Climate change is remaking the world, and the future will look very different from our lives today. Check out these resources for talking about climate change with kids.
Let’s face it, talking about the climate change crisis with kids isn’t easy. As a parent, contemplating melting polar ice caps and burning Siberian wildfires can often lead to a paralysing sense of guilt and despair over the state of the world that our children will inherit. But, at the same time, talking about climate change with kids may be one of the most important things we can do to help. It is, after all, today’s children who will be the adult decision makers confronting the challenges of climate change. And there is no time to lose.
Natural hazards such as droughts, storms, landslides, and wildfires, many of which are the result of climate change, are intensifying. Temperatures are rising, getting more extreme every day. Because of this, parents need to be able to explain—in an age appropriate way—to children what is happening in the world around them. For older kids, parents can also provide basic training in disaster risk reduction and encourage them to act as role models to others in their communities.
Nevertheless, none of this is easy dinner table conversation, so it can be hard to know where to begin as parents. Check out these resources from fellow Hong Kong residents for talking about climate change with kids.
Talking about climate change with kids
COPE is a series of beautifully illustrated not-for-profit story books, aimed to increase the disaster resilience of children. Covering natural hazards ranging from floods to earthquakes, wildfires to cyclones, the books provide coping tools, preparedness and relatable stories in an imaginative and easy to understand way. COPE was created in 2018 by Hong Kong author Martha Keswick, award-winning illustrator Mariko Jesse, and global disaster risk reduction expert, Dr Timothy Sim.
COPE’s newest book deals with an important topic – droughts. Droughts and water scarcity are expected to become much more frequent in the future and affect many countries. Climate change has increased the possibility of water shortages all over the world, while water consumption has risen significantly in the past few decades. COPE´s book Droughts was written to help children better understand these issues, teaching them how to play a vital role in water conservation.
The story presented in COPE´s book about droughts is set in China, where the COPE squad sees the devastating effects of a long period without rainfall in Yunnan Province. Kids can learn alongside the COPE squad as Grand mistress Fu teaches them all about droughts, the impact it has in farming in different communities, and how to preserve water during a drought.
Parents can download and read the COPE book series free of charge with their children.
In addition to being the author of The Green Dragon series, Suzanne Younan is also the founder of the Green Dragons HK, a dragon boat community dedicated to reducing single-use plastic. Originally from the UK, Suzanne moved to Hong Kong in 2015 with her husband and son and has been paddling in Hong Kong waters since 2016 with the AWA Globe Paddlers out of Stanley. Appalled by the devastating effects of Typhoon Hato in 2017, she resolved to do something about the plastic pollution on Hong Kong’s beaches and coastline and rallied fellow paddlers and water sports enthusiasts to the cause.
Suzanne also realised that educating youngsters was key, so she created the appealing characters in The Green Dragon series to convey a message of how refusing and reducing plastic waste in small steps can make a big difference. The Green Dragon series includes three books that follow the adventures of Willy, the green dragon, and his wild animal friends in Hong Kong as they deal with plastic pollution and the destruction of natural habitats. The books are aimed at children of all ages and the first book in the series has a brief educational section at the back to foster discussion about how to take action in the home, school or community in general.
Learn more about the The Green Dragon book series.
Looking for more books to spark family conversations about climate change and beyond? Look no further than reBooked, the second hand children’s bookstore founded by then-15-year-old student Bailey Cherry in 2019. As a nonprofit social enterprise dedicated to promoting a circular economy for pre-loved books in Hong Kong, reBooked is redirecting used books away from landfills and giving them a new home.
Bailey started reBooked to pass on much-loved children’s titles to other book lovers in Hong Kong. As her family’s bookshelves continued to overflow with great children’s titles, they hesitated to hand them over to out-of-the-way secondhand shops. Instead, Bailey saw a gap in the market for a convenient way for families to donate—and find!—used books all year round. The store is now Hong Kong’s biggest bookstore for secondhand English language children’s books.
Learn more about reBooked.
Elodie Lambotte, a 13-year old international school student from Hong Kong, was appointed the Honorary Youth Ambassador for EcoMatcher in December 2021. The role is designed to foster cooperation between corporations and younger generations working to address the climate crisis. Based in Hong Kong and founded by Hong Konger Bas Fransen, EcoMatcher is a Certified B Corporation that plants trees for global organizations.
Elodie, originally from Belgium, is passionate about sustainability and has purchased her own trees on the EcoMatcher website. As a talented ventriloquist, she made a video with her orangutan puppet, Jack, to raise awareness of sustainability with other kids.
“I respect and admire young climate activists around the world, but I have a different approach,” says Elodie. “I want people to listen, but I do it by making them laugh, smile, and feel climate change is possible if we just all take a few steps together. So, I made the video with Jack to represent biodiversity. Through the video, I want to express how young people and animals have a dream about a brighter and greener future and hope that company leaders get inspired and take action.”
Learn more about EcoMatcher.