oa Global Media Journal - African Edition - Climate change and drama : the youth learning about and responding to climate change issues through drama



Mobilising cultural practitioners to promote understanding of climate change is important for public engagement, in particular for young learners and children. Over the past six years, interest in the 'science' of communicating climate change has flourished in South Africa. Psychologists, social workers, schools and the city of Cape Town, through the Department of Environment, have been united in the quest for systematic, reliable evidence with which to promote sustainable behaviour. They have been mobilising cultural and creative resources among young learners regardless of their race and ethnicities to enhance the general public engagement with climate change. To take one topical example, Yes Festival is an annual event that adopts the idea of "creativity versus climate change". The invisible nature of climate change is rendered real through everyday stories, performances, and simple yet authentic ideas through children and school teachers to create a positive social norm. Typically, the challenge of climate change communication is thought to require systematic evidence about public attitudes, sophisticated models of behaviour change and the rigorous application of social scientific research. All of this is true, but it is human stories, creative plays not carbon targets that capture children's attention. The science of climate change communication is essential to engage people's minds, but the art of engaging people's imagination may be just as important.


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