14th Mar 2018 5:30pm-7:00pm

Edward Street 102


Professor Julie Doyle (University of Brighton)

Existing research indicates that many young people have negative feelings about dealing with global climate change, and that this pessimism and helplessness increases with age (Hicks and Holden 2007, Ojala 2012). Yet, in order to regulate their worries about climate change, young people force “themselves to be hopeful”, both as a coping strategy in the present, and to enable them to make plans for the future (Ojala 2012, 547). Addressing the possibilities and challenges of youth climate engagement, this paper examines a UK creative youth project (FutureCoast Youth) that used storytelling and participatory play to explore young people’s perceptions of climate change, and to increase self-efficacy within the group. Based upon the FutureCoast online digital storytelling project – developed by US games designer, Ken Eklund – which asks audiences to imagine and create voicemails from a range of climatically changed futures, FutureCoast Youth took this fictional premise to work collaboratively with a group of twelve 14-15 year old high school students to explore their perceptions of climate change. Through participatory play, the goal was to enable students to produce their own self-generated creative work on climate change, to be presented at the end of the project through the fictional guise of a Youth Climate Delegation from the Future (that coincided with the actual start of the UN Climate Convention, COP21, December 2015). Sharing the main research findings of FutureCoast Youth, this paper will argue for the success of storytelling and participatory play as a method and approach for engaging young people with climate change and increasing their confidence in understanding, dealing with and addressing this issue. At the same time, it will also explore the problems of navigating climate change as a both a present and future social reality, and of how these temporal dimensions may impact upon youth participation in imagining and creating more sustainable climate futures

Julie Doyle is a Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Brighton, where she is Director of the Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics. She is committed to examining the role of media and communication in understanding and addressing climate change, and in working collaboratively to find ways to create more sustainable societies. She is Co-Chair of MeCCSA’s Climate Change, Environment and Sustainability (CCES) Network and was a member of the founding Board of Directors of the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA).


Hicks, D and Holden, C. (2007). ‘Remembering the future: what do children think?’, Environmental Education Research, 13:4, 501-512

Ojala, M. (2012). ‘Regulating worry, promoting hope:
How do children, adolescents, and young adults cope with climate change?’, International Journal of Environmental & Science Education, 7:4, 537-561.