The Role of international organisations





30 minutes


Learning Path

This course will explain how international organisations have an impact on climate change, as well as explaining what you can do to help them.

Many international organisations have been set up in order to organise initiatives fighting climate change. The role of these organisations is to raise awareness and to promote government action. In this course, we are going to look at three different organisations and find how they impact climate change. These organisations are:

  1. Climate Action Network
  3. Friends of the Earth International

Finally, we will explore how you can make a difference by helping organisations such as these.

Climate Action Network is an international network of over 1300 organisations fighting climate change. Their main initiative is to raise awareness about the details of climate change, as well as to encourage governments to reduce their emissions. The organisation publishes an eco newsletter where it updates the reader on the most recent news about climate change so that people understand more about the environment.

Please read the article on “Article 6” on page one of this newsletter. “Article 6” is a clause in the international climate change agreement that specifies the rules for carbon markets, and the ways they can be used to reduce climate change. To learn more about international carbon markets and “Article 6” read this article.

Climate Action Network also works on several more material initiatives. In Tanzania, the organisation hosts meetings with major stakeholders in business in the country where it organises attempts to reduce climate change in the country by promoting sustainable development and housing.

The organisation also release a satirical “Fossil of the Day Awards” which you can watch on Youtube here, in which they mock the countries which are the worst at contributing to climate change.

Task – Now return to the article you read from Climate Action Network and explain how you think this article is achieving their goals, and what those goals are. How do you think finalising “Article 6” in the way that Climate Action Network wants will help reduce climate change?

Similar to Climate Action Network, is an international organisation which promotes awareness and government action to help climate change. 350 stands for 350ppm (parts per million) of Carbon Dioxide, which was thought to be the tipping point beyond which earth cannot recover from climate change. However, this point has been passed since this organisation was founded in 2007.

The focus of is to organise an international grassroots movement. A grassroots organisation is one where a central organisation (like organises a movement which is sustained by large numbers of members of the public, for example a strike. In 2019, was responsible for being one of the main organisations behind the Global Climate Strike.

Task – Have a look at the website of and find three other ways, aside from strikes, you think can help raise awareness.

Conservation international takes a more active approach to fighting climate change. Since they were founded in 1987, they have protected over 6 million square kilometres of land, marine and coastal areas.

The organisation focuses on working with big organisations in order to promote them to work in a more sustainable way. However, when working with big businesses, Conservation International has been subject to a lot of criticism. Read about the controversy concerning “greenwashing” with an arms company on this article.

Task – Discuss with your class and friends whether a climate organisation should support and do business with companies such as the arms company, despite their bad ethics, if it means that the climate organisation can help this company reduce their footprint?

There are several ways you can help and learn from these companies. The most obvious way to help is to donate to these companies. Most climate organisations are funded only by donations, and have a very low budget, so your donation can make a really big difference.

Secondly, you can help by supporting the goals of these companies, by signing petitions that they propose, going to strikes and engaging with the cause by helping spread their message to your friends and keeping yourself educated.

Finally, you can also learn from the way these companies operate, and help them simply by acting like they do. You can be aware of your own impact, support and encourage friends to do the same and make sure that you and your friends are aware of what is going on in the world. You can easily become more aware of your impact by using the tools on this website. A book that we found useful when creating this website was ‘How Bad are Bananas?‘ by Mike Berners-Lee, which explains in detail how everything you do can impact the environment.


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