Université du Québec a Rimouski
Canada Maple Leaf
Canada First Research Excellence
Fund 2022 candidate
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.
Geneviève Therriault
Research Chair in Environmental Education and Sustainable Development

Transformational funding

There is evidence that the ocean’s ability to filter carbon from the atmosphere is changing. As a result, global climate goals are likely well off the mark. With support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, Dalhousie and its academic and industry partners will find solutions and make Canada a global leader in the science to avert climate change.

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."

Transformational funding

Dalhousie University and its research partners L’Université du Québec à Rimouski, Université Laval and Memorial University are seeking support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund to ensure the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere is accounted for in global climate goals. Together, the universities are the world’s most productive ocean research team, capable of bringing the most sophisticated science to the Earth’s most pressing challenge.

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