Teaching Climate Change at Primary and Secondary Levels for Sustainable Development: Young Indians Becoming Climate-Friendly

Teaching Climate Change at Primary and Secondary Levels for Sustainable Development: Young Indians Becoming Climate-Friendly

Sobha D. Namboodhiri (SRM University, Sonipat, India) and Raghavendra G. Rao (SRM University, Sonipat, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7512-3.ch012
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


The young minds are provided with climate change and sustainable development education through various means. Environmental education is being taught at the primary level in Central Board of Secondary Education Schools while it is being taught at secondary level in the Social Science and Science Subject in C.B.S.E. Schools of India with various tools and methods. In the present study, the authors have incorporated some methods which help in teaching about climate change at primary and secondary levels. The study shows how the adopted methods are effective in disseminating knowledge about climate change. The investigator decided to adopt the survey method of research to know the method of teaching being adopted for teaching of climate change in environmental science at primary level and in science or social science, eco club at secondary level. Findings were that students should be taught in the school curriculum itself about climate change and its effects. The teaching strategies should be adopted based on the level of the child, his level of cognitive ability, accessibility, and ease of use.
Chapter Preview


Earth is warming at a rate unprecedented and the last decade was the warmest and contained 9 of the 10 warmest years ever recorded. Climate change is a very broad term that tells us about the change of climate in the world. It is something that is continuously changing and is not the same as normal change of seasons occur at regular intervals on earth. Changes are generally welcome for all but all changes need not be good. Some are not good for us as they can result in some serious consequences.

Climate change is a term that has now become quite serious and world leaders are meeting every year to stop this climate change. Climate change results in fluctuations in weather patterns, blurring, and rise of sea levels, melting of glaciers, and depletion in ozone level. Climate change also results in a fall in agricultural productivity, an increase in the number of infectious diseases, instability in the water supply, and the dying out of many species of plants, animals, and birds. The effects of climate change are predominantly negative and impact most heavily on low-income countries and developing countries.

Mainlay and Tan (2012) have discussed in their research that adaptation to climate change capacity varies from country to country and the least developed countries have a lower adaptive capacity. The ability of a country depends on a nation’s resources which are factors like knowledge, technology, support institutions as these can only help them to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

The best resources for a country are the children who have to be developed in such a manner that they save natural resources and do not contribute to increasing climate change and this can be only brought about by providing proper education from the primary level.

Figure 1.

Students performing a Dance drama depicting climate change, its consequences, methods to adapt to climate change.


Plutzer E. and Hannah A.L. in their article ‘Teaching Climate Change in middle schools and high schools: investigating STEM education’s deficit model’, Climate Change, Vol.149, Pg.305-317(2018) have written that teachers are not well equipped to teach about climate change in the USA due to less content knowledge and their political inclinations. Also, teachers encourage students to debate established findings like global warming and its effects.

Siegner A. and Stapert N. (2019): ‘Climate change education in the humanities classroom’: a case study of the Lowell school curriculum pilot, Environmental Education Research analysed and evaluated a climate change curriculum implemented in a private school, a non-profit organization, and a government agency (NOAA). It was found that students developed a high scale climate literacy and it is a good study for developing the climate change curriculum with a socio-scientific approach to climate change education.

According to Dr Saminathan B. (2015), greenhouse gases have increased which has resulted in changes in the ecosystem and are affecting human health. Around 54 percent of total emissions of GHG’s are done by the developed world while the South Asian region contributed only about 4 percent in the total emissions in the year 2000.

School students should be made aware of the concept of climate change, its causes and effects like-decrease in yield of plants due to excess of CO2 emission by 2100 which would be about 500 ppm resulting in ruining of plant growth, the decline in the absorption of nutrients which are essential for plant growth and human wellbeing resulting in poor nutrition of mother and child. Climate change would also result in an increase in mortality due to an increase in the frequency and intensity of heatwaves. Natural disasters like floods and droughts increase due to an increase in the temperature of the earth. Vector-Borne diseases, infectious diseases, and respiratory diseases, and water borne diseases increase due to floods. Increased incidences of flood, Tsunami, and droughts causes displacement which can result in stress, trauma, and other mental illness. Biodiversity loss occurs as there is a decline in genetic, phenotypic materials and diversity of organisms like bleaching of coral reefs, reduction in several fishes resulting in affecting the human beings through the food chains and food webs. There is the threat of rising sea levels which would result in submergence of low-lying coastal regions resulting in displacement and environmental refugees would be seen all over the world.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Weather: The condition of the atmosphere at a particular place and time such as humidity, temperature, rain, etc.

Climate: It is the long-term pattern of weather conditions for a given area.

Secondary Education: Formal Education from 6 th to 10 th Standard.

Primary Education: Formal education from Kindergarten to 5 th standard.

Global Warming and Climate Change: Increase in temperature of the earth due to increased levels of Carbon Dioxide, Methane, CFCs, Water Vapour have made the twenty first century warmest on record, this has resulted in drastic changes in weather patterns causing climate change (Rajagopalan, 2018).

Eco-Club: Environment Club run by schools as a part of Socially Useful Productive Work.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: