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February 27, 2023

Children and Changemaking in the Midst of a Climate Crisis

Event Series: Children in a World of Challenges Workshop Series

Children at the Uganda/South Sudan border from their torso down, all in flip flops or bare feet.

When we discuss the future, who do we mean? The children of today and tomorrow are inheriting a world riddled with poverty, food and water insecurity, illness, and environmental degradation — all of which climate change will further intensify. Children are uniquely vulnerable in the sense that their developing bodies are not as resilient to the environmental stressors surrounding them, and they lack a proper seat at the table to successfully advocate for a decent future for themselves. However, this has not stopped children and youth from communing and resisting. Children today are arming themselves with the proper education, standing up as youth advocates, and calling for meaningful change in the fight against the climate crisis.

But what does it mean for young people’s mental and physical health to not just be students and children, but also activists and changemakers? What does it mean for a community to come from trauma? How can we celebrate their successes while critically evaluating the turmoil that pushed these responsibilities onto them? At this interactive workshop, participants discussed the dynamic role of children and youth in climate activism followed by some reflecting, journaling, and storytelling of their own stories about growing up in the climate crisis, including how the children in our lives continue to challenge and inspire us.

This event was co-sponsored by the Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues; Walsh School of Foreign Service; Center for Child and Human Development; Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service; Environmental Justice Program; Global Human Development Program; Global Health Institute; Environmental Metrology and Policy Program; Earth Commons; and Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University. It is part of the Children in a World of Challenges Workshop series.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user UNMISS


Ashanee Kottage

Ashanee Kottage

Ashanee Kottage is a research analyst at Georgetown University’s Earth Commons and the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics. She is inspired by her experience growing up in Sri Lanka, a beautiful tropical island, and embraces the responsibility to be a steward for homes, hers, and others, that bear severe and disproportionate consequences of climate change. She is working towards decolonizing conservation, effective science communication, and marrying rigorous scientific research with empathy, embodiment, and performance.

Emily Prest

Emily Prest

Emily Prest (G’23) is a graduate student at Georgetown University, pursuing her master’s degree in environmental metrology and policy. She graduated from Cornell University in 2021, where she received a bachelor of science in environment and sustainability with a concentration in policy and governance. She has been able to harmonize children’s rights and climate change issues through experiences serving as a Georgetown University Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues student fellow and an Environmental Protection Agency Office of Children’s Health Protection intern.