How Do You Teach Your Kids About Climate Change?

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One of the more unsettling items from the recent leak of an internal fundraising document from the conservative Heartland Institute think tank was a plan laying out how K-12 schools could adopt "educational materials" criticizing the notion of man-made global warming. According to the document, "principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective."

Here at the Climate Desk, it got us thinking: how do our readers engage with kids about climate change, not just in the classroom, but also at home? We put out a call, and here's what we heard back.

A few readers shared their thoughts with Climate Desk's Tim McDonnell via video chat:

Parents also shared insights with us via social media:

If it wasn't already hard enough to talk about climate change, parents are now fighting a battle on another front: children's books. According to a new study [PDF], America's finest illustrated books for kids are teaching less and less about the natural world. The study analyzed nearly 8,100 images from 296 kids' books awarded medals or honors in the annual Caldecott prize from 1938 through 2008. Climate Desk's James West spoke with co-author Chris Podeschi from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania about the findings:

With pictures of trees, toads, and other flora and fauna on the decline in kids' books these days, author Lynne Cherry is taking a different approach. Cherry's 1990 book The Great Kapok Tree is widely used in schools to teach about the value of preserving rainforest. But a few years ago, she swapped out her paintbrushes for a video camera to combat what she sees as a growing sense of powerlessness among kids. Her rationale, she told Tim, was that film has the potential to reach more kids.

You can get involved in more Climate Desk conversations by following us on Twitter, and liking us on Facebook.




This story is by Tim McDonnell and James West and was produced by the Climate Desk collaboration.

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The Climate Desk is a journalistic collaboration between The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Slate, and others, dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. Learn more at theclimatedesk.org.

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