Climate Change: Imagining, Negotiating, and Co-Creating Future(S) with Children and Youth
With an understanding that children and young people will be severely affected by climate change consequences, this paper asks, what role should they have in their education or in civil decisions that will impact their quality of life in a climate-altered world? The paper argues that too often educational responses to uncertainty result in instrumental approaches where children and youth are not given agency to be active participants in their educational choices. Educational responses that emphasize participatory, place-based and transformative or emancipatory approaches to learning are likely to be more generative and responsive to young people’s needs.Using Kagwa and Selby’s (2010) framing that climate change offers a “learning moment [that] can be seized to think about what really and profoundly matters, to collectively envision better futures, and then to become practical visionaries in realizing the future” (p.5), the paper suggests two educational shifts that will help formal education systems become responsive to the needs of the twenty-first century. The first shift, adopting community as curriculum, focuses on knowledge production becoming a participatory process that is practiced with and amongst community members trying to solve local problems. The second shift, adopting a connected learning approach, focuses on harnessing the advances of innovations of the digital age with an equity agenda to address local issues. The paper outlines case examples which highlight how these shifts create pathways for what environmental sustainability education calls for in order to foster creative engagement in emergent change, facilitated by new approaches to learning and ways of organizing.
KeywordsClimate change Education Young people Futures
- ACARA. (2016). Structure of Australian Curriculum: Technologies. Australian Curriculum: Technologies (v8.2). Retrieved from: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/structure. Accessed: 26/09/16.
- Cantrill, C., Filipiak, D., Garcia, A., Hunt, B., Lee, C., Mirra, N., … Peppler, K. (2014). Teaching in the connected learning classroom. Irvine: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.Google Scholar
- Committee on the Rights of the Child, Geneva, May 25 – June 12, Convention on the Rights of the Child–General Comment No.12 (2009) The right of the child to be heard. Retrieved from: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/AdvanceVersions/CRC-C-GC-12.pdf.
- Cormier, D. (2010). Rhizomatic education: Community as curriculum. Innovate: Journal of online education, 4(5), 2–12.Google Scholar
- Facer, K. (2011). Learning futures: Education, technology and social change. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Farrant, B., Armstrong, F. & Albrecht, G. (2012). Future under threat: climate change and children’s health. The Conversation.Google Scholar
- Field, E. (2017). Constellations of Environmentalism: an exploration of learning and activism within youth-created social media interest groups [Doctoral dissertation]. Cairns: James Cook University. http://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/47914/. Accessed: 20/03/17.
- Foster, J. (2011). Sustainability and the learning virtues. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 43(3), 383–402.Google Scholar
- Gaddi, E. (2012). Another 4 years? Recognizing President Obama’s accomplishments. USA: Xlibrisi Corporation.Google Scholar
- International Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]. (2014). Climate Change 2014 (Synthesis report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Retrieved from: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/syr/.
- Ito, M., Baumer, S., Bittani, M., Boyd, D., Cody, R.; Herr-Stephenson, B., … Tripp, L. (2010). Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Living and Learning with New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Ito, M., Gutiérrez, M., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., Rhodes, J., Salen, K., … Shresthova, S. (2013). Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. Retrieved from: http://dmlhub.net/wp-content/uploads/files/ Connected_Learning_report.pdf.
- Juliana et al. v United States of America. (2016). United States District Court–Eugene Division. Retrieved from: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/571d109b04426270152febe0/t/57a35ac5ebbd1ac03847eece/1470323398409/YouthAmendedComplaintAgainstUS.pdf.
- Kagawa, F., & Selby, D. (2010). Education and climate change: Living and learning in interesting times. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Læssøe, J., Schnack, K., Breiting, S., Rolls, S., Feinstein, N., & Goh, K. C. (2009). Climate change and sustainable development: The response from education. A Cross-National Report, Denmark: International Alliance of Leading Education Institutes. Retrieved from: http://edu.au.dk/fileadmin/www.dpu.dk/en/research/researchprogrammes/environmentalandhealtheducation/om-dpu_institutter_institut-for-didaktik_20100113170051_2009-ialei-final-report.pdf.
- Lever-Tracy, C. (2011). Confronting climate change. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Morris, H. (n.d.). The village school expert. In InfED. Retrieved from: http://infed.org/mobi/henry-morris-village-colleges-and-community-schools/. Accessed: 30/09/16.
- Stevenson, R. B. (1987). Schooling and environmental education: Contradictions in purpose and practice (pp. 69–81). In I. Robottom (Ed.), Environmental education: Practice and possibility. Geelong: Deakin University Press.Google Scholar
- Stevenson, R. B., Wals, A. E., Heimlich, J., & Field, E. (2017). Critical environmental education. In A. Russ & M. Krasny (Eds.), Urban environmental education review. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- UNESCO (2005). International Implementation Scheme–United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2014). Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001486/148654e.pdf.
- UNICEF Office of Research. (2014). The challenges of climate change: Children on the front line. Innocenti insight. Florence: UNICEF Office of Research Retrieved from: http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/ccc_final_2014.pdf.
- White, R. D., & Wyn, J. (2013). Youth & Society (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar