Climate Change and Refugees: Not my trash but my new home (school)

Mariella Fernandes, ESL, Whitewater Middle School

Curriculum Unit (PDF)


This curriculum unit will provide opportunities for all students and teachers to learn about climate refugee students in their midst and the contributions they bring to the country. Immigrant students in our school will be given the opportunity to share their personal stories related to
immigration. The stories will be recorded with StoryCorps. Stories form an important aspect of sharing and participating within cultures. The immigration stories will explain the reasons why many children flee from their countries to the United States. The stories will open a discussion space as resident students get a chance to compare their personal stories of migration across the country with those who arrived from outside the U.S., especially those from Central America. The children usually embark on very risky journeys, trying to save their own lives from the terror of violence, gangs, poverty and most recently climate change. To build empathy and an understanding of the complex nature of immigration, it is important that all students understand the different reasons for children to
immigrate and their journeys. As teachers, we have heard their brave and amazing journeys and they need to be shared with their classmates, community, and the world. The stories can foster empathy for immigrants, especially in the recent anti-immigrant “Build the Wall” climate in the country. Given that the nation was built by immigrants, all students should hear and engage with these stories when we can compare your own journeys and challenges and learn that everyone, immigrants and
non-immigrants, are seeking for a place to call home.