New workshops helping students become climate ready from their classrooms

Flexible workshops designed to help students understand the impacts of climate change, and how they can make a difference

Keep New Zealand Beautiful, an iconic not-for-profit organisation that this year celebrates its 55 year milestone, has today launched Climate Ready Classrooms, a series of student-focused workshops that explore the issues of climate change in an engaging and motivating way.

Using interactive activities and examples to start conversations about climate change, Climate Ready Classrooms has been designed with the NZ Curriculum in mind to help learners of all ages understand and address the impacts of the climate crisis.

Young people are the influencers of environmental change
With over 1.1 million people under the age of 18 in Aotearoa (1), the workshops are designed to empower young learners with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes needed for them to act as agents of change.

“Nearly a quarter of our population is under the age of 18, meaning that young people will increasingly be the main influencers of environmental change,” said Heather Saunderson, CEO of Keep New Zealand Beautiful.

Climate anxiety – feelings of being powerless and overwhelmed by the effects of climate change – is an acknowledged condition (2) and is especially prevalent with young people. “Having students discuss climate change in a structured way plants seeds for action, while also helping young people constructively work through their climate anxiety,” said Ms. Saunderson.

“With programmes such as Climate Ready Classrooms we aim to spur sharp young minds into exploring the issues around climate change, and to help give them the knowledge and confidence to become changemakers for our planet.”

The teacher-led workshops, which cover an introduction to climate change, the carbon cycle and biodiversity, the greenhouse effect and carbon footprints, and climate action are designed to be adaptable and be delivered flexibly, making them suitable for primary and secondary students alike with NZ Curriculum links for levels 1 through 8. Upon completing the course, students receive a certificate of completion acknowledging the climate actions they have committed to take.

In line with UNESCO’s aim to increase climate literacy among young people, the programme also maps to 12 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals outlined here.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful was founded 55 years ago, in 1967. While the charity’s original mandate was litter abatement, New Zealand’s economy and population has boomed since then along with the scale, scope and implications of our waste problem.

“Litter and waste pose critical challenges to our climate and have a direct impact on biodiversity loss,” said Ms. Saunderson. “Like our other programmes, Climate Ready Classrooms aims to educate, inspire and empower Kiwis of all ages to be more climate conscious, to help ensure a cleaner, more biologically diverse and climate-ready future for Aotearoa.”


More information
Find out more about the Climate Ready Classroom workshops here, call us on 0800 TIDY KIWI or email education@knzb.org.nz.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful acknowledges the guidance and resources of Keep Scotland Beautiful in developing the Climate Ready Classroom programme. Find out more about the partnership and sharing of expertise between the two organisations here.


References
(1) Statistics NZ, InfoShare data: https://infoshare.stats.govt.nz/
(2) New Zealand Psychological Society: https://www.psychology.org.nz/public/climate-change

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