When it comes to conversing about climate change and how it is impacting the ecosystem, children tend to get frightened. Dying polar bears, melting icebergs, and devastating forest fires are some phrases that are difficult to address to school children. However, teaching about this rather onerous subject is important, as it can prepare the students for what may come.

Yes, growing students have a mentality that grows with them. A lot of people have been affected by natural disasters, suffered physical as well as mental trauma from its consequences. By this we mean, children and teens are at risk too.  A growing brain will make children vulnerable to environmental stressors. This is exactly why teachers and parents need to be careful about addressing such issues.

Why do students need to learn about climate change?

As growing children imbibe information through different sources, it changes their perspective through all that they see and hear. When teachers educate children about climate change, they can undertake innovative and environment-friendly measures to their own behavioural/lifestyle choices. From teaching them to plant more trees to recycling materials, adults can motivate children to safeguard their tomorrow.

Scientific research has shown ‘Eco anxiety’ among many students, where they are subjected to fear of environmental depletion.  By educating young children about the different ways to conserve our ecosystem, they are more alert and can help in their own, small ways. After all, something is better than nothing.

How can teachers explain, without giving them the chills?

Always, keep it simple. Explain in a way that students get interested to learn more.  Start by saying something on these lines - “Our planet is a great place to live in, but you need to help!”.

  1. Talk to your students about global warming. Tell them that it is a sign of planet Earth being warmed up, hence disturbing our natural ecosystems. Cite examples from daily life to explain further.
  2. Encourage students to do practical things like saving water in their day to day lives, recycling old things that they don’t need, planting tree saplings, switching off lights and fans when not in use, being mindful about using plastic items, etc.
  3. Nurture a supportive outlook by motivating children to fall in love with nature. By doing so, adults can avoid an alarmist approach when addressing this topic.
  4. Always keep it age-appropriate when addressing climate change and its impacts. A discussion is best avoided, for children younger than eight years. Older children can be introduced to the topic by parents or teachers, also by giving them space to ask doubts.

After discussing a challenging subject like this, help children to cope with their fears of ‘the earth not being there’ when they grow older. Motivate them to join nature clubs, conservative groups, and doing their part by talking to others about it. Not only does it help to strengthen their knowledge about the hot topic, but prompts them to do their part too.

Climate change is unquestionably an important challenge faced by current and future generations. A teacher’s goal should be to inspire students, rather than scaring them. Hence, thorough explanations through simple lessons and activities can prepare students for the future.