Climate Change Education Trends in Canadian Post-secondary Educational Institutions (PSIs)

  • Ana Maria MartinezEmail author
  • Steve Alsop


Taking into consideration (1) the extent to which climate change impacts humans (and non-humans) globally; (2) the continuous political discussions around this issue; and (3) claims that post-secondary educational institutions (PSIs) make through their mission statements in regards to their roles within societies, this research sought to explore climate change curricula responses in Canadian PSIs. Specifically, this paper presents an analysis of climate change curricula in 225 Canadian PSIs, focusing on the academic year (2014–15). Three key terms are used to identify course syllabi: “climate change,” “global warming,” and “greenhouse gases or GHGs.” Our analysis codes syllabi (N = 562) into Tiers-of-Concentration and Streams according to area/discipline of concentration (technical/scientific, managerial, environmental/sociological, economics, policy/governance). Gathered data reveals a series of trends, including: (i) a relative paucity of courses with climate change focus; (ii) an emphasis on scientific/technical aspects of climate change, and (iii) complex relationships between provincial and institutional policies and climate change curricula practices. We conclude discussing implications of these trends for higher education theory and practice.


Climate change Curriculum Post-secondary educational institutions Canada 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Environmental StudiesYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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