What is climate change?

Climate change, also known as global warming, is the process of our planet heating up. Climate change is happening, and it is mainly caused by human activities that lead to severe and damaging effects. The primary human activities that cause climate change include driving cars, creating electricity from non-renewable resources, and cutting down trees. These activities release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which slowly warm the planet, creating climate change.

For additional notes on climate change, click here or refer to your Fundisa for Change Core Text to better understand climate change.

To teach Life Orientation for sustainability in a situation of climate change, one must investigate the following questions:

  • What is climate change?

  • How did our past activities cause climate change?

  • What are the consequences of our actions and how will climate change affect our well-being in sustainable living and well-being in sustainable livelihoods on a global, community and self-scale?

  • What can we do to ensure a sustainable future on earth by decreasing climate change’s effects and challenges?

  • How can we prepare our learners and communities to understand the consequences of climate change in order for them to respond and become actively part of the resilience and adaptation process?

Open this session’s forum and tell us what role do you think the Life Orientation classroom setting plays in preparing our learners and community to respond to climate change actions?

Click on the articles below about the recent floods in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa and Australia. Answer the following questions on the effects of climate change on a global and local scale. How would you start a conversation to discuss these topics related to climate change in your classroom?

  • What kind of precautions can be implemented to manage natural disasters better?
  • What would the Life Orientation teacher’s role be once this community returns to school?
  • Looking at the recommended solution-orientated teaching approach, is this article a good fit for a lesson start-up story?
  • If a learner brings this article in for discussion, how would you discuss it from a Life Orientation point of view in the context of climate change as a matter of concern?

Solution-based teaching practices

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If this kind of solution-focused lesson opening leads to examining the effectiveness of a fascinating innovation, its possible transferability and global application, the next step is to deal with the dimensions, causes and effects of the global challenge from the perspective of the solution. This stimulates the desired creativity, future and solution-orientation, but also critical thinking, which are among the key competencies to be developed in the context of Education for Sustainable Development. The associated pedagogical-psychological effec is enormous, because the students perceive themselves in an open thinking space in which they can develop their own creativity and take on the challenges posed in a solution-oriented manner and, depending on the lesson design, also experience a sense of self-efficac From an educational-psychological perspective, the strongest argument in favour of this approach is that, when appropriately designed, it does not encourage depressive moods or a sense of hopelessness. This is true even if an initial fascinating idea or the proposed solution can only partially or under extreme conditions overcome a global challenge. In such situations, it has been noticed that most students ask: How do we solve the remaining problem(s)?

(Hoffman, 2021)

Below is a general Life Orientation lesson plan for Grade 7 on nutrition

Answer the following questions:

  • How would you adjust this general lesson plan to integrate teaching gardens and preparing students for climate change effects, building resilience and instil adaptation competencies?
  • What approaches and teaching methods would you recommend to the teacher that developed this lesson plan to integrate environmental learning and engage with climate change?
  • What type of activity will you include to engage with climate change in the topic of nutrition?

Here some link to resources to support lesson plans on adaptation and coping with change.

Here are some questions to ask your students or learners:

  • How self-aware do you think you are?
  • How do you think you become more self-aware of climate change and your socio-environmental environment?
  • Determine where you could improve, such as eating a fresher, locally sourced diet or reducing the amount of waste you produce.
  • How do you think you can increase your students or learners’ self-awareness and awareness of the world they live in situated in climate change?
  • Concept: self-image
  • Changes in boys and girls: puberty
  • Peer pressure
  • Concepts: personal diet and nutrition
  • Concepts: self-concept formation and selfmotivation
  • Concept: sexuality
  • Relationships and friendships
  • Goal-setting skills: personal lifestyle choices
  • Sexual behaviour and sexual health
  • Challenging situations: depression, grief, loss, trauma and crisis
  • Self-awareness self-esteem and self development
  • Power, power relations andgender roles
  • Value of participation inexercise programmes
  • Life roles: nature andresponsibilities
  • Changes towards adulthood
  • Decision-making regarding sexuality
  • Recreation and emotional health
  • Plan and achieve life goals: problem-solving skills
  • Relationships and their influence on well-being
  • Healthy lifestyle choices: decision-making skills
  • Role of nutrition in health and physical activities
  • Gender roles and their effects on health and well being
  • Life skills required to adapt to change as part of ongoing healthy lifestyle choices
  • Stress management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Human factors that cause ill-health
  • Action plan for lifelong participation in physicalactivity

Click below to open and read more about the Life Orientation CAPS for Senior and FET Phases.

Click here to open an activity for Grade 8: Term 3 on Environmental Health Issues. Read through the activity and answer the following questions.

Evaluation of Environmental Health Issues Activity

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Personal development
Volunteering can have benefits for young people’s personal development; building self-esteem and confidence as they are experiencing a sense of achievement and personal satisfaction from being a part of something meaningful, helping others, and seeing the positive results of the work carried out.

Social capital
Young volunteers value meeting people and making friends through their volunteering. Volunteering has been found to provide young people with opportunities to develop new social networks and relationships with people from similar situations or backgrounds to theirs (‘bonding’ social capital); and different backgrounds who they would not normally have had the opportunity to get to know (‘bridging’ social capital). 

This benefit relates to changes in young volunteers’ awareness of their community, their ability to engage with it and feel part of it. By bringing young people together with people from other parts of their community, volunteering has been found to bring about a greater awareness among young people of the issues faced by their community or society more generally, and develop a greater sense of belonging.

Lifelong giving
Giving also promotes lifelong giving.

Read the case study below and answer the questions that follow.

Climate change: Protecting Women’s Rights

Systemic inequalities can lead to climate change impacting women, men and non-binary persons differently. Women constitute most of the world’s poor and are often directly dependent on natural resources as their main source of food and income. Therefore, they are more likely to suffer from the impacts of environmental degradation. Yet, women are agents of change with unique perspectives and expertise. In the last decades, 55% of the improvement in food security in developing countries came from programmes promoting women’s empowerment. Ensuring the meaningful participation of women with diverse backgrounds in relevant decision-making processes lies at the heart of a rights-based, gender-responsive approach. This inclusive approach is not only a legal, ethical and moral obligation; it will also make climate action more effective.

Positive Examples

Climate action can empower women to be part of the solution. Studies have found correlations between women in positions of political authority and lower national carbon footprints illustrating the importance of women’s participation in decision-making. Promoting women’s education, participation in decision-making are among the most effective ways of reducing future emissions of carbon dioxide. It also helps addressing discrimination. The Women and Gender Constituency, which aims to embed women’s rights within the UNFCCC, helped secure a new five-year Gender Action Plan to scale up gender justice in climate solutions at the 25th Conference of the Parties in 2019. In Tanzania, the Pastoral Women’s Council led the Energize project that is building pastoralist adolescent girls’ capacity to adapt to climate change through training on leadership, entrepreneurship, microcredit and banking, sexual and reproductive health information, as well as solar systems installation and maintenance.

‘A healthy environment’ means different things to different people. Similarly, environmental issues manifest differently depending on the context. To adequately understand the features, causes and effects of environmental issues, and to respond creatively by developing solutions or alternatives, we need to draw on skills, insights and inspiration from all areas of human endeavour, including the Arts, Humanities, Science and Technology, Economics, Management, Philosophy and Spirituality. Even at school we find environmental content in all subjects. In this Fundisa for Change programme we will explore environmental and sustainability content that is pertinent to Life Orientation. It is important to ‘know your subject’ well, and particularly the environmental content embedded in your subject. Knowledge on its own, however, is not enough, and the creative teacher uses a wide range of methods to mediate learning. And of course, learning needs to be assessed if learner performance and achievement are to be adequately monitored. Finally, it is important to know how to extend the environmental content in your subject so that it makes a practical difference in the life of the school. The Fundisa for Change programme aims to support you to prepare teachers to engage with environmental and sustainability knowledge and skills in the curriculum, so that they may contribute to building the environmentally sustainable and healthy society that is envisaged in South Africa’s Constitution.

Read the following articles to understand the impact of climate change on South Africa and the South African youth.