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  • Climate change is an incredibly complex wicked problem that links environmental issues with human wellbeing, the economy, and local and global politics.

    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    Climate change concept cartoon

    This concept cartoon presents some of the viewpoints people might hold regarding the impacts of climate change on ecosystems. Concept cartoons can help people justify ideas and clarify scientific thinking.

    The Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ report that, in Aotearoa, we are already observing changes in our climate. It also reports that there is a growing public desire for Kiwis to do their part to secure a stable climate – for example, the School Strike 4 Climate marches and councils, cities and towns declaring climate emergencies.

    Critical thinking and communication are key aspects when addressing wicked problems in the classroom and in social and whānau settings. This activity uses concept cartoons to encourage conversations about climate change. Concept cartoons put forward a range of viewpoints designed to motivate and engage people and stimulate discussions.

    The concept cartoons presented in this activity are designed for use within the classroom and to support student discussions with whānau and/or others. The cartoons contain viewpoints that:

    • challenge (address) alternative conceptions people may hold regarding climate change
    • challenge communities to recognise the concerns people may be feeling about the impacts of climate change
    • challenge people to take action.

    The activity also includes blank templates for students, teachers or whānau to create their own concept cartoons.

    The article Using concept cartoons provides information about pedagogical methodologies and approaches when using concept cartoons.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • discuss and explore climate change issues in constructive and respectful situations
    • consider other people’s thinking
    • use concept cartoons to share viewpoints with whānau and others within their communities
    • locate information to clarify and support their own thinking.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Related content

    The article Our atmosphere and climate– introduction has links to resources that inform students (and the general public) about the state of New Zealand’s climate.

    Climate change resources – planning pathways provides pedagogical advice and links to the New Zealand Curriculum. It includes an interactive planner that groups Hub resources into key science and teaching concepts.

    Climate change – a wicked problem for classroom inquiry offers suggestions for bite-sized inquiry, reflection and action.

    Using concept cartoons includes suggestions for using concept cartoons in the classroom.

    Useful links

    The Ministry of Education has produced the Climate Change Learning Programme – Teacher Resource and Wellbeing Guide.

    See from NIWA Te Kūwaha – Māori Environmental Research.

    See the 2021 report He huringa āhuarangi, he huringa ao: a changing climate, a changing world from Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga and Manaaki Whenua providing guidance for Te Ao Māori on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

    The Royal Society Te Apārangi Human Health Impacts of Climate Change for New Zealand (PDF) paper describes the human health impacts of climate change for New Zealand.

    The OECD commissioned the 2023 report Agency in the Anthropocene. This easy-to-read report, co-authored by Dr Chris Eames at the University of Waikato, explains the competencies youth need to address local and global challenges in this Anthropocene epoch of human influences on the planet.


    This resource has been produced with the support of the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ. (c) Crown Copyright.

    Rights: Crown copyright

    Our atmosphere and climate 2020

    The Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ produce New Zealand’s Environmental Reporting Series. Our atmosphere and climate 2020 focuses on climate change, with an overview of what is happening to our climate and how this affects many of the things we care about.

      Published 15 October 2020 Referencing Hub articles
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