Activity 4b: The Environment and Human Rights

Another key challenge facing the global community in the 21st century is climate change. The impacts of climate change are many and varied and politicians around the world remain locked in debate about how best to reverse some of our worst impacts on the planet and protect the environment. Two important motivators for action are food security and the spectre of large numbers of ‘climate change refugees’ (also called ‘environmental refugees’). Changing climate patterns, including drought, increasing desertification and extreme weather events mean that crop failure is more likely and more prevalent. Climate change also means that communities living at levels very close to sea level are already being forced to evacuate their communities and homelands.

Here students are introduced to the potential effects of climate change and are asked to research some suggested solutions to these problems. They are also asked to propose their own response. 

Resources Required

e Resources


  1. Use an online search engine, such as Google, to research the issue of climate change refugees. What are the specific human rights challenges; for example, people being denied their right to a ‘homeland’? Type ‘climate change’ and one of the following locations into a search engine to begin your research:

  • Tuvalu

  • Kiribati

  • Carteret Islands

  • Newtok. 

  1. Investigate the Australian Government’s position on climate change. What is the Government doing to support nations affected by climate change? Visit the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency website; nominate one of the Government’s initiatives to report back to the class on.

  2. The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency website lists some actions that can be taken in the fight against climate change. On your own, with a partner or in groups, plan and implement an awareness-raising campaign to alert people about the issue of climate change and how it relates to human rights. You might like to publish your campaign using a website such as edublogs which enables you to upload a range of presentation files including Word documents, images, audio and visual files.


Activity 4a | Activity 4b | Activity 4c

For the teacher | Human Rights Introduction4: How Do We Preserve and Improve Human Rights? 

Overview of activities: Focus Question 4