Fueling Change: Rethinking Education for Climate Justice in BC Schools

Authors: Emma Harris, Preet Kang, Jasmine Manango & Nina Melwani

Supervisor: Dr. Kim Snowden

Year: 2023

Our community partner, Grace Nosek, is a legal scholar currently pursuing her PhD, focusing on climate justice and how it’s deeply intertwined with fossil fuel narratives. She expressed to us that there are more people who believe in climate change but don’t think there are any solutions, than there are climate deniers. Why is this? Grace showed us how the fossil fuel industry is among our generation’s most influential storytellers, creating narratives around climate change and our future that confuse and disempower the public. These narratives are becoming widespread and normalized within the media, everyday discourse and especially education. Grace has already identified the negative effects on students and the wider public of this kind of infiltration within schooling, pointing heavily to doomism and climate anxiety. However, she told us that teachers in B.C. do not currently have the resources to understand and respond to this misinformation, but are hungry for tools to help. This aligns with the ideas of our other community partner from Be the Change Earth Alliance, George Radner, who also expressed a lack of resources available for teachers to address misinformation in existing resources.

Therefore, this is an exploratory study looking at the extent and dynamics of fossil fuel misinformation within B.C climate education; which will be coupled with a toolkit that teachers can use to challenge these narratives in their classroom and garner more grounded hope.

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