Scaling up Climate Change Education

October 23, 2019

Climate change poses one of the greatest challenges facing the world today, the impacts of which are particularly pertinent to Hawaiʻi. Addressing climate issues requires an understanding of basic climate science and the sheer scale of the problem.

On October 23, PAAC teamed up with teachers and leadership students at Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA) for one of PAAC’s largest-ever collaborations: a school-wide event featuring six World Climate Simulations conducted simultaneously for the entire middle and upper school. 363 students and 55 teachers took part in the morning event!

The World Climate Simulation is an interactive, role-playing activity that explores international climate change negotiations. Students play the role of delegates representing nations, negotiating blocs, or interest groups. Everyone must work together in their respective roles to reach a global agreement that keeps temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius—the goal of the Paris Agreement.



This simulation is unique because it utilizes C-ROADS, a computer simulator that shows in real time the long-term climate impacts of negotiated policy actions. C-ROADS has even been used by top policy makers at the United Nations to assess the impact of climate policies.

After the simulation students could be seen discussing the simulation with their peers over lunch. According to Jason Shon, PAAC High School Program Director, the simulation does more than just inform about climate change, “Whether it’s frustration, anger, or perhaps the satisfaction that comes with striking a mutually beneficial agreement, students will remember this experience most because of what it made them feel.”

For some time, PAAC has been bringing interactive activities like the World Climate Simulation directly to schools. Since 2017, PAAC has facilitated 35 simulations on climate change, food security, and refugees, reaching over 2,200 students. Mahalo to HPA for their outstanding enthusiasm, dedication, and organization.