Empowering a new generation to take
environmental action
A new approach to climate and ocean education
Genevieve Therriault
There is an urgent need for empirical research across the country to better understand the perspectives, needs and concerns of young citizens and teachers on climate-ocean interface issues and for these to be truly part of the solution.
Dr. Geneviève Therriault
Research Chair in Environmental Education and Sustainable Development

Transforming climate action

The Earth is teetering toward climate crisis. The ocean, more than anything, is helping to keep the balance. But emerging science shows the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon and regulate temperatures is changing in ways we don’t understand. It is a change that is not accounted for in global climate targets. It’s a risk we can no longer afford to take. The time has come to transform climate action.

Transformative environmental education

"Education is an important cornerstone to raise awareness among future generations of the impact they can have on the environment, but also to generate genuine eco-citizen engagement, both individually and collectively,” says Dr. Theriault.

“Climate and ocean issues offer promising avenues for research and educational intervention, as they are part of the daily lives of elementary and secondary school students and their teachers.”

Dr. Theriault says that by better understanding students’ beliefs and teaching practices in the classroom we will be able to develop new innovative pedagogical approaches that respond to environmental issues.

Genevieve Therriault teaching
Dr. Geneviève Therriault shares her approach to equipping young people for environmental action

Collaborative research in the field

As part of their work, Dr. Therriault and her team conduct collaborative research with school communities, particularly in the Bas-Saint-Laurent.

"The goal is to engage teachers to develop and test original and relevant educational activities that relate to environmental issues. The power to act for young people will always be at the heart of our concerns, so that they can get involved concretely in the sustainable development of their environment, in the preservation of the ocean, biodiversity and global warming," says Dr. Therriault.

Professor Therriault and her team will focus on analyzing the impact of educational interventions on elementary and secondary school youth. "We will examine the most promising theoretical and methodological approaches related to environmental education and sustainable development. Our goal is to empower students and their teachers to participate in the transformation of society towards more justice, equity and well-being.”

While the team works directly with school communities to address local environmental issues, Dr. Therriault notes, “the results of our research can be transposed to all communities across Canada in order to have a significant leverage effect in the future."

An ocean-first approach

Transforming Climate Action will bring together more than 170 researchers at Dalhousie and its academic partners to embark on the most intensive investigation into the ocean’s role in climate change ever undertaken. It will make Canada a global leader in climate science, innovation, and solutions by putting the ocean front and centre in the fight against a warming planet.

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