One of the most challenging problems of society today is climate change. Faced with this problem, people must change the way they behave to mitigate the effects of climate change and adapt to them. Such change in behavior can be achieved through a normative shift, i.e., a change in the social norms that regulate people’s social interactions and behavior in a society or a group. Climate change education (CCE) can be a powerful tool to achieve this shift. In this paper, we conduct a systematic review (SR) of the literature on CCE, with the aim of offering a comprehensive overview of the empirical research in this field. We particularly emphasize studies that assess the effects of educational interventions on social norms. Specifically, we focus on studies that either measure actual behaviors or investigate individuals' beliefs regarding the prevalence or acceptability of these behaviors in a society or reference group. We identify 86 studies evaluating CCE interventions. Among these, only 19 look at the effects of CCE on norm-related beliefs or actual behavior. Among the 86 studies, we find a disproportionate focus on interventions conducted in high-income, less climate-vulnerable countries and urban populations, with a general absence of cross-country comparisons. Most studies also employ pre-post evaluations, which are more susceptible to demand effects and social desirability bias. Among the 18 studies that look at norms, only few of them provide a belief-based measure of social norms. The vast majority measures actual behavior, mainly in terms of recycling, trashing and energy saving. Most interventions involve activities aimed at engaging learners. Others focus on nudges (like stickers or posters). A minority is based on lectures, deliberative discussions and interaction with scientists or science in general. The results of this SR reveal important gaps in the literature and potential tensions that can inform future research in this area.
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