Empowering a new generation to take environmental action
A new approach to climate and ocean education
“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
Desjardins Research Chair in Environmental Education and Sustainable Development, L'Université du Québec à Rimouski
L'Université du Québec à Rimouski

Transforming climate action

An ocean-first approach

Emerging science reveals the ocean's ability to absorb CO2 and regulate temperatures is changing in ways we don’t understand. These critical shifts are not accounted for in climate targets – a risk we can no longer take. With support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, Dalhousie is leading an ocean-first approach to tackle climate change and equipping Canada with the knowledge, innovations, and opportunities to secure a positive climate future.

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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

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."

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