Building Climate Change Literacy

Group 28

Location: Africa, Asia, Europe, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malawi, Middle East


Partnership: Greening Capacity


Language: English


Format: Classroom Activities, Teacher Training


Audience: Policymakers, School Leaders, Teachers

Meet the teacherLinks

Asha Alexander

Asha, is a highly accomplished educator, from Kerala, India. She holds a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Walden University, in addition to a Masters degrees in Education and English from Bangalore University. 


As a UN-certified Climate Change Leader, Asha is a sought-after international speaker and panellist, gracing events such as COP 25, UNESCO’s World Conference, UNITAR gatherings, Earth Day Network India, the World Education Summit, and the recent Mashreq Sustainability Dialogues. Her workshops on leadership and change management have left a positive impact on schools in India and the UAE.


Asha’s recognitions include the Social Innovation Leadership Award in 2019, the title of Principal of the first school with 300 UN-accredited teachers, and her status as a United Nations Climate Change Leader since 2019. Her commitment to environmental advocacy is evident in her role as Ambassador for the Environment and the school’s receipt of the Green Flag Award in 2015. The school was also honoured with the International Schools Award from the British Council in 2015.

Usefull links related to the Solution

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Asha is the principal of the GEMS Legacy School in Dubai. Through her work, she has become a proactive supporter and implementer of climate change education. After successfully motivating students and staff towards an agenda of sustainability in her own school, she took the initiative and set up an international forum for dialogue and discovery of sustainable practices through embedding climate literacy in schools. She is now working on specific collaborative projects with schools in Indonesia, Italy, Malawi and India.

Theory of Change

Asha believes that Education for Sustainable Development is essential to transform the next generation into eco-conscious, self-sustaining global citizens, who understand the urgency of environmental responsibility. In her school, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are not taught as a stand-alone subject but have been carefully integrated into the curriculum as a climate literacy component through problem-based and action-based learning. Asha believes that a concerted focus on global dimensions while aiming to prepare students with cross-cultural competencies in an ever-changing global economy is the need of the hour.

Approach and Actions

After reading about another local teacher who became climate change certified by the UN Asha led a revolution in her school- over a month she and 360 members of her staff became UN climate certified, with 162 classrooms then prepared to deliver climate literacy as part of the curriculum. This sudden change in the staff’s skill set led to the incorporation of climate literacy in the curriculum with a focus on contextual issues- water conservation in a desert and the use of plastics in the school were both topics that the students engaged with in their learning.

In 2019 Asha attended the COP25 conference, and whilst there it occurred to her that not just adults but students too must have a platform to put forth their thoughts and opinions on the impacts of climate change. Thus, the School Conference of Parties Exposition (SCOPE) was developed as a unique student-led conference, an inter-school forum of student voices and action against climate change. It currently unites 50+ schools and students from all corners of the world, as they collaborate and discuss the pertinent issues of climate change across the globe.

Asha has also led collaborative work between schools in different regions. Firstly the GEMS Global Ambassadors’ Society (GGA) was established. This is a global collaborative community with student and teacher ambassadors from 90 schools across 15 countries, with a shared mission to spread awareness, take action and provide solutions to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

Asha has also established Hub Schools of Sustainability for Transformational Learning in Italy, Indonesia, Malawi and India to empower school leaders and students to accelerate their sustainability journey. The hope is that through shared lesson plans, climate literacy objectives and engaging projects, all partners will be able to embed climate change consciousness in their schools, making sustainable practice second nature to young people around the world.


Asha is proud to have led the successful incorporation of climate change education throughout the life of the school, directly impacting the learning of students and the wider school community. The school has also completed many environmentally focused projects including an E-waste collection drive; taking part in a research project focused on adopting a sustainable diet; and taking part in the Global Innovation Challenge.

An annual calendar of climate change initiatives is also created and shared with partnering schools worldwide to accelerate community collective efficacy. Many positive outcomes have resulted from the partnerships that have been forged; all GEMS teachers across the UAE are now UN-certified climate change teacher ambassadors; over the past three years 50,000 trees have been planted by the community; and the SCOPE conferences have empowered students to explore solutions and use their creativity to express their passions and concerns about climate change. The Italian partner school has also taken definitive action to embed climate literacy into its curriculum and is empowering other Italian schools to do the same.