Education and Awareness

How might we make people more aware of and responsible for their own personal impact on the environment?


There is significant scientific evidence that climate change is occurring and that it is caused by human activity. For example, NASA is currently presenting a variety of evidence to support this claim (https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/). But the evidence of climate change can also be observed directly in rising sea levels, fluctuations in global temperatures, and the destabilization of environmental ecosystems. In recent years, the effects of climate change and the broader concept of environmental sustainability has garnered national attention and debate. Here in San Diego, there is a push to integrate climate change education in classrooms and communities. San Diego Unified has supported climate change education, defining it as “an understanding of the human influence on the climate and the climate’s influence on humanity.” Organizations like San Diego 350 use climate change education and outreach to build a movement and “to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and climate injustice.

Specific angles to explore

Current research shows that a majority (69%) of Americans actually believe that climate change is a man-made phenomenon, challenging misconceptions that people do not believe in man-made climate change. Understanding that a majority of the public think that climate change is occurring, think it is a serious threat, and would support climate policies can help build public understanding, acceptance, and support around combating climate change. Despite a majority of the public believing in man-made climate change and the push for climate change education, a portion of the public is still skeptical about whether climate change exists and is caused by human activity. Furthermore, people (especially young people) can often feel a sense of hopelessness about climate change. Even if people recognize it exists, people can be unsure of what they can personally do to take meaningful action in response to climate change. Creating pathways for collective action, education, and advocacy may be one direction where new initiatives can be created to empower people to tackle climate change.

Presenting Evidence: How might we present the evidence for climate change in a way that is engaging and easy to understand?

K-12 Education: How might we create new educations programs for K-12 students to learn about climate change and how they can take action?

Adult Conversations: How might we create new resources for adults to have informed conversations with other adults about climate change?

Creating Connections: How might we connect people who want to take action against climate change with relevant resources and organizations in San Diego?