Viral climate education

When attending the Climate Neighbourhoods conference, I noticed that one of the most discussed questions was: How to raise awareness about climate change and motivate people to do climate action outside of the bubble of those already immersed into the topic? I hear the same question over and over again from my friends and colleagues.

There exist numerous educational videos on climate change and related issues, and these efforts are very valuable. However, only an already motivated person will spend time on watching the videos and educating themselves on climate science, climate action, politics around climate etc. But how to we reach people who are not yet engaged or sceptical about the issue?

There exist trainings for climate activists like, for example, the Climate Reality Project. However, such trainings require a serious committent and are aimed at people who plan to be actively involved in climate action on a long term.

How can we make it simple for people caring about environmental issues to share the climate facts with their colleagues, neighbours, family members? My suggestion is viral climate education. In every workspace and community, there is at least one person well informed and passionate about climate change. If we can equip this person with educational materials, they will be able to run a workshop or a discussion on climate issues.

This idea came to me after I learned about Valerie Aurora’s workshops on diversity and inclusion. Valerie has prepared brilliant teaching materials on the topic and freely shared them with the community, which allowed people to run similar workshops by themselves in their workspaces. My colleagues and I have had positive experience running it at our institution.

It’s crucial that such workshop provides a space for every participant to speak out, ask questions and express any kind of scepticism. Ideally, the workshop should be interactive and allow participants to work in groups, discuss, and actively engage themselves into exploring the topic.

I would include the following topics into a climate workshop: 1) climate science facts and forecasts, 2) impact of climate change on humans, 3) action for tackling climate change (on the levels of countries, institutions, and individuals), 4) climate action success stories.

Climate change games could be a perfect interactive component. For example, the role game World Climate Simulation looks like a good option. There are also online games focusing on climate change, e.g. Biodiversity and ecosystems or Drift. Developing a fun educational climate change game might be a good challenge for the Climathon we are organizing this year.

I’d be grateful for any feedback on this idea. Would you participate in creating education materials? Would you run such workshop if provided with the materials? Would you attend such workshop?

UPDATE: Climate Science and Action workshop materials


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