RCE Waikato - 2019


C/- 3 George St, Thorndon,
New Zealand
Student Leadership for Low Carbon Action through Education
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Student Leadership for Low Carbon Action through Education
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Waikato
Contributing organization(s) : 
The following are collaborators with RCE Waikato
Response Trust
Generation Zero
Climate Challenge
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
RCE Waikato
Organizational Affiliation: 
Response Trust
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Additional resources: 
Project Documents uploaded below
Zero Carbon Act
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Just Transitions
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
New Zealand
Address of focal point institution for project: 
C/- 3 George St, Thorndon,
This project os on climate change education empowerment for low carbon policy
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
The focus of this project is on empowering students as leaders to achieve stronger action on climate change in education, community practices and policy. The students are seeking improvements in climate change education and in professional development for teachers. Related environmental issues include land use change, waste, agriculture practices and water pollution.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Climate change education in New Zealand is fragmented, poorly integrated across the formal curriculum, and fails to engage students.
Sustainable Development challenges include the need to integrate climate change into the curriculum, along with systemic approaches to climate change, both for mitigation and adaptation. They relate to SDG 4 and 13.
The project is initiates student led events for teachers to strengthen experiential learning and the integration of climate change knowledge across curriculum disciplines. The challenge includes preparation, ultimately, for study in higher education, vocational training and work to contribute to sustainable production and consumption
January, 2019
Three key partner are collaborating for this project:
•RCE Waikato with Response Trust is convening the collaboration and animating the project planning by involving stakeholder groups from the formal and informal climate education sector. With students as the key leaders, we are bringing NGO's, academics, teachers, policy leaders together to engage in strengthening climate change education. Collaboration is to enable planning to support and expand the achievement of student goals. The project builds on 2 years of previous organizing (including a stakeholder symposium in 2018) with academics and stakeholders to influence policy. Collaborative meetings are breaking silos and enabling joint planning.

*Generation Zero is supporting the "Youth For Youth" initiative called the Climate Challenge, which has the following goals:
- Educate - young people about the issues they face and what they can do about them
- Empower - young people with the skills and resources they need to be leaders in their communities
- Connect - young people with their passionate peers, people who can support them and the leaders of New Zealand
- Activate - young people in their communities. Support their sustained actions and change-making

*The Climate Challenge. Climate Challenge is a secondary school student organization. It is fully student-led organisation, adhering to four philosophies:
- Leadership for all - We believe that every young person should have the opportunity to grow their leadership potential.
- Youth For Youth - We believe that youth can teach, empower and inspire their peers in a way that no-one else can, and should be supported to do so.
- Applied learning - We believe that learning should be engaging, applied, and fun! Only so much can be learned at a desk.
- Te Ao Māori - We are committed to highlighting and supporting indigenous youth to sustain indigenous culture and worldviews.
1. Empowerment of secondary school students to lead advocacy for climate justice in education
2. Identify contributors to climate change education in schools and communities
3. Strengthen collaboration between the multiple sectors involved: informal, NGO's, education and enterprise, researchers and academics, local government
4. Deliver student led forums for teachers
5. Facilitate collaboration and engagement with diverse contributors, and offers coherence with provision for diverse interests in climate learning and education.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
1. 'Climate Challenge' - Annual regional Student conferences . Organization of student Strikes4Climate. The Climate Challenge is now in its fourth year of hosting annual student-led climate conferences. These are attended by hundreds of students across New Zealand's three largest cities. The Climate Challenge is also collaborating with teachers and educational providers to develop educational climate programmes and materials that reflect the goals and philosophies above.
2. Mentoring - Generation Zero has a mentoring role with 'Climate Challenge' is a Youth led climate organization which is committed to systemic change, including through legislation.
3. Networking - with learning, sharing resources across multiple organizations. Resources include learning resources and financial contributions.

The project aligns with Generation Zero's wider work on informal community education and political engagement by youth around climate change issues.
Size of academic audience: 
30 - 50
The Climate Challenge students organized remarkably well supported national rallies with highly successful communications strategies to advocate for climate education in the curriculum. This is supported by teachers, NGO's and political leaders.

At this point of the collaborative process the core team met prior to and following the student rallies. We have held a stakeholder and a planning meeting with preliminary organization of a student led event for teachers. A teacher-hosted student conference is to be held in May. A larger stakeholder meeting is planned for June.
Lessons learned: 
The key lesson learnt to-date is the importance of designing initiatives which involve student-leadership and/or empower young people to engage with climate change issues through active learning, leadership opportunities, and community collaboration. This means ensuring students are involved throughout the conception, development and implementation process of the educational initiative.
Key messages: 
Climate change is a long-term problem which will disproportionately impact young and future generations. The empowerment of young people needs to be at the very heart of educational systems that will drive the transition to an equitable low carbon society.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
RCE Waikato is engaging with Just Transitions. This involves a lead government agency, Council of Trade Unions, Generation Zero and the Churches Climate Justice Network.
RCE Waikato is also involved with research on water law, which includes the interface between climate change and freshwater.
Funding for the Climate Education collaboration is through a NZ foundation (Working Together More).
Climate Challenge with Generation Zero is funded through the NZ National Commission for UNESCO


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon Parliamt Strike4.jpeg (392.99 KB) Students at Parliament Betsan Martin
Image icon Collaborators 25March19.JPG (1.79 MB) Collaborators meet Betsan Martin
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level