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Sustaining the old world, or imagining a new one? The transformative literacies of the climate strikes

Bowman, Benjamin ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2866-1612 and Germaine, Chloé ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5187-8815 (2022) Sustaining the old world, or imagining a new one? The transformative literacies of the climate strikes. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 38 (1). pp. 70-84. ISSN 0814-0626

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Abstract

In this article, we consider the climate strikes in the context of intergenerational narratives that de/limit young people’s political subjectivities and imaginaries concerning climate change. Considering the strikes alongside other youth-led responses to the crisis, we reconsider the question of young people’s climate change ‘literacy’ and posit that young people’s literacies are characteristically transformative. Despite their broadly transformative nature, however, the climate change literacies of young people remain bound up in a complex, adult-centred discursive framework that limits young people in various ways, including positioning them as objects of care or otherwise objectivising their activism. We advocate interdisciplinary thinking in support of creative and transformative pedagogies arising from and informed by the climate strikes, arguing that young people’s political subjectivities are indivisible from their cultural imaginaries. We advocate a step change in the way educators respond to the educational dimensions of climate strikes, as well as the educational opportunities this movement provides. Vitally, we include young people themselves in the category of educators and consider the ways the climate strikes represent an educational opportunity in which young people share, support and collaborate as educators and learners.

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