Climate Ed started work in November 2018. At first it was very small – just the co-founders going into a few local schools. In this early period we were testing what the children liked learning about and how best to engage them on the topic. From there we developed a complete programme for teaching about carbon literacy and registered as a charity in April 2020.
We have recruited lots of local volunteers and it is a real community-led effort. Of course London is a big place so we’re only just getting started! We want to expand our work so that all children across London get the carbon literacy knowledge to which they have a right.
Filling the gap
Climate change is not included in the primary National Curriculum although some schools do teach it. Even where it is covered many teachers are uncertain how; in a recent survey 75% of teachers felt they hadn’t received adequate training to teach about it (YouGov Survey 2019).
There are lots of online climate teaching resources but few focus on carbon footprints and the concept of carbon literacy. Also we wanted to make use of volunteers; to harness their energy and dynamism, because that is often the thing which helps to inspire children – the presence of a real person, sharing why they care about climate change, what drives them, and why it’s something we can all get involved with.
Our programme aims to show children and their families what they can do about climate change and inspire them to begin taking action. And the evidence shows that it works:
- 92% of students said the programme helped them to understand about the carbon impact of their travel and food.
- 61% of students said they were likely or very likely to help their family reduce their footprint.
On top of this, follow up research conducted with students three months after the programme showed:
- 54% of students were making fewer car journeys (mainly locally in terms of travelling to school, but also for other activities).
- 32% of students reported at least one family member eating less meat.
(Based on a sample of 92 students across four classes in two different schools).
Climate change is the top environmental issue young people are concerned about.
(YouGov Survey 2018)
30% of emissions savings by 2035 must come from people changing their behaviour.
(House of Lords Report, October 2022)
75% of teachers don't feel they've received adequate training to educate students about climate change.
(YouGov Survey 2019)
Children born from 2017 onwards will need to have annual carbon footprints 90% lower than their grandparents to ensure that global heating remains within 1.5 degrees
(Carbon Brief Analysis 2019)
I would recommend that all children have the opportunity to take part in this carefully constructed and relevant programme.