State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Project Will Survey Organizations Active in Climate Communication and Education

teacher and boy look at a globe in a classroom
Photo: Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Education and communication are important tools for addressing climate change. To find out more about organizations that work in these fields, what they do, and how they operate, the Center for Sustainable Futures at Teachers College, Columbia University, is conducting a survey.

The International Survey of Climate Communication and Education Organizations (CCEOs) will be the first international survey that gives a voice to frontline organizations advancing climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience through education, training and public awareness. The survey asks organizations worldwide — including non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, K-12 educational systems, higher and postsecondary education institutions, museums and parks, and corporations — about their services and programming; their challenges; their networks and collaborations; and various other leadership, management and workplace issues. This is not an assessment, but a self-reported survey.

Why do we need this survey?

Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognizes the role of education, training and public awareness in reducing the impacts of climate change on society. More recently, the UNFCCC expanded this work through the Action for Climate Empowerment initiative, with the over-arching goal to “empower all members of society to engage in climate action.” In many countries, including the US, this goal is achieved by the work of many different organizations. Unfortunately, we know very little about these organizations. The survey will provide the first-ever directory of these organizations with insights into the trends and patterns that characterize these organizations.

action for climate empowerment graphic
The United Nations highlights education and public awareness as key elements to empowering people to take action on climate change. Source: UNFCCC Action for Climate Empowerment

The main objective of the project is to document the services and programs that CCEOs provide, and to discern patterns based on the social context in which they operate. Specifically, this project will address the following questions:

  1. How many CCEOs are there?
  2. What do CCEOs do? What kind of services do they offer and to whom?
  3. What are the strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and needs of CCEOs?
  4. To what extent does the work of CCEOs vary across different social contexts (e.g., regions and countries with more or less climate change impact)?
  5. What is the structure of the field of CCEOs? What is the shape of the organizational network? What factors explain the structure of the network?

Quick facts about the survey

  • The questionnaire is administered online and its completion requires 20 minutes.
  • We ask that the survey be completed as fully as possible by the director of the organization or by the person most knowledgeable about the organization.
  • Based on the survey responses, we will publish the first-ever international directory of organizations active in the field of climate communication and education, with basic information on each organization — specifically the name, location, year of establishment, and programs and services. The web-based directory and data set will be available for free, with search and filtering functions.
  • We will also develop a written report and prepare publications in peer-review journals. In these publications, to protect the participants’ confidentiality, the names as well as any other identifying information about participants will be omitted.
  • If you have any questions about the questionnaire, you may contact Oren Pizmony-Levy, at or +1-212-278-3180 or WhatsApp +1-812-219-0826.

How can you (readers of State of the Planet) help?

  1. Complete the survey if your organization is active in the field of climate communication and education.
  2. Share the blog and the link to the survey with your networks.
  3. Post the link to the survey on your social media. If possible, tag @TCSustainable so we can answer any question people have about the survey.

Who is behind this project?

  • The survey is conducted by the Center for Sustainable Futures at Teachers College, Columbia University. The center’s mission is to “explore new ways to transform education through original research and the exchange of ideas to empower all people to solve global and local environmental challenges.”
  • The research team for this project includes:
    • Principle investigator: Oren Pizmony-Levy, an associate professor of international and comparative education at Teachers College. Trained as a sociologist, Oren’s research looks into the interaction between social movements and education.
    • Project manager: Erika Kessler, a doctoral candidate in the International and Comparative Education Program at Teachers College. Erika’s dissertation explores youth climate activism.
    • The team also includes several master’s students from different academic programs at Teachers College.
  • The survey is the outcome of a collaboration between three organizations:
  • The study is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Partnership Grant No. 895-2020-1019), the Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education Project, and the North American Association for Environmental Education.
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