The recently completed ‘Young People at a Crossroads’ research project was conducted with forty migrant-background young people (aged 14 to 18), sixteen family members and fourteen teachers in Manchester and Melbourne. The project engaged migrant-background young people from a range of ethnic backgrounds in both cities in reflecting on and researching their family knowledge, practices and everyday negotiations around climate change. One of the core aims of the project was to consider how classroom-based climate change education could be enriched by learning from migrant family perspectives. This seminar focuses on one question that all young people and teachers were asked: ‘What do you understand by climate justice?’. For most students and teachers this was an unfamiliar term in the context of classroom teaching, although they may have heard the term in other contexts. In the seminar I present preliminary reflections on student and teachers’ responses to this question and consider how these could help to develop ‘climate justice education’ (McGregor and Christie, 2021) as a practice of climate education that is action-oriented and attune to multi-scale inequalities. I will also reflect on the feasibility of this kind of climate justice education in UK and Australian school systems.
About the presenter:
Catherine Walker (she/her) is a Research Associate at the Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester and an Honorary Researcher in the School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Her research bridges environmental sociology and human geography and focuses on the environmental knowledge, concerns and agency of young people through cross-cultural perspectives. She is the principal investigator on Young People at a Crossroads (YPAC), funded by a UK Economic and Social Research Council New Investigator award. Both Catherine and the YPAC project have benefitted greatly from the mentorship of Professor Sherilyn MacGregor (University of Manchester) and Dr Natascha Klocker (University of Wollongong).