Debates & Issues around Climate Change for the English Classroom


Worksheets, Activities and Essay Assignments on Climate Change for the English Classroom

  • Climate Change & Communication
  • Climate Change & Questions of Morality
  • Climate Change & Positive Responses
  • Climate Change & National Responsibility
  • Additional Essay Assignments, Research Activities & Discussion Prompts

For a variety of reasons, English teachers are part of our larger cultural discourse on climate change and the environment. In teaching formal argumentation in the essay form, teaching critical thinking and in introducing students to the most salient intellectual issues of our time, English teachers might find themselves drawn to discussions of one of the most pressing and troubling realities of our era – climate change.

There are two things that tend to get in the way of bringing climate change into the English class – we are not science teachers and we want to avoid the third-rail of politics in our classroom discussions. This set of worksheets takes a very practical approach to side-stepping both of these problems while directly engaging students in critical thinking on climate change.

The first solution is an emphasis on the idea that climate change is not a purely scientific issue. It is actually a wide-reaching subject that touches on economics, social justice, ethics and more. By treating climate change as the location of a set of debates, students are invited to think about the issue in new and complex ways, moving past the cause-and-effects discussions regarding greenhouse gas emissions.

The second solution is to invite students to engage with these debates directly, none of which are explicitly political.

  • The way scientists, teachers, politicians and journalists talk about climate change can impact the way that people conceive of climate change. What is the best strategy for communicating about climate change?
  • What are the moral questions that climate change raises about personal consumption choices and industry’s production methods?
  • What solutions already exist to combat climate change? Which of them are the most promising and how can we adapt some solutions to find new ways to apply them?
  • Some nations have done more to contribute to the global greenhouse gas emissions that have spurred climate change, but all nations will be affected by climate change. Should the most responsible nations be held financially responsible and help developing nations to build green energy infrastructure?

These become questions that fit very well into the instruction of argumentative, thesis-driven writing and in teaching academic research skills.

This set of worksheets and activities provide an informative entry into each of these questions, bringing students into a deep consideration of climate change as a complex issue – one that is not purely scientific but which is also not already a closed-book apocalypse.

There is hope if we take action. That is why we should be bringing discussions of climate change into our classrooms.

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Find resources for anything from teaching citation style to bringing climate change into the classroom as a topic for argument and critical thinking. Plus tests, quizzes, and study materials for popular literary short stories, novels and plays.

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