GUIDE: How to talk to your kids about climate change and out of control fires

As Australians prepare for a nationwide heatwave beginning tomorrow, child rights organisation Plan International Australia is launching a guide to help parents talk with their kids about climate change and out-of-control fires.
The effects of climate change in Australia are visible in our fire seasons, which now begin earlier and end later than usual, with places not typically at risk up in smoke.

In as early as October 2015, homes were destroyed in Lancefield, Victoria. Normally pristine wilderness areas with 1000-year-old trees are up in flames in Tasmania following a climate change super-charged El Nino that’s left parts of the state tinder dry.  

Written by Plan’s climate change expert, Pia Treichel, the guide offers parents simple and practical tips on how to support children who may be distressed by fires, sirens and emergency personnel nearby or news reports on television about out-of-control fires in Australia. 

“Right now, throughout the world, children are feeling the impacts of climate change. They’re watching droughts affect their families’ livelihoods and more powerful and frequent typhoons and cyclones destroy whole communities, and children here in Australia are not immune. This summer’s harsh fire season, fuelled by repeated heatwaves, is a stark reminder of this,” said Pia Treichel. 

Plan International Australia works every day with children in poorer nations as they learn to cope with the impacts of climate change. To protect families and communities, climate change education has become a key focus of Plan’s work. 

Plan collaborates with schools to develop storybooks, games and teacher training resources as well as ministries of education to build climate change education into curriculums.

“Through our work we have learnt that kids better cope with and adapt to climate change if they are fully informed, engaged in decision making and know how to respond – that’s why we’ve created this guide,” said Ms Treichel.

“We believe that talking to kids in Australia about climate change and out-of-control fires will help them better prepare, increase awareness of the impacts of climate change at home and encourage children to play a vital role in protecting our environment,” added Ms Treichel.

Climate change expert and author of guide, Pia Treichel, is available for interview. Guide is at: plan.org.au. 
To arrange interviews please call Clare Price on 0490 252 743. 

Notes for the editor: 
Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 79 years ago, working in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.

Media contact: Clare Price 0490 252 743 clare.price@plan.org.au