Climate Change: Tending Our Planet Group Guide

Volume VII, Number III

Today, climate change is everywhere. Not only on the news, but right outside our front doors. We watch politicians discuss solutions, teachers explain the science, and activists try to spur action, but what do kids think and feel? After all, our planet is their legacy. KidSpirit contributors from around the world took on the daunting topic of climate change with grace and curiosity, trepidation and hope.

1. In the co-written Feature “Our Warming Climate,” eight kids from New Zealand to New York respond to the climate change crisis with short essays. Their pieces employ a variety of approaches — one writer examines the science of climate change, another tells a story of a devastating flood in her country, and a third references the famous story “The Giving Tree” as a way for us to appreciate the earth for its many gifts. What are your thoughts on building a more sustainable future? Spend a few minutes writing a response and then share your notes with a friend or group. Compare the ways you thought about tackling the problem. Were you thinking about technology or parables, science or true stories? How does your approach differ from your friends'? How is it similar?

2. Maria Christian, a KidSpirit writer from Maine, addresses the Big Question: “What is Our Relationship to the Earth?” Maria ponders life and death, concluding, “Where there is violence and evil, in the cracks of concrete, a flower grows.” Maria’s piece touches on the “dual nature of man,” as she puts it. Read her Big Question article and look for the contrasting ideas she brings up: birth and decay, good and evil, just to name a few. Pick your favorite pair of contrasting ideas, and use them as the basis for a short free-verse poem or haiku. Share with a friend!

3. Acclaimed environmental author and educator Bill McKibben writes the issue’s PerSpectives column. His piece “Our Human Inheritance” is about his lifelong commitment to stave off climate change. “I’ve spent most of my life working on this crisis,” says McKibben, “because I think the world we were born into is so beautiful.” Do you feel committed to a particular topic or cause? Spend a few minutes sharing your feelings about committing to a cause with a friend or your group. What do you believe in passionately?