FILE – A pumpjack works at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Federal financing relief for large Canadian companies announced Monday was welcomed by the oil and gas sector and the Alberta government despite conditions that linked the aid to climate change goals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

FILE – A pumpjack works at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Federal financing relief for large Canadian companies announced Monday was welcomed by the oil and gas sector and the Alberta government despite conditions that linked the aid to climate change goals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Report suggests Alberta students want more education on climate change

Teachers said they struggle to meet students’ needs because of a lack of up-to-date resources

An Alberta non-profit organization says there’s a gap between the education students receive in schools and the information they want about energy and the environment.

The Alberta Council for Environmental Education has published a report providing teachers with 10 principles for developing energy and climate change resources in the province.

The recommendations are drawn from workshops with students last fall and from a survey earlier this year of 500 youth between 15 and 24 years old.

It suggests students in Alberta are behind others across the country when it comes to climate literacy.

“What they found is very disturbing,” said Gareth Thomson, the council’s executive director.

“The majority of youth in Alberta are concerned about climate, but feel they lack the knowledge and power to do something about it.”

The survey, which was done by Leger Marketing, showed 61 per cent of students were worried about climate change and 69 per cent were worried about their future in relation to the economy and the environment.

Some 21 per cent of students surveyed thought climate change was too controversial to be discussed in the classroom.

Chloe MacGregor, a 17-year-old student in Calgary, said schools need to get better at teaching about climate change and Alberta’s energy industry.

“Our education system is very outdated and needs to be revised,” she said.

MacGregor said she has to find information on her own outside of her regular classes.

“Since I was a kid, I was always interested in the environment,” said the Grade 12 student, who wants to study ecology after she graduates. “I needed to become more educated.”

Teachers cited in the report said they struggle to meet students’ needs because of a lack of up-to-date resources and not enough time set aside in the curriculum for climate change and energy studies.

Adam Robb, who teaches at a high school in Calgary, said he’s one of the lucky ones with a job that’s focused on teaching environment and energy issues as an optional class.

“I can count all of those teachers on one hand,” he said.

Robb said he’s had lots of demand for the information from students.

The report suggests a lack of adequate education can lead students to construct false and even apocalyptic narratives about climate change — something Robb said he’s noticed in some students.

“They go down YouTube wormholes,” he said, noting that can cause anxiety and fear about the future rather than thinking of positive ways to deal with climate change.

Another common narrative he’s noticed is students who think climate change is a political issue that has right- and left-wing views.

“We start off with learning the science and say this has nothing to do with politics,” said Robb.

Some of the 10 principles put forward in the report include acknowledging and accommodating anxiety about climate change, focusing on building climate literacy and teaching students about all kinds of energy.

Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange last month endorsed a panel report that recommends school children learn all views about climate change along with the value of the province’s oil and gas sector.

The panel was formed in August to explore ways to improve the kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum.

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Climate Change

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

cat
Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler provides support through animal interaction

‘I also come from a family of doers - if something that is needed isn’t there, you just figure it out’

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta now has 17,743 active cases of COVID-19

Province now has 17,743 active cases

town
Town of Castor meeting highlights from the Nov. 23rd meeting

Castor’s town council has approved an interim budget going into 2021

county
The County of Paintearth Council has approved the 2021 operational and capital budgets

Capital spending approved for 2021 amounts to just over $3.8 million

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council squashes mask bylaw

The bylaw did not make it past first reading, after a 4-3 vote defeated the motion

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Team Manitoba celebrate after defeating Team Ontario to win the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Curling Canada wants Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park to be a curling hub for the season’s top events. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary facility set to become curling hub during pandemic

Curling Canada has provisional approval for Calgary’s hub-city concept from Alberta Health

Most Read