Climate change and religiosity: An international cross-curriculum comparison of school-based messages about human-earth relationships 2021-2022

The research project is partially funded by the Global Education Network Europe (GENE), European Educational Research Association (EERA), March 2021 – July 2022

Projects teams

The Finland team is based at the Faculty of Education and Culture, Tampere University, Finland

  • Dr. Vera G. Centeno, team leader, Senior Researcher
  • Santeri Sorsa, M.A., Research Assistant

The German team is based at the Chair of Foundations in Education, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Germany

  • Dr. Susanne Ress, project leader and team leader, Senior Researcher and Coordinator of the International Master’s Program “Educational Quality in Developing Countries”
  • Evi Plötz, M.A., Doctoral Researcher
  • Paula Conradt, Student Aid

The Ghana & Malawi team is based at the Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

  • Professor Nancy Kendall, team leader, Head of Department and Director of the Development Studies Program


Project Objective 1:
To contribute to a more holistic understanding of global environmental education

Climate change remains one of the most threatening challenges faced by humanity in the 21st century. Especially youth need to be prepared to deal with the consequences of climate change and to contribute to a sustainable and environment friendly living. This is a matter of protecting the environment and global social justice. Thus, Learning for Sustainability and Global Learning are crucial tasks for education today. Yet most of the environmental education research is focused on industrialized countries, missing the heterogeneity of lived experiences of environmental change around the world. Even fewer studies have offered comparisons across contexts where students’ experiences are vastly different.

Project Objective 2:
To understand the role of religiosity on environmental education

Research shows that personal worldviews are at the core of individuals perception of reality, and young people refer to religious beliefs, among other things, in their value-related decisions. A special focus of the project will be set on the ways in which faith-based worldviews and religiosity play a role in textbook messages about human earth-relationship.

Project Objective 3:
Foster an Interdisciplinary Dialogue on Global Environmental Education

The project intends to foster learning about a plurality of worldviews including different religious perspectives. This requires an interdisciplinary dialogue between faith-based and secular education actors about how to best integrate a plurality of ontological and epistemological worldviews into environmental education, especially how religiosity and faith-based perceptions of human-earth relationships can help encourage environment-friendly behaviors among youth in Europe and other world regions.


Sites selection and focus of the analysis:
The project examines 8th-grade textbook messages about climate and environmental change and human-earth relationships across subjects (e.g., natural sciences, social sciences, religious and ethical studies) in Ghana, Malawi, Germany, and Finland.


Software-assisted qualitative content analysis using multi-person open and closed coding