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Are kids the best
climate teachers?

They may be small, but when it comes to getting those around them up to speed on climate, kids are big change agents. How does that work?

Let’s find out.

Anne-Marie Hoeve

In collaboration with:
Recess Therapy

Imagine if kids could teach their parents a thing or two about climate change?

It turns out that they can. In a revealing study, some middle school classes were given a climate curriculum, while others were not. And guess what?

Exposure to the curriculum not only affected the kids’ views, but also those of their parents – even those traditionally most resistant to climate messaging: politically conservative men.

In short, kids are incredible eco influencers.


Kids really do say the smartest things.

That’s why we hit the park with Recess Therapy and Julian Shapiro-Barnum, who is a pro at asking little kids big questions. They have a lot of great, green advice to anyone willing to sit down with them and listen.

In his web series Recess Therapy, Julian Shapiro-Barnum interviews kids aged 2 to 9 for advice on the things he finds himself struggling with as an adult: everything from the economy to love and now, the climate.

Let’s hear what the kids have to say about protecting our wonderful planet.

The power of intergenerational learning is clear, which is why it’s so vital to develop a climate education curriculum. And yet, teachers are struggling to incorporate climate into their lessons.


  • It's not related to the subject(s) I teach
  • My students are too young
  • I don't know enough about it
  • I don't have the materials that I need to teach it
  • I don't believe in climate change
  • State mandates that I should be taught at a different level
  • My school does not allow it
  • Students have already learned about it in school

Source: NPR/IPSOS poll of 505 US teachers. This question was asked of the 55% of teachers who said that they do not teach climate change. Respondents could select up to three answers. "Other" and "Don't know" responses not shown.

Climate in the classroom

Meet Dennis Nolasco. As a former teacher and education coordinator, he is passionate about instilling students with the knowledge and skills to navigate and thrive in an eco-friendly world. He explains why climate education is so important.

Let’s explore this in more detail…

3 reasons why every school needs to teach climate education

1) Climate anxiety
Students are increasingly anxious about the state of the planet. By engaging with the topic and using social-emotional learning techniques, teachers can play an important role in alleviating climate anxiety to support their students’ well-being.

2) Green muscle memory
By providing students with the information they need to modify their behaviors and to reduce carbon emissions, it will become second nature to them. That’s why, to develop green muscle memory, climate education needs to be taught consistently to children across all subjects, from kindergarten to graduation.

3) Growing the green economy
If we are to find ways of mitigating and coping with the problems that the climate crisis is causing and will cause in the future, we will need to motivate future generations to find solutions and develop new types of industry. This will create massive economic opportunities.


What can YOU do?

Talk to your kids about the climate and engage them with hope and positivity. What can you learn from them? What can they learn from you? It’s a two-way conversation.

  • Discover the facts together

    There is a wealth of science-based information available. Nasa’s Climate Kids webpage is a great place to start.

  • Go outside

    Spending time together in nature is one of the best ways to grow an understanding of our place in the bigger picture.

  • Focus on solutions

    Explore and share examples of various climate solutions already making a difference.

  • Empower action

    Channel your child’s interest, curiosity and energy into taking action. Think of everything from beach-cleanups to joining a protest to planting trees.

“You are never too small
to make a difference”

— Greta Thunberg