Updated June 2023, as many school districts have canceled all outdoor activities due to poor air quality, it seems like a good time to remind ourselves of the importance and impact climate change can have on our daily lives. 

One day your children will ask what is climate change? It’s important and imperative for us to teach our children to understand climate change’s impact on our planet. Our kids and teens must understand the reality of what is going on. Or you may have a child or teen growing into a climate warrior, which can sometimes be tricky for parents to navigate.

There are ways to help our kids understand climate change. To encourage them, and work with them to ensure that we’re doing the right thing for our planet, not only for ourselves, but for all plants, animals, and interesting creatures who live on it.

They have a right to know. 

Kids live on this planet and have every right to know what’s going on with their home. Keeping them away from the facts of climate change does a disservice to our kids and our future. 

It impacts their mental health

Studies have shown that climate change impacts the mental health of kids and teens. They’re feeling the stress, and depending on their locations and the direct impacts they see first-hand, it may be impacting their anxiety. People living on the west coast experiencing forest fire crises are having much higher levels of eco-anxiety. Even parents are feeling this stress, why should we assume our kids are any different. If anything, it’s harder to understand, making the crisis seems scarier. 

Information about climate change needs to be communicated in an inspiring way, brings hope, and lets them know how to help.   

 Teens feel frustrated 

Teens feel frustrated with climate change and the policies that surround environmental concerns. They think that their voices aren’t being heard and that their future is at risk. Above all, these are valid concerns and we should do everything we can to make sure they’re being heard. We need to let our kids know that we’re considering the environment with every decision and purchase we make in our households.

 How to teach about climate change

We need to teach that climate change facts are relayed in a concise and straightforward way. We need to ensure that this potentially alarming information is delivered sensitively. 

  • Tell them the truth, provide information and facts
  • If you don’t understand it all yourself, take an opportunity to learn about it together. Telling the truth and learning together will help your children trust you
  • If they show anxiety about climate change, you’re there to reassure them that we’re not doomed
  • It’s critical to let them know that it’s not too late
  • Make sure they understand that they can make a difference 
  • Explain that every little bit helps
What you can do in your own home to make a difference: 
  • Cut down on how much new stuff you buy, focus on experiences, enjoying nature over new tech and gadgets. 
  • Shop locally, and sustainable slow fashion
  • Start meal planning; this will help avoid food waste 
  • Eat less meat
  • Switch to energy-efficient lightbulbs in your home
  • Electronics should be unplugged when not in use
  • Wash clothes in cold water (seriously, it’s better for your clothing)
  • Eat less meat and dairy buy organic 
  • Plant your veggies if possible
  • Use the car less, ride or walk to trips and use public transportation to cut your carbon emissions
  • Go on a staycation instead of flying somewhere
  • Join an Eco council at your school, or start one if they don’t have one. 
  • Write to your local MP and ask them about their green policies.
  • Ensure your household uses clean energy providers 
  • Research and avoid companies that back fossil fuels
Resources to turn to if you, or your child, feels they need more information: 

What is climate change? – David Suzuki Foundation
NCA3-climate-trends-regional-impacts-brochure.pdf (globalchange.gov)
Home Page – Climate Justice Alliance


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