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Championing Change: Human Rights and the Climate Crisis

Learn why climate change is a human rights issue, and how human rights can be used as a tool to combat the climate crisis.

1,234 enrolled on this course

There are no human rights on a dead planet

Championing Change: Human Rights and the Climate Crisis

1,234 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 1 hour per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Find solutions that address both global warming and human rights violations

Rising sea levels. Floods. Droughts. Extreme weather. We know the effects of climate change but their associated human rights violations are not as well understood.

This three-week course, convened by Amnesty International UK, will explain the complex relationship between climate change and human rights. The way they influence each other, and how improving one issue can improve the other. Ultimately, you’ll see how being a human rights activist can help you combat climate change, and vice versa.

Learn why climate change is a human rights issue

Global warming violates key human rights, yet human rights can be used as an effective tool to counteract the effects and continued growth of global warming. You’ll have the opportunity to unpack this complicated statement in detail during this course.

By identifying the instances and inequalities of climate change across different regions and demographics, you’ll get a clear idea of how they impact the rights of people living in these situations.

Understand the importance of being both an environmental and human rights activist

You’ll also get to explore what you can do to combat the violation of both human rights and the environment, taking advantage of the active learning materials.

By connecting with like-minded participants around the world, you’ll become part of a vital global community that is dedicated to effectively dealing with these issues.

Find climate change solutions with Amnesty International UK

The United Kingdom branch of Amnesty International is made up of individuals dedicated to defeating injustice. With their collective expertise, they have created a high-calibre course that will show you how to both combat climate change and campaign for human rights.


  • Week 1

    A Global Context

    • Welcome to the course

      This course is a starting place for learning more about the complex relationship between human rights and climate change.

    • Introduction to human rights

      Human rights outline the fundamental things that all of us should have to live a life in freedom and dignity.

    • Introduction to climate change

      Human activities have steadily and significantly altered greenhouse gases concentrations in the atmosphere. This is the main driver of what we now know as Climate Change.

    • Climate change and human rights

      Climate change threatens the enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, including the right to life, adequate housing, water, food and the highest attainable standard of health.

    • Climate justice

      Climate justice approaches focus on the root causes of the climate crisis and how climate change builds on and magnifies inequalities among countries and within countries.

    • Celebration of success

      Well done! You have come to the end of Week 1.

  • Week 2

    A State's Responsiblity

    • Instruments and Protections

      The impacts of climate change are felt globally. As the climate emergency is a global crisis, states and regions are responsible for putting mechanisms in place to address climate change and its impacts on human rights.

    • States’ responsibilities

      Mechanisms have been put in place to be both the custodians and the monitors of human rights, and ensure that states comply with their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights.

    • A human rights approach to climate action

      Human rights obligations, standards and principles have the potential to inform and strengthen international, regional and national policy making on climate change.

    • Climate Action and Human Rights Trade-Offs

      While in principle there is no incompatibility between climate change action and human rights protection, in practice policy conflicts between the two may and do emerge.

    • Corporate Responsibilities

      Companies must adopt human rights policies, conduct human rights due diligence, remedy human rights abuses for which they are directly responsible.

    • Celebration of success

      Well done! You have come to the end of Week 2.

  • Week 3

    Defending Our Rights and the Environment

    • What we can do as individuals

      Even though individuals are right holders, they too bear an ethical responsibility to hold to account the activities of state and corporate actors.

    • Environmental Human Rights Defenders

      The last week of this course will focus on the actions individuals can take on a local level to fight for climate justice. You will be introduced to how climate change disproportionately impacts vulnerable individuals.

    • Taking action to protect human rights and the environment

      Explore ideas on how you can take action to protect human rights and the environment.

    • End of course

      People created this crisis, and we have the power to fix it – but we need to start acting now.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe how climate change is a major human rights issue
  • Explain and express key terms and concepts related to human rights and climate change
  • Summarise the numerous inequalities of climate change, including its causes and consequences across regions and demographics
  • Evaluate both the mutual supportiveness and possible tensions between human rights and climate change action
  • Compare between different types of climate change response measures that protect and promote human rights
  • Identify human rights-based mechanisms, tools and tactics to shape climate action
  • Engage with and challenge the hostility and antagonism faced by environmental human rights defenders
  • Identify and engage in specific actions to address human rights concerns associated with climate change

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone wishing to explore the relationship between climate change and human rights. No expertise is needed; the only requirement is a desire to understand and improve these serious global concerns.

Who will you learn with?

Who developed the course?

Amnesty International UK

We are Amnesty International. We speak out for anyone and everyone whose freedom and dignity are under threat.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 10 May 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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