Majority of Canadians believe climate change education falling short of expectations: study


A new study has found the majority of Canadians believe climate change education is falling short of expectations.

Fifty-one per cent of Canadians feel well-informed about climate change, but 43 per cent failed a climate knowledge test, according to the study, which was led by Lakehead University researchers in collaboration with the education organization Learning for a Sustainable Future.

In the study, 86 per cent of Canadians said they need more information about climate change.

“The majority of Canadians and teachers think the education system should be doing more to educate young people about climate change,” said Pamela Schwartzberg, president and CEO of Learning for a Sustainable Future.

“Teachers think that climate change should be the role of all teachers, not just science teachers.”

The study shows that climate change is mostly taught through science-related subjects, followed by social studies.

“For teachers who do integrate climate change, the amount of instructional time is one to 10 hours per year or per semester that students experience,” said Ellen Field, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council postdoctoral fellow who worked on the survey.

“That was a big surprise because if you think about the gravity of climate change and climate change impacts and preparing young people to understand what the 21st century is going to look like, then you would think that we would be spending more time on that.”