Nurturing Environmental Stewardship: How to Communicate the Climate Crisis to Children 

By: Ashoke Mohanraj, Author of 'Pollinator Man' and Environmental Advisor to the RCMP

Memories from our younger years represent the great power of storytelling and form the linchpin of communicating with children about the climate crisis. By relating themes of climate action to topics they already know and personifying them through diverse and compelling narratives, we can ensure that we are setting future generations up for success as stewards of the Earth.

In an era where the specter of climate change looms ever larger, the imperative to engage the young generation in understanding and confronting this global crisis has never been more pressing. As adults, we bear the profound responsibility of equipping the next cohort with the knowledge, tools, and values necessary to navigate the challenges imposed by our planet’s shifting climate. Yet, the task of communicating the intricate and often daunting facets of climate change to children is riddled with complexities and nuances, prompting us to confront two pivotal questions: 

Firstly, why is it imperative to communicate the climate crisis to children? 

Secondly, how can we effectively convey the urgency of this crisis without instilling fear or eco-anxiety? 

To explore these questions, let us embark on a journey back to our own childhoods, where memories are often etched with the vivid hues of storytelling. Consider the cherished recollections from your youth—perhaps the exhilaration of a first crush, the triumph of scoring a goal, or the enchantment of a beloved Saturday morning cartoon. Embedded within these memories lies the power of narrative, for humans are inherently wired to retain stories, not just mere facts. It is this intrinsic connection to storytelling that forms the linchpin of communicating the climate crisis. 

During childhood, our minds resemble blank canvases eagerly awaiting the strokes of resonant narratives. Stories not only fill these canvases but also imbue them with enduring values that evolve over time. It comes as no surprise, then, that the most impactful tales are those cherished by both the young and the old, weaving timeless narratives that transcend generations. Think of the iconic sagas of Batman, Barbie, Star Wars, or The Little Mermaid—each captivating audiences of all ages with their compelling stories. 

Children, in their impressionable state, are ripe for lasting influence. Crafting a compelling narrative for a child holds the promise of indelible memory, shaping their worldview and values for years to come. Thus, the answer to why we must communicate the climate crisis to children is unequivocal: to cultivate a lifelong commitment to sustainability. While imparting the nuances of the crisis and avenues for action remains imperative, the initial step is to ignite a spark of interest—a flame that will burn brightly throughout their lives. 

“Children, in their impressionable state, are ripe for lasting influence. Crafting a compelling narrative for a child holds the promise of indelible memory, shaping their worldview and values for years to come”

Ashoke Mohanraj

But how do we ensure that this communication does not overwhelm young minds with eco-anxiety? In my approach to crafting children’s literature, I have distilled several guiding principles: 

Research and Relate: 

Understanding our audience is paramount. By discerning their preferences, interests, and media consumption habits—whether it be the enduring allure of Power Rangers or the whimsical charm of Paw Patrol—we can tailor narratives that resonate deeply. Leveraging familiarity not only captures their attention but also makes the message more accessible and relatable. 

Focus on a Singular Issue: 

Climate change, with its myriad complexities and interconnections, can easily overwhelm even the most seasoned minds. For children, it is imperative to simplify this vast topic into digestible fragments. By breaking down large issues into smaller, more manageable components—for instance, focusing on the plight of individual species rather than the broader ecosystem—we render the topic more comprehensible and actionable. 


Characters serve as the linchpin of storytelling, anchoring abstract concepts and rendering them tangible and relatable. By humanizing the climate crisis through the lens of compelling protagonists, we foster empathy, connection, and emotional resonance. Representation matters; by featuring diverse characters from various backgrounds and walks of life, we enhance relatability and inclusivity, ensuring that every child sees themselves reflected in the narrative. 


Empowering our audience as active participants in the narrative journey fosters a sense of ownership and investment. Rather than merely passive observers, children are invited to step into the shoes of the protagonists, embarking on a journey of discovery, learning, and growth. Breaking the fourth wall, we bridge the gap between fiction and reality, inviting children to become protagonists in their own stories of change and transformation. 

Have an Underlying Mission: 

Beyond merely raising awareness, stories must inspire action and catalyze meaningful change. For me, this entails imbuing each narrative with an underlying mission or moral imperative—a reason for children to care deeply about the issues at hand. Whether it be promoting environmental stewardship, fostering empathy and compassion, or bridging societal divides, every story should convey its personal significance, compelling children to become agents of positive change in their communities and beyond. 

In conclusion, as we navigate the complexities of climate change, it becomes increasingly evident that engaging children in understanding and addressing this crisis is paramount for securing a sustainable future. By harnessing the transformative power of storytelling, we have the opportunity to leave an indelible mark on young minds, instilling values of environmental stewardship, empathy, and activism that will endure for generations to come. Through relatable characters, focused narratives, and active engagement, we can empower children to become the heroes of their own stories, driving positive change in the world. Let us not only communicate the urgency of the climate crisis but also inspire a generation to take meaningful action, ensuring a brighter tomorrow for all.