Engaging young children with climate change and climate justice

Nathan Tagg, Tahseen Jafry

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    Meeting the global challenge of preventing global temperatures rising by more than two degrees Celsius by the end of the century is not going to be easy. With the majority of carbon emissions coming from the developed nations, there is an onus of responsibility on these nations to support the developing nations, who have contributed the least. This would be a significant step towards delivering climate justice. This article demonstrates that gaining traction and support for climate justice can be achieved through the power of education, by translating contemporary research for children, connecting them with it and embedding them in it. Working with 154 primary school children in Glasgow, this article provides: (1) an overview of a climate justice research project, Water for ALL, which was conducted in Malawi and Zambia; and (2) reflection on the challenges of translating the research findings for use in the classroom so it becomes not only meaningful but personally engages children with current issues of climate in/justice. Our findings highlight that it is possible to connect children not only with a complex topic, but also with research findings through the development of practical learning classroom exercises. Arriving at those classroom exercises is a 'process' that requires putting the research through a process of translation and communication before it can be shared with children. The interface between research and education lends itself to the power of practically based science-led education. As shown in this example, the Water for ALL research project has given the school children a sense of 'ownership' of climate change and climate in/justice, to the extent that they can highlight their role and contributions to addressing the climate challenge.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)34-42
    Number of pages9
    Journal Research for All
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2018


    • climate justice; education; practical learning; primary school children


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