"No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change." - President Barack Obama
Climate change is rapidly altering our world in profound ways. Human activity has already increased the earth’s temperature by about 1.5°F over the past century, and as the planet continues to warm, the dangers intensify. Millions of people could be displaced, vital infrastructure could be destroyed, and violent conflicts could multiply. Climate change’s effects are far-reaching and varied and touch virtually every aspect of life on the earth: heat waves, rising sea levels, desertification, melting ice, and even mass extinction.
Because climate change poses such an extraordinary threat to the planet, it needs to be counteracted. There are no clear-cut answers to this global challenge, but it is not insurmountable. Countries are already taking steps to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects. Blueprints exist, but they need to be used more widely and more effectively, because the longer action is delayed, the worse climate change becomes—and the more difficult it will be to endure.
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- Earth Guardians Youth Councils – Youth-led councils of “soloutionaires” who use the arts and their creative passion and skills to create campaigns addressing climate and environmental issues in their communities.
- Zero Hour – A movement led by youth who are determined to advocate for concrete solutions to stop climate change and hold our adults and elected representatives accountable for their inaction surrounding it.
- Extinction Rebellion – An international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimize the risk of social collapse.
- Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez – At the United Nations, speaking about climate change
- Global Climate Strike
- Fridays For Future
- Greta Thurnberg – At TEDxStockholm speaking about school strike for climate change – save the world by changing the rules
- Pew Research Center - Energy and Environment – The latest Pew Research Center data and reports on issues and attitudes toward energy and environmental issues and related policies.
- The New York Times - Climate and Enviroment – News about Climate and Environment, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times.
- NOAA Climate.gov – Provides timely and authoritative information about climate and promotes public understanding of climate science and climate-related events through videos, stories, images, and data visualizations; we make common data products and services easy to access and use; and we provide tools and resources that help people make informed decisions about climate risks, vulnerability, and resilience.
This toolkit is just a framework for facilitating an SJ Engage Circle.
Sample Discussion Questions
- Do you believe that climate change is a natural cycle of the earth, man-made or both?
- Are you concerned about climate change?
- Are you frustrated by the amount of attention given to climate change?
- Have you made any changes to your lifestyle/energy consumption due to your views on climate change?
- Are you concerned about the quality of air, cleanliness of water sources or food sources?
- Do you feel that everything is fine as it is and there is no need to worry?
Common Core: ELA Writing
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.9 – Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards: Action
- AC.9-12.17 – I take responsibility for standing up to exclusion, prejudice, and injustice.
This project has been made possible in part by a grant from Silicon Valley Community Foundation.