Classroom chairs (Pixabay photo)

Report suggests Alberta students want more education on climate change

An Alberta non-profit organization says there’s a gap between the education students receive in schools and the information they want about energy and the environment.

The Alberta Council for Environmental Education has published a report providing teachers with 10 principles for developing energy and climate change resources in the province.

The recommendations are drawn from workshops with students last fall and from a survey earlier this year of 500 youth between 15 and 24 years old.

It suggests students in Alberta are behind others across the country when it comes to climate literacy.

“What they found is very disturbing,” said Gareth Thomson, the council’s executive director.

“The majority of youth in Alberta are concerned about climate, but feel they lack the knowledge and power to do something about it.”

The survey, which was done by Leger Marketing, showed 61 per cent of students were worried about climate change and 69 per cent were worried about their future in relation to the economy and the environment.

Some 21 per cent of students surveyed thought climate change was too controversial to be discussed in the classroom.

Chloe MacGregor, a 17-year-old student in Calgary, said schools need to get better at teaching about climate change and Alberta’s energy industry.

“Our education system is very outdated and needs to be revised,” she said.

MacGregor said she has to find information on her own outside of her regular classes.

“Since I was a kid, I was always interested in the environment,” said the Grade 12 student, who wants to study ecology after she graduates. “I needed to become more educated.”

Teachers cited in the report said they struggle to meet students’ needs because of a lack of up-to-date resources and not enough time set aside in the curriculum for climate change and energy studies.

Adam Robb, who teaches at a high school in Calgary, said he’s one of the lucky ones with a job that’s focused on teaching environment and energy issues as an optional class.

“I can count all of those teachers on one hand,” he said.

Robb said he’s had lots of demand for the information from students.

The report suggests a lack of adequate education can lead students to construct false and even apocalyptic narratives about climate change — something Robb said he’s noticed in some students.

“They go down YouTube wormholes,” he said, noting that can cause anxiety and fear about the future rather than thinking of positive ways to deal with climate change.

Another common narrative he’s noticed is students who think climate change is a political issue that has right- and left-wing views.

“We start off with learning the science and say this has nothing to do with politics,” said Robb.

Some of the 10 principles put forward in the report include acknowledging and accommodating anxiety about climate change, focusing on building climate literacy and teaching students about all kinds of energy.

Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange last month endorsed a panel report that recommends school children learn all views about climate change along with the value of the province’s oil and gas sector.

The panel was formed in August to explore ways to improve the kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels allowed four straight goals from the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night on the road. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers hand Red Deer Rebels 10th straight loss

Tigers 4 Rebels 2 Through 17 games in the shortened WHL season,… Continue reading

Meghan Huizing has been selected by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools as a finalist for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) 2021 Edwin Parr Award. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools)
Red Deer Catholic names finalist for Edwin Parr Award

Meghan Huizing from St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds has… Continue reading

GrammaLink-Africa members are participating in the Stride to Turn the Tide campaign until June 30. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer group walking to raise money for African grandmothers

A group of central Albertans will be walking every day until the… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Montreal Canadiens' Tyler Toffoli celebrates his goal past Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom during second-period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Corey Conners, of Canada, hits out of a bunker on the seventh hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Conners notched six birdies on his back nine to take the lead after his second round of the RBC Heritage on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Slocum
Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada serves to Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in round 1 of the Rogers Cup women's tennis tournament in Toronto, Monday August 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Dalton Kellett pulls out of the pits during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Dalton Kellett is pleased his second career season in IndyCar will be different than his first, which started on an elaborate iRacing rig in his home office in Indianapolis because of COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Darron Cummings
Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada head coach Bev Priestman reacts during the women's international friendly soccer match between England and Canada at Bet365 stadium in Stoke on Trent, England, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rui Vieira
Canadian women get peek at their possible road at Olympic soccer tournament

Canadian women get peek at their possible road at Olympic soccer tournament

Head coach John Tait talks to his team as Canada takes on Japan in women's sevens rugby action at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Rugby Canada says probe into complaint from members of women’s 7s team is complete

Rugby Canada says probe into complaint from members of women’s 7s team is complete

Most Read