Moving toward collective impact in climate change literacy: the Climate Literacy And Energy Awareness Network

  • 5 May 2014
  • Number of views: 5429
Moving toward collective impact in climate change literacy: the Climate Literacy And Energy Awareness Network

A CLEAN manuscript has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geoscience Education theme issue on climate literacy. In recent years various climate change education efforts have been launched, including federally (NOAA, NASA, NSF, etc.) and privately funded projects, as well as the development and deployment of the Climate and Energy Literacy frameworks, both reviewed and endorsed by the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

This paper describes a community-based effort to promote climate and energy literacy - the CLEAN Network (originally the Climate Literacy Network). We describe results from a member survey about the importance of the network to the member’s professional life and review the development and position of the network within the larger community of climate and energy literacy stakeholders.

The CLEAN Network was first formed in 2008 to support climate literacy efforts, largely through voluntary efforts. It serves as a champion and rudimentary and unfunded backbone support organization, enabling first steps toward establishing the elements necessary for successful collective impact in achieving climate literacy.

Among the elements that have been described to be essential for a collective impact, the CLEAN Network most effectively provides continuous communication for the broad community of climate literacy stakeholders.

The network enables its professionally diverse members to learn of each other’s needs and to begin identifying mutually reinforcing activities that will address the common agenda and shared system of measures (two other key elements of collective impact) once they are established.

The CLEAN Network serves as a small champion group that continues to seek input from the larger climate literacy stakeholder community on how a backbone support organization might support and extend their efforts.  Next steps in a collective impact approach to climate and energy literacy include defining and forming a backbone support organization to facilitate the development of a shared agenda and a shared system of measures which has the support of all stakeholders that is sufficiently funded and can help mobilize funding to scale what works in climate and energy literacy to have collective impact that is commensurate to the challenges and opportunities climate change present to the nation.

To learn more about the CLEAN partnership, visit's Teaching Climate section.




Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2017, the United States experienced a record-tying 16 climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 362 lives, and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted, costing more than $306 billion. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.


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