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Most teenagers learn about climate change on social media – is this worrying?

An EdWeek Research Center survey recently showed that more than half (56%) of 14-18 year olds learn “some” or “a lot” about climate change through social media.

Social networks such as YouTube or TikTok can be places to generate new perspectives and connections, as well as to find high-quality learning materials. However, they are also great repositories of misinformation, lies and conspiracy theories.

It is no longer only necessary to teach the specific content to be taught. The immersion of social networks in the field of education implies the importance of teaching media literacy in schools. misinformation table

According to EdWeek Research Center survey, when it comes to climate change, social media is the third most cited source, closely followed by “teachers” and “parents”. Education professionals are surprised by the popularity of these channels for obtaining climate information.

Getting information about climate change through platforms like Facebook means that, on the one hand, influencers and no formed people generate information and, on the other hand, it is information designed to evoke emotions.

Are young people active seekers of information on climate change or do they come across it indirectly? Media literacy advocates that young people take the initiative.

It is essential to teach students to search for information and to be critical about sources.

This media literacy should include aspects such as:
Checking sources.
Understanding algorithms and the manipulation of what the user sees on social networks.
Critically questioning content creators and the motives they have when “posting” information on social networks.
Recognise sensationalist and emotionally charged content that escapes reason, logic or the scientific method.

The problem, is that the most common form of content consumption by adolescents is passive. This means that it is difficult to achieve these media literacy skills.

While the EdWeek survey finds encouraging parameters, ir also shows results that are scientifically untrue, such as students believe that the ozone hole affects global warming.

Source: Action for the climate emergency. Available heremisinformation video image

Still, according to secondary school teachers, students are increaxsingly becoming social media experts. If we can build media literacy skills, social media and Internet are powerful sources of information. This knowledge can be generating critical thinking and tools for comparison and debate in the face of differing opinions. In addition, these networks can serve to connect teenagers with others who share their own interests, for example using Twitter as megaphone for Climate activism.

Play the Youth Takes video

Source: EducationWeek. Arianna Prothero – January 30, 2023

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Teaching climate report published

Early in 2020, nine-year-old Sophie asked her teacher “Is it true we’ve only got ten years to save the planet?”
In that moment, her teacher was unsure what to say…..  (Kirby and Webb, 2021) 

systems thinking diagramThe first result of the Teaching the Future project has been published, looking to provide some recommendation to help answer this question.

The report concerns curriculum and pedagogical guidelines. It assesses the situation experienced in secondary schools as well as the opportunities provided by national curricula in partner countries. It explores climate, citizenship and digital teaching.

Sections examine the use of innovative teaching and learning methods and illustrate participative approaches to involve pupils in active citizenship activities.

The report includes a detailed review of recent academic literature, the results of interviews with focus groups of teachers and interviews with teacher educators.

The purpose is to be able to offer recommendations for relevant trustworthy climate education with suitable and reliable pedagogical approaches and

Reference: Kirby, P. and Webb, R., 2021, Conceptualising uncertainty and the role of the teacher for a politics of climate change within and beyond the institution of the school. Educational Review, 1-19

Diagram source: de Sousa, L.O., Hay, E.A. and Liebenberg, D., 2019. Teachers’ understanding of the interconnectedness of soil and climate change when developing a systems thinking concept map for teaching and learning. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 28(4), 324-342

Download report
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Climate change games and simulations

Climate change simulations that project future climates are widely used used forsimulation image adaptation, mitigation and resilience planning by climate modellers and analysts. However research undertaken by the Teaching the Future project indicates they may have great value along with climate games in engaging young people in climate debates and positive action.

The simulations and games can allow developments over time to be portrayed and role play and management options to be explored. Both local and global mitigation issues can be  addressed.

Educational games can help students in conceptual development when learning about complex issues and specifically help them learn about climate change and empathise with the issues. They may even help change attitudes towards the science, their lifestyle and  illuminate the impact on people and ecosystems.

Teaching the Future is thus seeking to compile a list of  interesting and valuable climate change simulations and games.

Help us by adding climate change games and simulations to the list of useful games and resources by completing the short survey

TTF presented at EUROGEO 2022

Teaching the Future was presented at EUROGEO 2022, a conference held on Lesvos island, Island, Greece on 5-6 May 2022.

The event attracted more than 120 educators and researchers from over 35 countries. Over 90 presentations, 5 workshops and 6 posters were presented.

EUROGEO conference Lesvos 2022 took the theme “RE-VISIONING GEOGRAPHY FOR SUSTAINABILITY IN THE POST-COVID ERA”. The following were the Conference Strands:
– How do geographers, universities, companies and education respond to Sustainable Development Goals and complex challenges in the context of the COVID pandemic?
– What is the role of Geography in the landscape of spatial technologies and open data and how can these assist in achieving SDGs?
– How new eco-social challenges are positioned in the face of a post-pandemic Global Change?
– How can we explore novel educational contexts and resources to transform towards sustainability of socio-ecological systems?
– What conceptual frameworks and strategies can contribute to the construction of societies based on human welfare and the care of nature?
– What are the interactions between Sustainable Development Goals, international migrations and refugees?

See the Full conference programme

The Teaching the Future presentation can be viewed here or downloaded from Slideshare.

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Climate change data from OECD

On 31 March 2022, Ministers and high-level representatives from the OECD’s 38 member countries and the European Union, as well as Bulgaria, Croatia, Peru and Romania, committed in a formal OECD Declaration to intensify their work on climate and the environment including doing more to curb biodiversity loss, address plastic pollution, align finance with environmental objectives and accelerate climate change action.

The formal OECD Declaration includes working to curb biodiversity loss, address plastic pollution, align finance with environmental objectives and accelerate climate change action with a view to keeping the 1.5°C temperature rise limit within reach. Download a copy of the complete Ministerial Declaration.

One of the main issues is in obtaining and using relevant and reliable indicators for monitoring progress on mitigating climate change impacts. To address this, the OECD has a new platform for tracking trends in c climate change.  It provides interactive information with data and trends across OECD countries. Play the short video to find out more.

Visit the OECD platform to explore OECD data on climate change. The informaiton is listed under the headings:
– Drivers and emissions
– Impacts and risks
– Policy responses and opportunities

A series of country case studies are also available.

The following video explains the importance of the indicators and gathering data for measuring trends.

Interact with the OECD data at

Teaching the Future kickoff meeting takes place

The kickoff meeting of the Teach the Future project took place on 4th March 2022 in Palermo, Italy. Project partners participated in a hybrid meeting – face-t0-face and online .due to ongoing Covid restrictions. The partners all have extensive experience in Erasmus Plus projects and the needs of the main target groups, teachers and teacher educators.partner meeting image

Partners discussed the initial research on climate education methods and approaches and planned focus groups with teachers in partner countries. The purpose is to develop ideas for developing training resources for teachers. They also discussed creating a data dashboard and planned meetings with climate science experts.

The partner organisations are from 6 different countries: Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, Greece, Serbia and Spain. This allows a strong geographical coverage, added EU value, contributions, perspectives and results spanning different EU regions.

The TTF project is promoted by the European Association of Geographers (EUROGEO) as experts in climate science and teaching climate in schools, who have previously worked with all the other project partners. TTF includes two school subject associations who are experts in teaching Mathematics and Geography and in working actively with schools in their own countries and across Europe. meeting imag

Climate change data and visualisation expertise comes from UNIZAR who worked with EUROGEO and CSC on empowering the active participation of youth to engage with policy makers on Youth policy matters across Europe ( These partners also have expertise in using Cloud-based technologies in schools situations as members of the School on the Cloud Comenius network ( led by Doukas School.

The partnership integrates three experienced school partners Doukas School, the International School Serbia and Politeknika Txorierri, who have worked on Erasmus projects related to the environment and sustainability in schools. The Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo Danilo Dolci (CSC) has extensive experience in working with schools using innovative pedagogies, with deep knowledge of the project’s target groups. It brings experience from the current policy efforts that Italy is making to integrate climate education as a subject in public school curricula.

Find out more about the project partners