This project is one in a series we are working on related to climate change education:
Climate Literacy in Coastal NC
In 2013, we completed a survey of middle schoolers in coastal NC to explore how kids may be different than adults in how they perceive climate change. For adults, how we think about climate change has much more to do with who we vote for, which news station we listen to or watch, or what our friends think than how much we actually understand science. This is why people remain so polarized on climate change even though scientists have reached consensus: climate change is happening, people are causing it, and we need to do something about it.
Our study found that kids respond to information better than adults do. Middle schoolers aren’t as impacted by political ideology and seem to be more responsive to education. One of the many reasons we love working with kids!
Climate Change Hope & Concern
Something we’ve been interested in lately is the idea of climate change hope – the feeling that something can be done about climate change and that we can be part of the solution. Without hope, people tend to shut down. If nothing can be done, why should I even try? Our most recent survey found that kids who are both more hopeful and more concerned about climate change are more likely to do something about it. We shouldn’t worry too much about shielding kids from the reality of climate change (because concern is motivating!), but pairing that with messages of hope is the best way to motivate action.
You can read the paper on this topic here.
The Power of Talking
Our most recent study looked at how talking with kids may boost their climate change concern. We found that kids’ personal beliefs about climate change was the most important predictor of concern, but that discussing it and the concern levels among their friends and family are also factors. So, talking about climate change is important!
Watch for research on WWCC
We just submitted a few papers related to the curriculum featured on this site. We will post as soon as we can!