We need to talk to kids about climate change but it can be scary for them and for us adults. So how we can do it to make sure we all know the facts but also avoid wanting to crawl into a bunker and lock the door?
Kids books! That’s how.
Books are effective and engaging way to teach kids about climate change. It can transform a bunch of frightening facts and news grabs into something more understandable and relatable, as it invites readers to step into the shoes, hearts and minds of the characters and see how they face challenges from many angles, often with hope and humour.
My anger about inaction to climate change inspired the Grimsdon trilogy, about kids living in a climate-changed world, led by a feisty, sword-wielding hero, called Isabella Charm. Studied widely in schools, the series forms an entertaining literature base to springboard students to explore, discuss and learn more, all while enjoying scenes of flying machines, sea monsters and sword fights.
Using fiction to teach about climate change is an important and effective way of learning because:
- It places a difficult issue in the context of an engaging story, making discussion more interesting and relatable.
- It allows discussion of an issue in a non-threatening way
- It encourages critical thinking as we see an issue from different points of view. It can teach the reader the value of developing their own ideas and arguments and to be able to defend them.
- It creates empathy for characters rather than simply rote learning dry facts
- It allows the reader to explore and learn about the world, while having fun.
What I also desperately want to do is ADD HOPE. Grimsdon, the first book in the series, was released in 2010, when the words climate change weren’t often used and when they were, they were often quickly joined by the phrases loony lefty or crazy greenie.
The second book I wrote because I was harassed by kids for more and the third one was inspired by the fact that the world is now listening, that most people believe the science and agree we need to act.
And act we are!
From Greta Thunberg’s incredible bravery in creating a global movement, to companies creating fuel out of seaweed, to cows being fed garlic to reduce methane output and clothing companies adding solar cells to the backs of winter coats to power our phones while we walk the dog. It’s all getting very exciting out there and that’s what I REALLY want kids to know.
Below is a bunch of exciting websites with loads more exciting news and inventions and ideas for how your class and home can become more sustainable. Enjoy!!
from Deb Abela
Project Drawdown has loads of great ideas to save the planet.
Ideas for your classroom
Gardening superstar Costa Georgiadis chats about planting a trillion trees to combat climate change
Links to Deb’s videos