Teaching materials on climate justice for secondary levels I and II



Droughts, floods and tornadoes are unfortunately becoming an ever more integral part of our everyday lives – whether on the TV screen or on our own doorstep. One reason for the increased occurrence of natural disasters is man-made climate change. The effects are being felt globally, but are particularly devastating on the African continent, where difficult meteorological conditions meet low resilience in some places. Why this is particularly unjust, who is harming the climate the most and what measures need to be taken to combat this injustice and climate change is the subject of this module.

Worksheets and background text

Our teaching materials consist of a comprehensive introductory text, worksheets with tasks and questions, a role model showing options of agency and a project example from Africa. Thanks to the modules, teachers can easily plan lessons regarding the topics.

The modules can be used in various situations. Since they contain further information and links, they help students to research more on the specific topic independently.

Recommended subjects:

  • English
  • Social and political sciences
  • Geography
  • Natural sciences

But all teaching materials can be used interdisciplinary, too.

Introductory text (excerpt from the module)

The climate crisis is a shared challenge

The planet is heating up at an ever faster pace, with weather records showing that the world has become considerably warmer since the mid-20th century. Extreme weather events – very hot or cold days, heat waves and droughts, heavy rains, flooding, and storms – are becoming much more common than they were even just a few decades ago.² In 2025, there will be more CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere than during the warmest period of the past 3.3 million years, precisely when the ice age ended, ushering in the warm period in which we are living today.3

In the (non-binding) 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, nearly 200 countries agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Meeting that goal requires lowering the amount of climate-damaging gases like carbon dioxide that are released into the air.4 Agreement was reached that starting in 2020, the industrialized countries would contribute USD 100 billion per year to help the Global South respond to the climate crisis. So far, however, that promise has not been kept. Most of the signatories have also failed to submit updated climate plans as agreed.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows once again the need to end the fossil fuel era without delay, because even existing fossil fuel projects will make it impossible to remain below the 1.5-degree limit. The Global South is already suffering the consequences of a 1.2-degree increase in the earth’s temperature, and the latest studies suggest that we will reach the 1.5-degree mark as soon as 2026, so it’s high time to take action!6

Causes: our industrialization, our emissions, our lifestyle

Earth’s climate is never constant, of course, because it is affected by factors like solar radiation and gases in the atmosphere. Yet we humans have accelerated climate change through industrialization, leading to a climate crisis. Our emissions are changing the earth’s atmosphere. As a result, sunlight is no longer radiating from the earth’s surface back into space as it did in the past. That’s why it’s getting warmer at ground level, and other weather conditions are changing as well.

The main drivers of the climate crisis are the industrialized countries of Asia, Europe, and North America. But it is the people living in the Global South who are suffering the most from its consequences. In many parts of Africa, it is no longer possible to rely on traditional agricultural practices. Extreme weather fluctuations are destroying harvests and causing catastrophic famines.

In terms of tons of per-capita carbon emissions, Germany ranks 6th in the world.7 Most greenhouse gases are generated by the building (36%) and traffic (26.6%) sectors; traffic is the only sector that has failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the past decades…

Download the module to read the full text and get access to the worksheets.

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