A project of the Child Trends News Service supported by the National Science Foundation

Kids Affect Parent’s Views on Climate Change

Kids affect parents' views on climate change

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)—Time’s person of the year, 16-year-old environmental activist, Greta Thunberg has been influential when it comes to raising awareness of climate change. But not everyone believes that global warming is a real phenomenon. Now researchers say there may be a new way to inform the public.

Kids learn all kinds of new facts every day. But could what they’re taught in the classroom impact you? A new study says yes. Researchers split middle school classrooms into two groups: 12 classrooms were taught the standard science curriculum. Eleven classrooms learned about climate impact on local wildlife, did some field work related to wildlife, and interviewed their parents.

The results showed the students who participated in the specialized curriculum increased their concern about climate change and as a result, their parents also showed more concern. Scientists say the program was particularly effective at changing the views of politically conservative parents, especially men. And it seemed that daughters were more effective than sons at boosting their parents’ awareness about climate change.

The research suggests that this intergenerational learning or passing information from children to parents is a good way to help parents learn about the scientific basis of climate change.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Writer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

(Sources: https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0463-3)

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