April 22 is Earth Day, and this global event is a great opportunity to have discussions about environmental issues with your students. An added bonus is that environmental literacy can help students advance in key areas like language development and critical thinking skills. However, incorporating environmental topics into their subject areas can sometimes be challenging for educators.
To that end, we’ve compiled a list of debate topics from our extensive library of Kialo Templates that focus on climate-related issues. Although we have loosely grouped them by subject area, these templates are adaptable to different classes and grade levels. You’re certain to find something that gets students thinking critically about this planetary problem!
Science and health education discussion topics
Climate issues can sometimes seem distant from students’ lives. This discussion on whether home vegetable gardens should be encouraged can build on students’ prior experience with school gardening projects or discussions of healthy lifestyles. It also deals with important questions about food production and climate in a way that is easily accessible to younger students.
Looking for a way to ignite student curiosity about climate solutions in your science class? With a meatball grown from woolly mammoth DNA recently making headlines, this is a great time to explore our discussion on lab-grown meat’s effectiveness in combating climate change. This would be a perfect accompaniment to students who have been discussing cell biology or the impacts of animal agriculture on the climate.
Art and design discussion topics
Art is often a form of protest. Recently, it has also become the target of protest, with climate activists defacing famous artworks to draw attention to their cause. This discussion asks whether such actions are meaningful or counterproductive, and it taps into a wider discussion on the best strategies for social movements to effect change.
For students studying aspects of design, construction, or urban planning, why not discuss whether it’s possible to build cities that don’t harm the environment? This discussion is aimed at older students, and you can use it to spark interest or build on previously learned knowledge about green technologies.
Business studies and economics discussion topics
Our discussion template on whether or not governments should continue subsidizing animal farming is graded for younger students, but it could easily be adapted for a higher-level business or economics class. Encourage older students to provide evidence for their claims, and turn this discussion into an opportunity for student research on this important topic.
Social studies and human geography discussion topics
The reality of man-made climate change raises a number of important ethical considerations, perfect for social studies and civics classes. This discussion on the ethics of having fewer children for environmental reasons deals with issues of population growth, human rights, and personal responsibility.
As the topic of adaptation to climate change becomes more prevalent, this discussion presents an opportunity to debate the ethics of relocating people from coastlines. This discussion will be particularly relevant to the many students living in coastal areas, or those from island nations.
Create your own Kialo Edu discussion for Earth Day
You can debate an issue covered in class, or something specific to your locality. We have handy guides on crafting a great class debate and creating prompts that are sure to get your students interested, engaged, and expressing themselves.
This Earth Day, let us help you hold rich, meaningful discussions on the key issues facing our planet.