Youth got the power: Building youth-adult partnerships for climate action

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Hannah Renèe Barg (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Callie Spencer

Abstract: Global anthropogenic climate change is an urgent environmental, public health, and social justice issue that disproportionately impacts vulnerable populations including children and youth (Dimitrov, 2010; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2021). Despite recent involvement in climate action on the national and international stage (Boulianne et al., 2020; Peek, 2008; Yona et al., 2020), youth continue to be underutilized as key stakeholders in developing and implementing climate solutions (Trott, 2019a), which is a form of adultism (DeJong & Love, 2018). Schuster & Timmermans (2017) discuss the need for more research examining adults and the roles they play in engaging youth in research. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore how adults and youth can work together to take climate action within the context of non-formal Climate Change Education. Using a Youth Participatory Action Research methodology coupled with bricolage (Rogers, 2012), this study was conducted for, with and by a subset of youth who previously participated in a teen climate ambassador program. During virtual groupwork sessions, youth and I participated in a collaborative planning process to design a climate action project. Since youth should ideally be involved in designing and conducting research in a YPAR study (London et al., 2003), we worked together to define, enact, and understand research through the context of climate action project planning. Many different forms of data (i.e., group discussion, collaborative notes, art, poetry) emerged throughout the study, which were co-analyzed with youth and woven together using a bricolage format. Results examine power dynamics, collaborative process, and how youth and I each embodied the roles of participant and researcher within the context of a YPAR. This study has particularly relevant implications for adults partnering with youth to take community action.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2022
adultism, climate action, climate change education, youth participation, youth participatory, action research, youth-adult partnerships
Climate change mitigation
Student movements
Environmental justice
Action Research

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