The Young Voices for the Planet films have challenged and transformed the way that climate change is being taught. The psychological value of the films as a tool to teach youth about climate change has been discussed at meetings of a number of prominent institutions including the National Education Association, EPA, National Science Foundation, National Academy of Sciences, Ecological Society of America, the National Science Teachers Association and the North American Association for Environmental Education –groups that are embracing the use of the films to change the pedagogy of teaching about climate change.
See Lynne Cherry’s article in PATHWAYS, the publication of the NY State Council for the Social Studies. This article by children’s book author/illustrator and Young Voices for the Planet director Lynne Cherry describes how the Young Voices for the Planet films help educators teach about climate change through a lens of hope rather than doom and gloom.
iCivics — www.icivics.org
iCivics exists to engage students in meaningful civic learning. They provide teachers with well-written, inventive, and free resources that enhance their practice and inspire their classrooms.
CivXNow — www.civxnow.org/
CivXNow is a national cross-partisan coalition of over 100 organizations focused on improving our nation’s K-12 in and out-of-school civic education. Their goal is to ensure that the civic mission of schools is at the core of education as a way to sustain our democratic republic. CivXNow Coalition, of which YVFP is a member, catalyzes a national mindset shift to prioritize civic engagement and civic education and in turn, drive policies and investments in civic education.
Zinn Education Project
The climate crisis threatens our students’ lives. And yet, throughout the United States, schools have failed to put the climate at the center of the curriculum. To address this gulf between the climate emergency and schools’ inadequate response, the Zinn Education Project has launched a campaign to “Teach Climate Justice.” How do we teach the climate crisis in a way that also confronts racism, economic inequality, misogyny, militarism, xenophobia, and that imagines the kind of world that we would like to live in? They offer classroom-tested lessons, workshops for educators, and a sample school board climate justice resolution.
Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation — www.celfeducation.org
CELF provides transformative programs through professional learning, curriculum mapping and action planning, co-teaching, custom curriculum design, and school consulting with the goal of making sustainability education an integral part of the K-12 learning experience. Their programs offer a multitude of ways to bring sustainability education into the classroom and school communities.
Our Children’s Trust — www.ourchildrenstrust.org
Our Children’s Trust is a non-profit public interest law firm that provides strategic, campaign-based legal services to youth from diverse backgrounds to secure their legal rights to a safe climate. They work to protect the Earth’s climate system for present and future generations by representing young people in global legal efforts to secure their binding and enforceable legal rights to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate, based on the best available science. OCT has developed free curricula for high school teachers in the hopes that students everywhere will have an opportunity to learn more about landmark youth-led climate change litigation.
Curriculum: Making the Case for Science-Based Climate Action (Juliana v. United States)
Honoring The Future — bit.ly/honoring-the-future
Honoring The Future harnesses the power of art to educate, empower, and engage the public on climate change. Their art exhibitions and programs spark conversation and inspire action. They empower individuals, communities, and businesses to create a climate-smart world. HTF’s Honoring Trees: Educator’s Guide showcases 60 of the online resources most likely to spark student interest in trees in their art, science, history, social studies, language arts, and civics classes. YVFP’s award-winning films are featured in the Guide.
Books and Articles to Help Teach Climate Change with Hope and Solutions
This book is based on Gary Braasch’s book “Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World.” Gary, a world-renowned photojournalist, took most of the books’ pictures. Lynne and Gary followed climate scientists around the world, learning about their research first-hand. Scientists studied birds that were changing their range and moving up mountains; receding glaciers; ancient air trapped in ice cores; Arctic tundra and Australian rain forests. The book 15 awards including the AAAS/ Subaru Award, AAAS’s Best Middle School Science Book of the Year and the American Meteorological Society’s children’s book award. This pie chart is from the book.
This book includes information about how the Young Voices for the Planet films help dispel the fear that people, young and old, often have about climate change. It’s a great book for teaching about energy and climate.
This e-book has curriculum developed specifically for all the Young Voices for the Planet films and they are all aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.
The lessons are all aligned to the national science standards (NGSS).
The remarkable Young Voices for the Planet films showcase dozens of young people who, starting with nothing but enthusiasm, shrink the carbon footprint of their homes, schools and communities. With this teacher’s guide, you can help your students take action against climate change while teaching to the standards.
Empowering Young Voices for the Planet is about teaching students the science and reality of climate change, while empowering them to respond effectively—and without fear.
Inside this guide you’ll find:
Discover for yourself what a powerful catalyst “think globally, act locally” can be when integrated into STEM, social studies, environmental studies, and civic engagement lessons. If not now, when?
Lynne Cherry’s chapter, “Teaching Climate Change With Hope and Solutions: Lessons from a Film Project”, discusses in depth the pedagogy of the Young Voices for the Planet films and the importance of offering heartening solutions when discussing the dire nature of climate change. The book focuses on how the future of planet Earth depends on humans’ recognition of the interconnectedness of all life. This comprehensive resource helps PRE-K–12 teachers teach their students to be part of the world as engaged citizens, advocates for social and ecological justice.
Huffington Post — Films Champion Inspiring Youth Solutions to Climate Change “if the adults don’t do enough, we have to do it.”
Mongabay — Lynne cherry’s books and films
Read Lynne Cherry’s NY Times blog about climate messaging:
NY TIMES dot.Earth Blog — “On the Allure of Ostriches and New Paths in Clilmate Communication” Lynne Cherry guest blogging for Andrew Revkin talks about how people are motivated to avoid hearing about troubling problems if they feel they are intractable—that they can’t do anything about them. Lynne cites a study dubbing this “motivated avoidance” and talks about how success stories can act as an antidote to the fear associated with climate disruption.
The Brandwein Institute post on Lynne Cherry’s Brandwein Lecture at National Science Teachers Association Conference “Young Voices on Climate Change: Inspired and Empowered Youth Tackle Climate Science and Solutions
NSTA Blog: Teaching Climate Change with stories of Success by Lynne Cherry
Communication Insights and Youth Self-Efficacy
The films have been hugely successful in developing self-efficacy (the ability of young people to realize that they have the power to change the world—and their own lives). The youth in the films tackle the impossible because it doesn’t occur to them that they won’t succeed and the inspire other youth. Self-efficacy develops global citizenry in youth and a belief in their ability to control their environment and destiny.
The Young Voices for the Planet films are included in Pearson’s geography textbook and many teacher guides including the online curriculum “Getting the Picture” for Jim Balog’s movie “Chasing Ice”.
A 60-page teacher guide for the films, Empowering Young Voices for the Planet, was co-authored by National Science Teachers Association president Juliana Texley, aligned with the next generation science standards.
The United Nations Foundation featured a different YVFP film on their website every two weeks throughout summer 2014 promoting them internationally.
Because the Young Voices for the Planet films are unique in climate change education, outreach and activism, they have become useful tools to groups teaching about climate change, self-efficacy and youth empowerment including National Geographic and PBS Learning Media.
There are plenty of ways, big and small, for people of all ages to change the world around them to help make it a better place. Even though it seems that adults are making many of the decisions about the fate of our planet, many kids have already taken on the challenge of climate change with great success. This chapter, features kids who have taken big initiatives to raise awareness on climate change and make a difference in their own personal actions as well. We hear their stories, and also learn about opportunities we can take in our own lives every day to change the story of climate change for the better.
Kids vs Global Warming
Plant for the Planet
Longing for a Local Lunch
Olivia’s Birds and the Oil Spill
By documenting and communicating youth solutions, the YVFP films give educators tools to teach about climate change in a manner that relates to students’ lives, taps into their interests, engages their curiosity and motivates them to retain the information as lifetime learning. Studies show that such curriculum results in better test scores, greater retention of knowledge and content mastery. Climate workshop presenters have witnessed firsthand how these inspirational and authentic Young Voices for the Planet films transform teachers and students alike from feeling hopeless to hopeful, from apathetic to engaged.