Collage image of classroom discussion and coal power plant.
School & District Management Series

The Climate Crisis and Schools

Schools are already suffering the consequences of climate change. Wildfires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are devastating school communities and forcing children out of the classroom, setting back learning, and triggering mental stress. Yet schools have a sizable climate footprint of their own. They produce emissions equivalent to 18 coal-fired power plants, as well as a significant amount of waste, including paper products, plastic, and food.

Experts say the nation’s public schools must take an active role in efforts to address the climate crisis. Schools can educate the next generation of citizens about the changing climate and take action to reduce their own emissions and waste. In this ongoing series, Education Week will examine that critical task—and highlight solutions already in play.

Global warming illustration, environment pollution, global warming heating impact concept. Change climate concept.
Collage by Gina Tomko/Education Week and iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management From Our Research Center Nearly Half of Educators Say Climate Change Is Affecting Their Schools—or Will Soon
Most educators said their school districts have not taken any action to prepare for more severe weather, a new survey finds.
Arianna Prothero, May 23, 2022
6 min read
Haley Williams, left, and Amiya Cox hold a sign together and chant while participating in a "Global Climate Strike" at the Experiential School of Greensboro in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. Across the globe hundreds of thousands of young people took the streets Friday to demand that leaders tackle climate change in the run-up to a U.N. summit.
Haley Williams, left, and Amiya Cox participate in a Global Climate Strike at the Experiential School of Greensboro in Greensboro, N.C., in September 2019.
Khadejeh Nikouyeh/News & Record via AP
School & District Management What Schools Can Do to Tackle Climate Change (Hint: More Than You Think)
For starters, don't assume change is too difficult.
Mark Lieberman, May 18, 2022
7 min read
Composite image of school building and climate change protestors.
Illustration by F. Sheehan/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty and E+)
School & District Management 'It Has to Be a Priority': Why Schools Can't Ignore the Climate Crisis
Schools have a part to play in combating climate change, but they don't always know how.
Mark Lieberman, May 18, 2022
16 min read