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Teaching Climate Change To Children | How To Have The Tough Conversation

Teaching climate change to children sounds like a daunting parental task but it doesn’t have to be. In addition to the fine work being done in our schools, there’s quite a lot that you can do in the home to make this broad concept a lot easier to understand.

Teaching Climate Change To Children

In the simplest terms, ‘climate change’ represents a change or shift in global climate patterns. It is the process of the world heating up (or cooling down).

The way we currently discuss climate change is in terms of the Earth heating up. This makes our weather more extreme and quite unpredictable – a phenomenon we are not unfamiliar with here in Australia! The Earth has heated up by 1 degree in the last century. This statistic sounds minor but it means BIG things for our planet.

Through its lifetime, Earth has experienced a number of climate changes that have helped shape it into the planet we know today. The concern is, however, that this climate change has been brought about by human influence.

Teaching climate change to children – causes

SO what causes climate change?

Consuming fossil fuels

Our use of fossil fuels like oil has seen a shift in temperatures as the result of gases being released into the atmosphere. This is also called The Greenhouse Effect.


Removing forests for human consumption (and waste) has also had an impact. This means less trees to absorb carbon dioxide which proves problematic for our atmosphere.

Farming practices

Okay, this might sound silly, but… cows fart. A lot. These en masse fluffs are producing methane that’s sent up into the atmosphere. Talk to your kids about that one next time they’re being a little too tooty!

How does climate change impact the Earth?

We see impacts in the following areas.

  • Animals are losing their homes and their habitats. As forests and jungles are destroyed, animals who reside their lose their homes. As the polar ice caps melt, those animals too lose out.
  • Shrinking sea ice and rising sea levels.
  • Strange weather that’s more extreme and more unpredictable.

How can families help?

Every little bit counts in this race against time. Your family can explore sustainability as a way to do their part.

You can discuss ways to reduce, reuse and recycle in your own home.

You can cut down on your carbon footprint by making active choices about travel, consumption and lifestyle.

Teaching kids about climate change – the facts

Your school will do a lot of work on this topic. If you want to know more about what’s going on, make a time to chat with your child’s teacher and look for ways you can work together to educate the next generation about making positive changes.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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