SDG 13 Climate Action

“It’s Grim” is the title of an article from the Atlantic summarizing the findings of the Sixth Assessment Report from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate change is the biggest threat to our development and well-being, impacting all life on the planet. The poorest and most vulnerable populations face the undue burden of adapting to climate change while dealing with economic impacts. Increases in drought, flooding, and high temperatures have made agriculture one of the most susceptible sectors to climate change. Farmers play an important role in increasing food security, so building resilience is key to ensure they can handle the changes ahead. Due to the global nature of this problem, we need global cooperation to find solutions, adapt to its effects and develop low-carbon pathways to a cleaner future. We need to align our attitudes, behaviours, and activities with sustainable principles to change our climate course. Students need to understand the realities of climate change so that they may better address the needs of the planet and humanity tomorrow. Being what the world needs has never been so critical for our graduates and their future.

You might also be able to align your teaching to this SDG if you want your students to be able to:

  • Describe the greenhouse effect as both natural and anthropogenic phenomena caused by insulating layers of greenhouse gases.
  • Articulate the impact of human activities—on a global, national, local and individual level—on climate change.
  • Identify social, environmental, economic, and ethical impacts of climate change.
  • Create strategies for climate change mitigation or climate adaptation.
  • Identify and promote climate-friendly policies and economic activities.

You might consider having your students reflect, share, act in some of these ways:

  • A number of resources and methods have been collected by Learning For Sustainable Futures (LSF). Targeted toward educators, LSF helps educators engage their students in addressing the increasingly complex economic, social and environmental challenges of today’s world.
  • Explore UNICEF’s Get Real on Climate page for a number of lesson plans and activities addressing climate change and exploring possible solutions.
  • Run a workshop with the En-ROADS global climate simulator to explore climate policies.
  • A simpler tool is the The Climate Game Created by The Financial Times in partnership with Infosys to see if students can reach net zero by 2050 based on emissions modelling.
  • Try out some of the climate-focused games and activities on the NASA website or take on the Games for Change Student Challenge, and play or create a climate change game.
  • Track your ecological footprint using Footprint Calculator, understand Country Trends, and discover case studies from Global Footprint Network. These resources allow users to track how natural resources are used and how consumption, populations and more combine to affect our planet.

Some curricular connections and questions for students might be:

Media – How does the media portray climate change?

Environment – What are ways we as citizens can protect the rights of our environment?

Poverty, wealth, and power – How does climate change relate to the poverty cycle? How does climate change uniquely affect the poor?

Indigenous Peoples – How are Indigenous communities being impacted by climate change?

Peace and conflict – How does climate change impact war and conflict around the world?

Oppression and genocide – How is climate change linked to oppression?

Gender politics – How is climate change a gendered issue?

Social justice and human rights – How are human rights affected by climate change?

Health and biotechnology – What are the biggest impacts of climate change on our health?


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