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RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS

Lesson 1

Carbon, tipping points & our simplest solutions

Explore our guide to taking action and embedding the things you have learnt into your classroom.

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Download the lesson pack

Lesson notes, references and how to navigate them

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Multiply our impact

Share our course to accelerate the movement of people building a liveable future

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Watch back and share

Re-watch Lesson 1 on our YouTube channel, and share it with others

Watch on YouTube

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Join the community

Continue the conversation on 
our Discord or Facebook.

Get your students and school involved

Talk to your students about joining you in these actions. Explain to them why each action can be so positive and powerful. Encourage them to talk to their families about it. Try to build a movement to get your whole school to take action too.

Always remember that your students’ personal circumstances could mean that they find it difficult to join you in taking these actions. This can lead to feelings of guilt and powerlessness.

This is why it’s so important to frame actions not as negatives if they’re not done, but as enormous positives if they are.

What can we do right now?

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Support climate heroes

If you’re able to spare some money, then consider donating to one of the world’s most important organisations that’s working to bring about an end to climate injustice: the global legal charity, Client Earth.

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Travel smarter

If you’re able to do so, then make a commitment with yourself to travel more sustainably, and to avoid flying unless it’s absolutely necessary. You can find out more about low carbon travelling here.

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Bank for the future

If you have a bank account, open a new account with a bank that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels. Here’s a list of banks that do invest in fossil fuels. While you’re at it, write to your current bank to let them know why you’re moving your money away from them.

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Get political

Take a small political action, and write to your representative to ask them to be a part of the solution, to support a post-fossil-fuels world and to phase out existing fossil fuel use. If you’re in the UK, there are some great tips and a very widely supported piece of policy already written up right here. If you’re outside the UK, please use it as inspiration. Also, if you’re inside the UK, Teach the Future’s petition asking the government to implement broad climate education is particularly relevant.

 

What are some big, positive actions we can take in the longer term?

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Harness the wind and sun

If you have an energy provider, then switch to one that sources all of its electricity from renewable sources. Don’t be fooled into thinking that “biomass” counts as renewable though… more on that in Lesson 3! Gas heating is a tough one, as gas is a fossil fuel, but it’s also very expensive to replace a gas heating system. If you can afford to switch to an electrical heating system though, do so.

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Divest from disaster

If you have a pension or any investments, make sure that none of your money is invested in fossil fuels. If you’ve never checked, or if you’ve invested in large funds, then it’s very likely that your money is invested in fossil fuels. We can’t give you any advice here, as we’re not qualified to do so, but Ethical Consumer’s guide and Make My Money Matter are good places to start.

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Get insulated

One of the biggest places where energy is wasted around the world is heating up and cooling down buildings, and most of that energy is coming from burning fossil fuels. If you own a home, then getting it insulated is one of the most positive things you can do to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

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Get MORE political

If you’re in a democratic country, then only vote for politicians who recognise that the climate and nature crisis is the greatest emergency the world has ever faced. Make sure they have a good plan to do something about it. If you’re too young to vote, try to convince people who can vote. Also, if you can, join the growing number of political rallies and community groups that are uniting behind the science.

 

Spark a classroom conversation

Here are some great questions to ask your students, and some activities to go with them.

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“What’s a word that we need in the world that we don’t have yet?”

Inventing a new word for a concept or idea that doesn’t exist yet is one of the most powerful things anyone in the world can do. Without words for things, we can’t understand them, protect them or properly value them. Imagine if there was no word for “freedom”... how would we know how to prevent it from slipping away?

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Activity: Enter AimHi’s ‘Future Dictionary’ challenge, co-judged by the head of the Oxford English Dictionary, for multiple chances to win £100.

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“How will a hotter global climate impact the things we value the most?” 

“What could the future be like?”

“What kind of future do we want?”

WWF have produced classroom resources, presentations and information sheets for both primary and secondary schools, looking at how our climate is changing and exploring these themes

Rob Hopkins’s book ‘From What is to What If: Unleashing the power of imagination’ to create the future we want’ is another starting point for thinking about these kind of questions.

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“Does it feel as though the climate is changing quickly?” 
“What is Deep Time?”

Head on a Deep Time Walk: Walk 4.6km through 4.6bn years of Earth history and learn about key concepts from Earth’s evolution and experience a unique perspective of deep time.

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“Why are so many young people protesting?”
“What does Greta have to say about this?”

Watch Greta Thunberg’s TEDx Talk: ‘School strike for climate - save the world by changing the rules’ (one of the best TED talks we’ve ever seen!)

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“What role will young people play in shaping the future?”

Bring the voices, creativity and energy of your classroom to address the climate and nature crisis by entering the Climate Action: Race to Zero challenges initiative, with cash prizes for the best entries in a number of different categories.

Reboot the Future are calling on educators of 14-18 year olds to ignite students’ sense of optimism, and inspire them with positive and personal ways of engaging in climate action.

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“How can we fight misinformation?”
“Why should we fight misinformation?”

Play the Cranky Uncle game made by George Mason University to combat misinformation around the climate crisis.

 

Where can I learn more and find further inspiration for lessons?

... about climate change:

Climate Science lays out the key information about the climate crisis with incredible clarity and simplicity.

NASA’s “How do we know?” is a very good place to see the science behind climate change, broken down into topics

The IPCC’s Special Report goes into great detail about the science.

... about tipping points:

Carbon Brief’s Tipping Points Explainer and The Potsdam Institute’s “Tipping Elements” both beautifully lay out the reality of our planet’s tipping points.

...about carbon dioxide emissions:

If you’d like to know more about the rising level of CO2, then you can see an interactive historic chart at The 2 Degrees Institute, check out the original CO2 levels measurement called the Keeling Curve, or get more detail at Our World in Data.

…about eco-anxiety and where to get support:

This BBC article explains how to spot Eco-Anxiety, and what to do about it. If you’d like to speak to someone, the Climate Psychology Alliance and XR's Trained Emotional Support Network offer over-the-phone active listening and one-to-one Counselling or Psychotherapy to help manage the impact of climate breakdown on wellbeing.

 

Our top links:

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Climate Science have detailed resources for teachers including powerpoint presentations and lesson

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Thoughtbox have created a free and comprehensive curriculum to empower young people and teachers invite climate conversations into the classroom (with lesson plans for 5-18 years)

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AimHi’s Paul Turner has written a series of Climate Crisis Lesson Plans