University of Minnesota: University of Minnesota Launches the Center for Climate Literacy

The University of Minnesota has launched a Center for Climate Literacy, housed in the College of Education and Human Development. The Center seeks to advance an understanding of climate change through research, outreach and design solutions for K-12 classrooms.

The first of its kind in the United States, the Center focuses on strategies to build universal climate literacy: helping young people develop understanding, values and attitudes aligned with how we should live to respect our planetary home. Climate literacy is a wider competence than the knowledge of climate science. A multidisciplinary skillset, it includes numbers and facts, but centers emotions, care and behavioral change necessary to create sustainable futures.

The need for the Center–a research-outreach hub of solutions for universal climate literacy education–is urgent. Climate change is the defining issue of our time, yet has been absent in our educational systems or treated as specialist knowledge. Today’s young people grow up in a rapidly warming world, with rising sea levels, catastrophic weather events, food insecurity and climate migrations becoming the norm. They have a right to knowledge that builds their resilience and capacity for transformational adaptation advocated in IPPC reports. The Center aims to engage teachers and youth in efforts to build universal climate literacy and accelerate a transition to an ecological civilization.

Current and future planned initiatives include: an open-access resource hub for building young people’s climate literacy using literature and other narrative media.
Climate Literacy in Education: an open-access journal for teachers, hosted by the University of Minnesota Libraries, featuring educational materials, lesson plans and more.
Climate Panels, workshops and trainings: online and in-person events for teachers and general audiences focused on using children’s literature and media in formal and informal educational settings.
“Climate change is not primarily a technological or political challenge,” said Director of the Center Dr. Marek Oziewicz. “It is a challenge to our imaginations and story systems.”