It is important that we prepare tomorrow’s scientists, decision makers, and communities to address the societal impacts of a changing climate. In order to respond to, manage, and adapt to those changes, citizens of all ages need accurate, up-to-date information, knowledge of the sciences, and analytical skills to make responsible decisions and long-term climate resiliency plans. With adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards, more states are including climate change in their standards, and recent polls show that both teachers and parents are interested in having climate change taught in the classroom. However, recent studies show that many educators either don’t feel prepared to teach about climate change or lack resources for teaching the topic. Informal settings (e.g., museums, zoos, and after-school programs) are important parts of the ‘learning ecosystem’ and therefore are also important avenues to expose the public to climate change topics. As sources of public science education, informal educators also need resources and support in interpreting complex climate topics in engaging ways.
In this presentation, we will discuss the barriers faced by climate change educators, effective strategies being used to address these challenges by climate education organizations, and future steps that can be taken to strengthen our communities’ commitment to and support of climate change education. Specifically, we will highlight the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN, http://cleanet.org), a dynamic program that offers a backbone for climate change education. CLEAN provides a curated collection of 700+ peer-reviewed, high-quality teaching resources, pedagogical support for teaching climate and energy science, and a vibrant, professionally diverse community of climate and energy literacy stakeholders-the CLEAN Network.