Introduction: Climate Change Education Must Be Education for Justice: Historical and Conceptual Foundations for Centering Equity in Climate Change Education

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Contribution to a Book

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Justice and Equity in Climate Change Education Exploring Social and Ethical Dimensions of Environmental Education



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This chapter presents a historical and conceptual argument for how and why climate change education that does not address equity and justice is not true climate change education. Unjust and racist acts of industrialization and colonization, as well as neoliberal economic and political structures, created and continue to perpetuate climate change today. Those most heavily impacted by climate change are those who are in the most vulnerable socioeconomic positions and who bear the least responsibility for the causes of climate change. There is then a distinct linkage between the often-racist historicity of a geographic area, vulnerability to climate changes, and accessible physical, economic, and educational resources. In order to address these intersecting issues, educators must take up the role of educating for justice and equity. Climate change education as a field must realign itself to contend with the injustices at its core as well as address those within climate change itself. To this end, this chapter introduces four principles required for just climate change education. These include the need to utilize best pedagogical practices and reflection in STEM education, to center and amplify the voices that are most minoritized and marginalized, to make explicit connections between social and racial injustices and the foundation and perpetuation of climate change, and to support learners to be agents of transformation in their communities and internationally.


Science Education; Meteorology and Climate Science