Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge of our time, a challenge both for the decision-makers of today and those of the future. With the School Strikes for Climate and Fridays for Future movements, young people are increasingly voicing their frustrations with the slow pace of action on this issue.
The Science Journeys project was designed to empower young people around Dunedin to create their own climate change exhibition for public display in Otago Museum. They are the important society members and decision makers of the near future, with the ability to engage and motivate their peers, families and wider society. The project is funded by an Unlocking Curious Minds grant, which supports projects that engage and connect New Zealanders with science.
As one of the Science Engagement Coordinators at the Museum, I have been leading this project since we started our workshops last November. Our team is made up of 25 young people, mostly based in Dunedin with a few from the wider Otago region. I have been amazed by the knowledge, passion, skills and enthusiasm of this wonderful group of young people. Early on in the process the team decided that they wanted to use the exhibition to address the topic of climate change inequality – the fact that, in many cases, countries that contribute the least to the problem are likely to be the worst affected. Together we have been learning about climate change inequality, with a focus on Pacific island nations, and thinking about creative ways to communicate both the problem and the urgency to our audience. The team will use the exhibition space to introduce the issue, tell stories of people who are being impacted and suggest actions that we as individuals and society can take to help address these issues.
Low lying Pacific Island nations (such as Tuvalu, pictured) now and in the future will be severely impacted by climate change, despite the fact that they contribute just a tiny amount in terms of global greenhouse gas emissions. Credit: Inaba Tomoaki, Wikimedia commons
As a testament to their commitment to the project, the team have continued to work through COVID19 lockdown remotely. In the coming months we will be working hard to finalise the exhibition and have it ready for its opening date in early October. We hope that you can join us to learn about these important aspects of the climate change problem, and what we can all do about it. In the meantime, I hope that you enjoy the blogs and posters created by the team as they reflect on the urgency of climate change, and why they got involved in the project.
Top image: The Science Journeys team aim to communicate the urgency and inequality of climate change impacts in their upcoming exhibition. No attribution required