect young people to engage with the transformative challenges required to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement when climate change education is organized in a narrow and linear fashion?
Many current climate change courses and teaching modules largely emphasize scientific literacy through a focus on physical processes, documentation of rising emissions, and empirical evidence of a changing climate. Classroom explorations of climate change responses are often limited to “business-as-usual” policy options, new technologies, and behavioral interventions to reduce emissions or promote adaptation.
But such approaches make it difficult for students to recognize the social dimensions of climate change and to identify openings and entry points for sustainability transformations.
“As college and university educators, we play a critical role in motivating and inspiring action on climate change. This article provides a roadmap for teaching climate change in a way that opens opportunities for humanity to thrive in The Anthropocene.”
— Robin Leichenko and Karen O’Brien —
In a Viewpoint pubished in the Anthropocene journal, Leichenko and O’Brien argue that it is time to rethink climate change education within higher education and adapt it to the Anthropocene. They advocate for an integrative approach that focuses on humans as active and reflexive agents of large-scale systems change, incorporates economic, political, cultural, psychological, and emotional dimensions of the issue, and fosters active engagement with transformations to sustainability.
Viewpoint: Teaching climate change in the Anthropocene: An integrative approach
Anthropocene 30 (2020) 100241. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ancene.2020.100241
Download the article for free (for a limited time) here.