Climate Change Education

Welcome to the STF climate change education resource page

Recent research shows that if only 16 percent of high school students in high- and middle-income countries were to receive climate change education, we could see a nearly 19 gigaton reduction of carbon dioxide by 2050.” – Brookings Institution, 2021

The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time, yet most students around the world still do not receive foundational learning about climate change in school. If urgent climate action is needed, then the movement to embed comprehensive climate education is imperative. Some states and school districts have begun these efforts and others are making plans to follow suit. To learn more about efforts to embed climate education, click on the boxes below.

Based on results from the Student Task Force’s student and teacher surveys across numerous campuses in Southern California, most high schoolers locally do not learn about climate change outside of their science classes. To help turn the tide and make climate education available to all, the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force (STF) is providing this library of resources across content areas to link teachers with climate-focused curriculum in their disciplines. There are lesson plans and materials to explore, as well as a ready-to-go lessons (complete with discussion questions, materials, and PowerPoint presentations) for those new to embedding climate in their subject area.

Lesson Plans by Subject

I’m comfortable embedding climate change in my content area curriculum and would like to explore resources.  

Ready-to-go Lessons

I’m no climate expert and I’d like a pre-packaged lesson with everything included that a student leader or I can deliver.  

Why Climate Curriculum?

STF supports teachers to embed Human Rights Education (HRE) in their classrooms. HRE provides knowledge about human rights, the mechanisms that protect them, and reinforces skills to uphold human rights. Climate change is impacting people’s rights to life, education, health, food and water. Including climate change discussions, activities and/or teaching across all subject areas is the best way to fight the growing human rights impacts of the climate crisis. Now more than ever, students need the knowledge and skills necessary to fight climate change so they can enter the workforce prepared to turn the tide for our planet and its peoples. How can students fight for something they know nothing about? This is where our teachers come in! Without you, the change we need will not be possible.

If you have questions, comments, or materials to add to this library, please contact the STF Team.

Lesson Plans By Subject

Below is a sampling of lesson plans by subject though not exhaustive. Note that these materials are geared toward teachers outside of science where climate change curriculum is often more difficult to find. Visit the additional curricular resources below if you do not find something that suits your subject or the topic you’d like to cover. Be sure to check out other subjects as many of the lesson plans are applicable for multiple areas! Click on the subject title to see lesson plans.

All of the above lesson plans and resources are owned by the corresponding creators, authors or organizations as listed on their websites. Please view the individual copyright and ownership details for each tool using the links provided. We do not claim ownership of or responsibility or liability for any of these tools. Images copyrights remain with the respective owners.

Ready-to-Go Lessons

Each topic in the boxes below has four activities created by the STF team. These activities are about 15 minutes each and can be facilitated by a student or a teacher. They provide options for the facilitator to choose what to focus on for the Take Action element. These activities are ready to go in slideshow format but need instructions to be deleted by the facilitator once they choose the Take Action. If you have questions or comments about these resources please contact the STF Team.

Additional Climate Curricular Resources

How To Save A Planet Podcast

This podcast shares stories ranging from Exxon’s role in climate denial to how Black Lives Matter and gender equality are related to climate change.

Project Look Sharp Climate Curriculum

Project Look Sharp is a nonprofit outreach program of Ithaca College. They offer sustainability and climate-focused lesson plans.

Subject To Climate

Discover how to integrate climate change into the subjects you already teach through these inquiry-driven, teacher-oriented, and ready-to-use lesson plans created by teachers like you.

TROP ICSU Climate Guide

Funded by the International Council for Science, this global library has resources for undergraduate and high school courses across subject areas.

The Years Project

In partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, these lesson plans correspond with the Years Project video series. Numerous interdisciplinary high school lessons available.

Zinn Education Project

The Zinn Education Project provides climate justice focused lesson plans that are interactive and suitable across high school humanities classrooms.

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