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Education and Climate Change

The Role of Universities

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2021

You have full access to this open access Book


  • This open access book examines the relationship between education and climate change in the 21st century education
  • Includes five case studies that exemplify specific education for climate change curriculum implemented in formal and non-formal education
  • Explains how climate change education can be designed to foster deeper learning

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Table of contents (7 chapters)


About this book

This open access volume draws on a multidimensional model of educational change, the book reviews the field of climate change education and identifies some of the areas in which past efforts have fallen short in supporting effective pedagogical change at scale. It then formulates an approach to engage university students and faculty in partnering with schools and adult education institutions and directly contribute innovative curricula on climate change. The approach is  illustrated with several case studies which present curricula developed to support school-based innovation in the Middle East and in Guatemala, and adult education in Haiti and Pakistan, and educators preparation at the university level. The approach followed to develop innovative curriculum follows five steps:

1)      What are the specific impacts of climate change in this jurisdiction? How do they impact various human populations?

2)     What knowledge, dispositions and behaviors could mitigate the impact of climate change and are there ways in which changes in the behaviors of populations in this jurisdiction could slow down climate change?

3)      What are the means of delivery to reach each of the specific populations in this jurisdiction who needs to be educated on climate change?

4)      What curriculum can help educate each population?

5)      What role can the institution we are collaborating with play in advancing climate change education in that jurisdiction?

The various chapters of the book present the conceptual foundation of these programs and illustrate how these programs respond to specific characteristics of local contexts. These programs focus in schools, non-formal settings and educator preparation institutions. The chapters offer examples of general value beyond the specific contexts for which they were designed,  as they illustrate how in order to be optimally useful climate change education needs to be firmly grounded in the specifics of a context and responsive to that context.


“This book is recommended to anyone interested in the role of universities in tackling

the problem of climate change. The authors have successfully implemented the innovative climate change curriculum directly … . This book is highly recommended for educators, researchers, and education activists so that they can innovate curricula in their respective areas, adapting to existing conditions. Thus, several curricula … described in this book can be used and developed to deal with climate change problems in various contexts.” (Suci Indah Putri, Erin Ficrah Huda and Nadratun Nikmah, Australian Journal of Environmental Education, August 11, 2022)

“Throughout thebook, the authors elaborate on these ideas and provide insightful examples that can be useful for university leaders, deans, heads of departments, and professors interested in the implementation of strategies for climate change education. … As provost of my university and professor of public policy, I truly connected with the authors in their spirit of taking universities to the next level … . The proposal is convincing and feasible … .” (Carlos Iván Moreno, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, October 20, 2021)
"This isn’t a comprehensive work on the scholarship of climate change education, it’s more a light touch, a sensible and considered discussion and a view of what people are doing. I like the tone, it’s quite delicate and most sincere. It’s very straightforward to read." – Hillary Whitehouse, James Cook University

Editors and Affiliations

  • Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA

    Fernando M. Reimers

About the editor

Fernando M. Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice of International Education and Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative and of the International Education Policy Masters Program at Harvard University. An expert in the field of Global Education, his research and teaching focus on understanding how to educate children and youth so they can thrive in the 21st century. He is a member of UNESCO’s high level commission on the Futures of Education.

Bibliographic Information

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