How kids are making sense of climate change and extreme weather

When three fifth-graders in Washington state sat down to make a podcast, they didn’t have to look far to find a good topic.

“Wildfires are a problem and they’re dangerous,” they say in their podcast from Chautauqua Elementary School, on Vashon Island. “But there’s ways to prevent them, so respect wildfire safety precautions and do your best to prevent these fires.”

This entry from Roz Hinds, Jia Khurana and Sadie Pritsky was among more than 100 podcasts this year in NPR’s Student Podcast Challenge that touched on a topic that’s increasingly important to young people: climate change. Over and over again, student journalists tried making sense of extreme weather events that are becoming more common or more intense: flash floods, hurricanes, droughts, wildfires.

Here are four student podcasts that offer a glimpse into the minds of students and what they have to say about climate-related news in their communities — and what they hope to do about it.

Behind the Scenes of the Mosquito Fire
In a 10-episode series, a sixth-grade class at the Georgetown School of Innovation in Georgetown, Calif., shares stories from the devastating Mosquito Fire in 2022. This group of eight students asks two firefighters from the Georgetown Fire Department what it’s like to fight fires and protect loved ones in their hometown.

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