ClimatiZENs: Past climates for future citizens

The AGORA project “ClimatiZENs” has been funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and will be implemented with colleagues from the Department of Earth Sciences and the AniMuse team as of September 1, 2020.

While understanding planet earth and its climate is at the heart of any climate action (UN Sustainable Development Goal SDG-13), we identify a pronounced gap in Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) education in the curriculum of secondary school pupils (12-18) of the larger Geneva region. The ClimatiZENs project thus aims to develop a set of EES educational tools for high-school pupils so as to provide them sufficient science-based background to address the topic of global climate change as informed citizens. The project consists of classroom modules, field excursions aimed at enhancing the youngsters’ interest in natural observations and promoting the collection of data for a citizen science project, an outreach module at UniGE for pupils and the broad public, as well as a teach-the-teachers module. Active dialogue between researchers, pupils and teachers will be essential for each of these actions. The approach of the project consists in documenting and learning about “facts from the past”: the traces that past climate changes have left in geological archives for us to uncover and analyze. Rather than directly addressing the difficult question of predicting the impact of future climate change with very large uncertainties, we will look at the concrete narratives left in geological records as they provide a vital and powerful component to the cultural adoption of climate change understanding, thus enabling future citizens to comprehend the debates and perhaps invent new solutions.