Climate communication and education

There is a need for greater and higher-quality climate communication and education (CCE) in Australia and globally. With escalating climate events around the globe, combined with volatile political landscapes, a rise in populism and evidence denial undermining governmental responsibilities to climate action, CCE is central to countering political and ideological barriers.

The Climate Communication and Education (CCE) theme responds to these contexts. Effective CCE can provide reliable knowledge about climate change effects and mitigation, and also is central to countering denialism and mobilising climate action, both socially and politically. As a relatively new field critical to our climate futures, increased research and collaboration can help advance and share approaches to CCE across sectors and regions.

CCE is recognised as a priority in the UN Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, and is an established area of focus for state, national and intergovernmental policymaking. It is multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional, and draws on the many ways that humans connect with and respond to the climate crisis. Quality CCE incorporates culturally and regionally-specific knowledge, exploring how climate change will be felt in local regions and in daily lives. It is most effective when it addresses both mitigation and adaptation; focusing on concrete and feasible steps and actions. CCE must also address climate justice, and the disproportionate impacts experienced in the Global South, for women, for Indigenous communities and other minorities.

The work developed and shared through the Melbourne Climate Futures CCE theme aims to increase understandings of climate change and further engagement and climate action. If you are interested in becoming involved, or you would like to receive updates from the CCE theme, please contact the theme leads, or subscribe to our mailing list.

Program lead

Professor Marcia McKenzie, Professor of Global Studies and International Education, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Early career researcher co-lead

Stephanie Wescott, Postdoctoral Scholar, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Grants and resources

Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education

Sustainability and Education Policy Network

Projects and Initiatives

  • The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education Project

    The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education Project is an international partnership project that aims to increase the quality and quantity of climate communication and education globally to advance climate literacy and action. The MECCE Project is a partnership of over 100 scholars and organisations, including an Advisory Committee comprised of the IPCC, UNESCO, UNFCCC, and UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report. It provides global data to support country benchmarking, target setting, and progress in quantity of climate communication and education (CCE), as well as enhanced understandings of what constitutes quality CCE.

    Research outcomes so far include 50 Country Profiles of country-level action on CCE, to identify gaps and areas for improvement. The Project has also funded the first phase of 30 Case Studies, to understand quality CCE policy and/or practice in various local, regional and global contexts. MECCE is also working on monitoring and increasing the quantity of CCE, drawing on and developing a range of data sources to support indicator development. To date, the MECCE Project has reviewed over 150 existing data sources that could support global CCE progress monitoring and reporting.

    The MECCE Project’s Regional Hubs offer networking forums in Africa, Australasia, Europe and the Americas. The Hubs meet regularly to get input on Project methods, and to mobilise results and  outputs through regional activities. The MECCE Project’s Interactive Data Platform enables users to analyse and visualise the project’s data.

    Led by Marcia McKenzie and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and partner contributions. Other University of Melbourne team members include Julie McLeod, Jeana Kriewaldt, Rhonda Di Biase, John Quay, Geordie Zhang.

  • Climate Change Policy and Planning in School Education in Victoria

    A new ‘Environmental Sustainability in Schools’ policy for Victorian schools is under development through a research-policy making partnership between the Department of Education and Training (DET) and researchers from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) at the University of Melbourne. The ‘Environmental Sustainability in Schools’ policy will provide support for Victorian schools to advance sustainability and climate change action. The policy builds on the extensive history of sustainability education policy and practice in Victoria, including Sustainability Victoria’s ResourceSmart Schools initiative, and the work of a large network of government and non-government organisations who support Victorian schools to operate more sustainably.

    Led by Marcia McKenzie and funded by a Climate Accelerator Research Grant from Melbourne Climate Futures at the University of Melbourne. Other team members include Julie McLeod, Jeana Kriewaldt, Rhonda Di Biase, Sangeetha Chandra-Shekeran, Ben Neville, Jane Dyson and Rebecca Spratt.

  • Policy Actors and UN Policy Programs on Climate Change Education

    This project aims to better understand and critique, and inform and advance UN intergovernmental organisations’ climate change education policy programs.

    Prominent multilateral UN agreements are giving education policy an unprecedented role of significance in catalysing public support for climate action. This includes through the development of UN policy programs with a focus on climate change education and communication, which will impact policies globally.

    However, it is not always clear what the influences are on these policy programs, such as how particular national governments or/and individual policy actors can shape processes and outcomes. Consensual and transparent decision-making supports UN mandates, and can maximise the quality and effects of the intended policy interventions in addressing climate change.

    By better understanding the influences of policy actors on UN climate change education policy programs, the research aims to contribute to the research literature on intergovernmental organisations, as well as help inform intergovernmental processes aimed at addressing climate change through education.

    Led by Marcia McKenzie and funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Other University of Melbourne team members include Postdoctoral Scholar Stephanie Wescott.

    Read a recent blog post on the project here.

  • Parched

    Parched is an interdisciplinary project that brings together historians, artists, writers and media experts to explore the different cultures of drought in Victoria. How we tell the stories of drought across the state, whose voices are heard (or absent) and how that may be changing.

    Concentrating on four Victorian regions and their NSW borderlands— Mildura, Bendigo, Albury/Wodonga and Shepparton—this project aims to expand our knowledge of how we can better adapt to the environments on which we depend.

    This project will contribute to resources for responding and adapting to the impacts of environmental change on rural and regional centres, and involve the wider community through a public program of collaboration with regional galleries, media, and community organisations. Over fifty oral history interviews will result in an oral history archive to be loved with the State Library of Victoria.

    Funded under the Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative. Team members include Linden Ashcroft from The University of Melbourne, and Katie Holmes, Lawrie Zion, Sue Martin, Jacqueline Millner, Thomas H. Ford, Karen Twigg and Rochelle Schoff from La Trobe University.

  • SWISP

    Speculative Wanderings in Space and Place (SWISP) is a community of interdisciplinary practitioners working in the fields of speculative a/r/tography, digital creativities, digital childhoods, digital methods, digital education, and digital scholarships in the humanities, arts and social sciences. SWISP seeks to speculate as activist a/r/tographers about reparative futures in the midst of climate collapse. We entangle our research pathways in this collective to pose questions, break, disrupt and wander with/in multigenerational connected communities.

    In the face of an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, SWISP asks:  

    1. What are the knowledges, practices and relationships that can address the climate challenges of our rapidly changing world?

    2. How can researchers, practitioners and activists contribute to a new ecosystem of learning around issues of climate justice and meaningful action?

    3. What do we, as a community, need to do to transform education, policy and practice for our climate futures?

    Reserachers: Kate Coleman and Sarah Healy.

  • Climate Superpowers

    The Climate Superpowers website was created with and for children and young people along with researchers from the University of Melbourne, as a strengths-based resource supporting children and young people to share their wisdom and creativity in dealing with climate change. The concept of the seven ‘climate superpowers’ was adapted from an established community development approach known as the Community Capitals Framework (CCF)1. The CCF had previously been successfully adapted as a strengths-based, holistic framework for disaster recovery underpinning the multi-award-winning, evidence-based Recovery Capitals resources.

    In recognition of the need for strengths-based resources to help children and young people navigate the challenges of climate change, including feelings of hopelessness and eco-anxiety, this project was initiated to explore the utility of adapting the Community Capitals Framework (CCF) to the context of children’s experiences of climate change, and applied a model for co-designing resource with young people developed in the Youth Views project.

    After the initial workshops, the Climate Superpowers website was developed through an iterative process of feedback amongst the researchers, young co-designers and the young artist engaged to produce artwork for the website. The resulting website consists of a quiz which generates a profile of the user’s climate superpowers, and then directs them to a set of ‘secret missions’ they can take on using their superpowers. The missions are based on the workshop data, and are presented in four categories: learning about climate change, self-care, everyday actions and transforming society.

    This project was funded by a Climate Research Accelerator Grant from Melbourne Climate Futures at the University of Melbourne. Led by University of Melbourne researchers Phoebe Quinn and Katitza Marinkovic Chavez, with advisory support from Dianne Vella-Brodrick, Janet Stanley, Lisa Gibbs, Karen Block and Claire Leppold.

  • Reading Climate

    Addressing the climate crisis in education requires interdisciplinary approaches that reflect the urgency and scope and scale of the situation. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander narratives provide new perspectives on interactions with Country, climate change, facilitating reader engagement with Indigenous knowledge and perspectives. While Indigenous writers’ contributions to understandings of climate are well documented, and the power of story to impact on understandings of significant environmental issues is well established, Indigenous writing remains significantly underrepresented in Australia’s secondary school and tertiary curricula. This project brings into dialogue Indigenous authors, interdisciplinary scholars, English teachers and students through book clubs and public events.

    Funded by the University of Melbourne, The Melbourne Graduate School of Education and Stella. Led by Larissa McLean-Davies and Sarah E. Truman from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.

  • Live.magicc.org

    MAGICC is a climate model that converts emissions pathways into temperatures in order to communicate climate impacts to the public. With a long history over 30 years, MAGICC was developed by many individuals across the globe, and is affiliated with numerous institutes. The model has been used in IPCC ARC, IEA WEO 2021 and the UNEP GAP Report.

    The MAGIC development team has been working hard to bring MAGICC open-source in the near future. This effort comes as part of ESM2025, a European research project funded by the European Commission's H2020 programme. There are a number of other research projects in the works which couple to, extend or use MAGICC.

    MAGICC is described in Meinshausen et al, (2011), with updates in Meinshausen et al. (2020). As the team are working on more up to date descriptions, stay tuned and look out for upcoming papers by Nicholls et al. or Meinshausen et al.

    University of Melbourne researchers include Rebecca Burdon, Malte Meinshausen, Jared Lewis, Zebedee Nicholls, Alister Self.

  • Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Change Communication and Education (MECCE) Project Interactive Data Platform (IDP)

    In November 2022, the MECCE Project launched an Interactive Data Platform (IDP), with the support of the University of Melbourne’s MDAP team, in conjunction with COP27. The IDP is an online interactive tool designed to support countries to benchmark and target-set on climate communication and education (CCE), otherwise known as Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE). The platform will provide data and stories of CCE to help increase the quantity of quality CCE globally. The IDP is a way to explore CCE and ACE global nine global indicators, 50 country profiles, and case studies, as described below. The Interactive Data Platform is possible thanks to an ongoing collaboration with the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform and the University of Melbourne’s eResearch Group.

  • Upcoming Events

    ▪ SWISP has an upcoming Festival of ideas which will be held over 3 days (21-23 November) at studioFive (UNITWIN partner and UNESCO Observatory of the Arts) in Melbourne, with the 4th day (27 November) being at the University of South Australia (preceding the AARE 2022 Conference) in Adelaide. There is also a call for papers open now.