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Tohatoha Launches New Climate Change Education Initiative – The Climate Disinformation Night School

Non-profit community education group Tohatoha announced today it is launching a new initiative that aims to counter the spread of disinformation around climate change both in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally.

The Climate Disinformation Night School is a new eight-week hybrid course that will feature pre-recorded 20-minute lectures and presentations by experienced climate change educators, followed by 90-minute class meetings held over Zoom for participants to discuss content in a group setting.

The course was created and developed for Tohatoha by its CEO, Mandy Henk, in collaboration with disinformation researcher and author Byron Clark, as well as a range of other educators.

The course is aimed at teachers, scientists, community educators, climate activists, PR advisers, journalists, and anyone else interested in communicating about climate change in their individual arena.

“As the impacts of climate change continue to be felt across New Zealand and the world, the need for better understanding and communication of the information and issues around climate change is becoming increasingly important for addressing this global problem,” says Ms Henk.

“We are seeing a transformation in the kind of disinformation narratives about climate change that are circulating online, so we hope this course will be a timely and useful measure to stem that tide,” she says.

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Mandy Henk has been involved in education around climate change for more than a decade, as a librarian, writer, and advocate for healthy, just, and vibrant digital communities. She has also authored a book on the topic; Economy, Ecology, Equity: The Path to a Carbon Neutral Library (ALA Editions 2014),

Taking inspiration from the long history around the world of folk education – particularly the Scandinavian and Appalachian traditions – Ms Henk says the Climate Disinformation Night School is designed to offer a fun, affordable and rigorous experience that serves the needs of working adults.

“Like all folk education, liberation and movement building is at the core of the course. We save ourselves together – and we educate ourselves to build solidarity, share tactics, and create a shared vision for a better future for all of us,” she says.

“This is about learning for the love of learning and the love of each other. And while there are no grades, assessments, or credentials required to complete the course, there will be many opportunities and guidance for participants to design their own climate change action campaigns.”

Through this course, participants will:

· Understand how disinformation campaigns work and how they impact our ability to respond to climate change.

· Learn what the scholarly literature says about countering disinformation and explore the work of others who are active in countering disinformation.

· Have help to develop plans and strategies for their own work that can be applied within their own sphere of influence.

Questions the course will address include:

· How have the historic disinformation campaigns against climate science impacted reporting on climate science?

· What is the current state of the art on how to report climate stories and how to deal with the denialists?

· What are the challenges that journalists face and how can activists help to support good quality reporting on climate issues?

The full course costs NZ$400.00 +GST (full price) with variable pricing options available for those who need funding assistance and is open to anyone to register.

Tohatoha is also seeking sponsorship from groups and individuals to cover course costs for those who cannot afford it.

The first course is set to begin 4 April 2024, and registrations are now open here:

More information about the Climate Disinformation Night School can be found here:

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