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Let's Talk Climate Justice

It was until 2022 that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledged colonialism as a historical driver of the climate crisis and an amplifier of community vulnerability today. Climate injustice is not a natural phenomenon; economic growth in the Global North is responsible for this and is “in terms of emissions and resource use playing out along colonial lines” (Hickel, 2021). Various studies indicate that growth limits are reached. How to prepare future managers for a post-growth era while the neoliberal capitalist paradigm of unlimited economic growth still forms the foundation of business studies? 

Cooling down the business schools

This generation of students will face up to seven times more extreme climate-related events over their lifetime than people born in the ’60. Climate change exacerbates existing and historical inequalities and reinforces, feeds, and develops the “economic, social, and racial conditions that formed the foundation of colonialism” (Hartnett, 2021, p.2). The desire for economic growth reveals a historical injustice trail that continues and reproduces injustice (Hickel, 2021). There is increasing attention to climate change in education, but climate justice is not always a part of it. Moreover, how to teach climate education is contested, and little is known about the emotions regarding climate injustice among business students and teachers. So let’s talk about climate justice and shape effective strategies on how to teach climate justice in business education.

Let's Take Action

This website aims to start the dialogue about teaching climate justice in business education by sharing the results of a narrative study on business students’ and teachers’ perceptions, emotions, and need for support regarding climate justice (education). Moreover, to keep the dialogue going, invite teachers and students to contribute to this dialogue and contribute to the academic debate on how to shape effective climate education in business schools. Read more about the study results, learn how your peers deal with climate emotions in the classroom, and use the vignettes to start a dialogue on how to effectively shape climate justice education in co-creations with your students and colleagues.

Results of the study

Most teachers in the study only talk about climate change or climate justice if there is a reason to do so. Starting a conversation about climate change feels awkward or political for most of them. Even if they do not talk spontaneously about climate, they emphasize the need for dialogue about climate education. They need the dialogue because of the struggle with their positionality. And learn from their colleagues.

How to deal with (climate) emotions?

How to respond personally and socially to climate change is contested and has implications for implementing Climate Change Education (CCE) into the curriculum (Oberman & Martinez Sainz, 2021). Educational research demonstrates the importance of taking emotions into account in lessons on climate change; the way teachers can do so is the subject of debate.

Climate justice education: what is the need for support?

Some respondents, mostly young professionals, feel the need to be equipped to deal with emotions; therefore, they avoid discussing issues that bring up emotions. They feel they need more knowledge about climate change and climate justice and that this knowledge will help them prepare better for their classes and the emotions that come with the topic.

Let's Talk

One of the study’s findings was that addressing climate change and climate justice can be challenging, especially in an environment where you feel that not everyone cares. We will share stories, vignettes, and blogs that may provide you with some inspiration and the strength to keep moving on. We hope the vignettes we share will support you in starting and sustaining the dialogue about climate justice in the classroom and the institution’s lunchroom. If you have a story or examples of how you handle climate justice and climate emotions in your classes, please contact me:

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