Climate change – a hot topic in schools Climate change – a hot topic in schools
17 December 2018

Climate change – a hot topic in schools

Local school students are deep-diving into the hot topic of climate change as part of the Climate Ready Schools program.

The program – an initiative between Adelaide and Mount Lofty Natural Resources Management (NRM) Education, City of Onkaparinga and Resilient South – aims to raise awareness of the global issue and sets out to challenge young people’s thinking.

NRM Education Coordinator, Rob Wallace, says the program was developed to be fun way of encouraging creativity and curiosity about the changing climate.

“Everyone should have an opportunity to learn about climate change and through the Climate Ready Schools program, we’ve helped our local young people understand the issue and empowered them to be part of the solution,” says Rob.

“As well as coming up with climate change solutions, the students’ understanding of climate change was deepened, as were their skills in working together on real world issues.”

Students and teachers from Aldinga Beach B-7 School, Hackham East Primary School, Southern Montessori School and Tatachilla Lutheran College have taken part in interactive sessions that explore climate change – what it is, the global and local impacts, the roles everyone plays, and solutions for adapting to climate change.

The sessions used ‘design thinking’ to progress a science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths problem-based learning approach, where students were encouraged to think critically and develop solutions to real-life problems in a collaborative and supportive setting.

The students presented their findings and potential adaptation and mitigation solutions to tackle climate change in their schools and local communities. They then received feedback from representatives from the City of Onkaparinga, NRM Education, Department for Education, and the Association for Independent Schools SA.

Solutions included a green (plant covered) roof, a recipe book using low water-use plants as the ingredients, electricity monitoring and no electricity days at school, a reversible black and white roof to absorb heat in winter and reflect it in summer, and shading/greening of school hot spots identified by the council’s heat mapping project.

“Students have been inspired to take action — leading and advocating for more environmentally sustainable communities in their school and community, while at the same time developing a real sense of pride,” Rob says.

“One student said ‘We’re working on an adaptation approach until we solve the problem of climate change’ – it’s great to have students with such a positive approach.”

NRM education officers are continuing to work with the schools to progress their projects and will soon be opening the program to a new group of schools.

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Students present their findings as part of the Climate Ready Schools program.

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