age people to take action to mitigate impacts of climate change. Bottom-up processes include building momentum by engaging communities and utilizing networks to extend community efforts.
On the topic of funding, some participants suggested that more funding sources need to be encouraged to support climate change education efforts. In addition, some suggested that funding agencies learn how to finance programs that encourage people to make investments that yield long-term benefits—such as equipping homes with solar panels. Funding programs could lead to wider use of solar panels, reducing consumption of fossil fuels over the long term.
Some breakout group participants expressed the view that climate change education programs are more like to succeed and grow if education organizations create partnerships in the community they are targeting. For example, the green schools movement grew by establishing local partnerships that brought individuals and organizations together to address shared concerns about school improvement, energy consumption, and other local issues. In considering which programs should be scaled up, people said, it is important to first understand which ones are most effective. Although many participants were skeptical about using standard evaluation methods to measure the effectiveness of climate change education programs, they thought that the field needs evidence to inform the design of strategies and programs. Developing such evidence will require program evaluations, including careful thought about expected goals and outcomes. Climate change educators could also draw on the existing research on climate change education and on public education campaigns more generally.
Finally, many of the breakout groups discussed the difficulty of sharing or finding out about successful programs, practices, presentations, messages, or strategies. Participants noted that, although there are many online sites with links to numerous climate change education resources, these sites rarely review the resources or describe what programs have been successful and why. When some participants said that a single clearinghouse with this sort of information would be invaluable, others commented that the National Science Foundation is funding the creation of such a clearinghouse—the Climate Literacy Education Awareness Network (CLEAN) Pathway.7