Activating climate activism? Engaging geography and sustainability students with climate (in)justice

Authors: Elizabeth Carlino*, Southern Connecticut State University, Michaela Garland, Southern Connecticut State University, Stephen Axon, Southern Connecticut State University
Topics: Environmental Perception, Sustainability Science, Qualitative Research
Keywords: Climate Justice, Engagement, Activism, Sustainability, Students
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8211, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Climate justice is a rapidly emerging area of activism, given the disproportionate impacts that climate change has on the most vulnerable people within society. Increasingly, these vulnerable segments of the population comprise people of colour, women, and low-income communities. The result is often a lack of resilience to the impacts of climate change, as little adaptation and support is provided by various stakeholders e.g. government; protection agencies; and businesses. At Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), undergraduate geography and sustainability students are currently engaged in a participatory research and engagement project on campus to ascertain perceptions of climate justice, as well as inform the student body of its general principles. Turning our attention to these students, we explore whether their involvement in this project has altered their own attitudes towards climate (in)justice and what the resulting implications of any potential changes in perceptions may mean for the role they will play in future climate justice initiatives. In this paper, findings from semi-structured interviews are presented, and the conclusion outlines the practical implications for universities that seek to engage their students on social justice issues, particularly those relating to climate change and sustainability.

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