Climate change fire education

Addressing the climate crisis and bushfires in the classroom


Perspectives: February, 2020

This summer was defined by the tragic bushfires which took lives, homes, businesses, huge tracts of bushland, and a staggering amount of wildlife. Few students will have escaped this confronting news and the surrounding conversations about climate change. In the aftermath, students may be looking to you, their teachers, for more information and perhaps even some inspiration to make a difference.

So what resources are available?

For schools in fire danger areas, education around readiness can be empowering, and there are appropriate resources from the Red Cross, and the Country Fire Authority in Victoria. The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has resources covering a range of topics such as bushfire preparedness, response, and recovery. UNICEF and Better Health each offer guidance in communicating with children about the bushfires.

And how about inspiring students to shape a better future? The documentary 2040 models a positive, pro-active approach to the challenges facing people and the planet. The film gives young people a voice and engages with creative, pragmatic and entrepreneurial thinkers from across the globe striving for a cleaner, more sustainable future. ATOM’s comprehensive study guide and 2040’s website / digital campaign HQ provides teachers and young people with further information and innovative approaches to the issues raised.

We know school support for the School Strike 4 Climate varies but we think the group’s website and resources provide secondary students with a powerful model for positive action. And finally, this article  reports on the curriculum materials created to support New Zealand schools in approaching issues around climate change with their students, “because kids are already in the conversation about climate change.”  

There will be a number of opportunities for engaging in this important conversation with us at ACMI when we reopen, including joining us for a screening of 2040.

Perspectives reflection: November 2019

Thanks to everyone that completed the November survey about the cinema debate Martin Scorsese opened up, and for telling us a little about your resource use in the classroom. A majority of teachers we heard from were Media teachers working with Years 9-12, and opinions varied on whether Scorsese was perhaps out of line equating Marvel films to theme-park rides, with many sitting on the fence. We also asked about digital de-aging techniques seen in Gemini Man (and a number of other films) and whether it spelt the 'death of cinema' to use some extreme wording. Most didn't see it as it is that dire at all, with opinions ranging from indifferent to encouraging. We were also heartened to see teachers telling us they use a range of resources from ATOM, ACMI, ABC Education, and YouTube as well as developing their own bespoke resources for their Media classrooms.