Young people play a critical role in protecting the climate.  According to the UNFCCC Secretary General Patricia Espinosa, “Young people want to be involved in the process, and we value that interest. It is central to all the questions we are addressing here. I also want to encourage you to get involved in your communities and at the national level.”

Cornell Climate Smart Solutions Program provides resources and supports youth climate change education through the 4-H youth development program, including youth curriculum and activities, citizen science projects, climate change guidebooks, and materials for youth climate summits.  This is a growing collection of resources – which will be continually updated. Please let us know of other research and science-based climate change resources for youth if they are not included below.
youth education

Cornell citizen science and learning resources

  • One Seed at a Time: Fighting Climate Change in the Garden – Youth curriculum/activities focusing on monitoring, alleviating, and mitigating climate change’s impacts in the garden. Activities serve as a springboard for youth community action projects that help to fight climate change. Related Cornell Garden-Based Learning projects.
  • Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) – CoCoRaHS is a community-based network of volunteers working together to measure and map precipitation to help provide accurate high-quality precipitation data on a timely basis and increase the density of precipitation data available throughout the country. Cornell’s Northeast Regional Climate Center serves as the CoCoRaHS Coordinator for New York.
  • Project Feederwatch – Track movements of winter bird populations to broaden our understanding of climate change’s impact on species and ecosystems (Cornell Lab of Ornithology).
  • Museum of the Earth – The Museum of the Earth and Cayuga Nature Center, affiliated with Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, are committed to climate change education.

Peer-reviewed curriculum collections

  • Our Climate Our Future – From the Alliance for Climate Education, this multimedia experience about climate science that gets students excited about renewable energy and innovative climate solutions made by and for young people. Connects students with stories from young people impacted by climate change across the country. Teachers who sign up get access to the climate lesson plans.
  • Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) – Peer-reviewed collection of educational resources dealing with climate and energy geared towards middle school, high school, and undergraduate audiences.
  • NASA Climate Change Lessons – Peer-reviewed collection of climate change education resources geared towards upper elementary school, middle school, and high school students, from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  • NOAA Climate Change Education Resources – Complete lesson plans about the carbon cycle, changing seasons, climate change impacts, and climate monitoring from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • SERC Teaching Climate Change: Lessons from the Past – The Science Education Resource Center’s (SERC) collection of peer-reviewed climate change resources from a variety of different review processes. Appropriate for all ages.
  • ARM Climate Change Lesson Plans – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program’s collection of lesson plans and information for both students and teachers of elementary, middle, or high school level.
  • EPA Environmental Curriculum – A variety of lesson plans and activities for many different topics, including climate change, from the US Environmental Protection Agency. Appropriate for middle school and high school students.
  • FoodSpan – FoodSpan is a free high school curriculum developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future about food and how it gets from farms to forks. Features include: 17 inquiry-based lesson plans, 2 short films, and 100+ activities and extensions that can serve as homework assignments or group projects. FoodSpan lessons are aligned to national education standards, relevant to students’ lived experiences, easy-to-use, and customizable. Educators can choose to work through the entire curriculum or teach stand-alone lessons on topics of interest like climate change or food waste. And there is a plant-based cookbook geared towards reducing food waste.

Get involved

  • – The Alliance for Climate Education is an award-winning national non-profit dedicated to educating America’s high school students about the science behind climate change and inspiring them to do something about it—through the ACE Assembly and Student Action Program. ACE is based in Oakland, California, with educator teams in New York.
  • W!ld Center Youth Climate Summit – The W!ld Center organizes an annual Youth Climate Summit, with participants from area high schools, colleges and universities, now impacts schools with more than 25,000 students each year. They also provide educational resources, through their climate disruption page.
  • Center for Green Schools – A program of the U.S. Green Building Council, the Center was established to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable and healthy places to live, learn, work and play.

Websites for student exploration

  • NASA Climate Kids – A highly engaging and interactive website designed to give younger students a breadth of climate change knowledge, from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  • A Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change (EPA) – A colorful and creative site designed to help kids understand basic climate science, explore climate change impacts, think like a climate scientist, and help mitigate the problem, from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

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Climate Change and Youth Resources

Activities and Lessons

STEM focused activities

Curriculum and Lesson Collections

Climate Change Education Books

Tips and Tricks for Presenting Climate Change Information

  • Climate Interpreter—great site for learning how to fine-tune the language we use when we teach!

Climate Change Communication and Public Opinion Resources

  • The Climate Chat—a research roundup of recently published literature on climate change communication and public opinion
  • Find out what your community thinks about climate change here

Climate Change in NGSS and NY State Standards