Intergenerational learning: Are children key in spurring climate action?

Danielle F. Lawson, Kathryn T. Stevenson, M. Nils Peterson, Sarah J. Carrier, Renee Strnad, Erin Seekamp

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Complex environmental problems are typically resolved after the public is no longer willing to accept their risks and demands change (i.e., Reflexive Modernization). Notable examples include responses to the ozone hole and acid deposition. In the case of climate change, however, the politicization of the issue can result in adults ignoring the risks and accepting the status quo (i.e., Anti-Reflexivity). Although strategies such as strategic framing have seen some successes, new methods are needed to engage citizens in addressing climate change impacts. We argue that child-based climate communication is an understudied but promising pathway to incite climate action among children and adults alike. Children have unique perspectives on climate change, represent an audience that is easily reached through schools, and are arguably best equipped to navigate the ideologically fraught topic of climate change with older generations in ways that inspire action. We review research to support this novel communication approach and outline best practices for programmatic implementation and associated research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-208
Number of pages5
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
StatePublished - Nov 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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