Are you ready to meet the 'Climate Challenge'? Part 1A
At Explorify, we decided all our resources that provide opportunities to discuss the ‘Climate Challenge’ should be marked with a polar bear badge, making them easy to find. The activities are now tagged by the Climate Challenge topic as well as being tagged by the science topic that they link to.
Hands holding up a globe
What is the ‘Climate Challenge’?
When we say the ‘Climate Challenge’, we are referring to three categories of global concern, each with a differently coloured polar bear badge:
Global warming. Earth’s average temperatures increased by at least 1.1°C between 1880 and 2021. This is largely due to the burning of fossil fuels, which has increased our ’insulating blanket’ of ‘greenhouse gases’ (e.g., carbon dioxide, methane). This NASA kids video explains how ’greenhouse gases’ affect our climate.
Biodiversity loss. Living things (plants, animals, microbes and fungi) interact with each other in a complex web of interdependence. Reduced biodiversity in the world means that there are fewer species, and lower numbers within each species. Extinction rates are currently high, primarily because humans are destroying habitats and overusing resources. In this film, Sir David Attenborough explains the importance of biodiversity.
Pollution. People pollute the air, water and land of our planet when they introduce harmful substances or energy into the environment more quickly than they can be broken down. The harmful substance could be a solid, liquid or gas; harmful energy could be heat, noise or light.
These issues are complicated, interconnected, and importantly, getting worse. This BBC video exploring extinction makes some of the interconnections clear.
Tackling the ‘Climate Challenge’- why and how?
Objectives in the UK primary science curricula specific to climate, biodiversity and pollution continue to evolve and are compared here. The NAEE (National Association for Environmental Education) launched a manifesto in 2022 to help guide schools to become more sustainable and improve the education that children receive to prepare them for facing environmental challenges in the future. Some of the key points from this include:
Collaboration at all levels is important, for example, teachers need to work together across subjects.
Everyone should have opportunities for CPD so that a committed community develops which supports children in becoming confident and having a positive mindset.
Words need to be matched with deeds whilst openly acknowledging uncertainty and the need for compromise.
The school buildings and grounds should be used as an active teaching resource to support learning about sustainability.
Whilst acting locally is important, having global empathy introduces children to climate equity and justice.
Read Part 2 to find out more about how to teach children about these environmental challenges and tackle climate anxiety.
To read the Welsh translation of this blog, click here.