Saturday, April 28, 2018

Friday essay: recovering a narrative of place - stories in the time of climate change

Five years ago, I was invited to participate in a global project on climate change. The aim was to engage 15-year-old students with the challenges posed by climate change and the increase of extreme weather events. The students would be asked to respond to the challenge through creativity, initially through an introduction to the science underpinning climate change. In the following 18 months, I visited schools in Ireland, England, Germany and Poland, and also worked with a group of students at Footscray City College in Melbourne. The project would culminate in an environmental youth summit at the International Literature Festival Berlin.

Before the outsiders arrived in Wurundjeri country this billabong
 enjoyed a vital ecological connection with other waterways.
I consider myself an innovative and engaging teacher, and looked forward to the project. It took me only the one class to realise the challenge would be a difficult one. What I discovered in speaking to students was that while they were in no way “anti-science”, headline-grabbing climate change scepticism had impacted on their faith in their own ability to understand science, highlighting what I’ve always believed to be the motivation of sceptics: the undermining of our own confidence to think and grasp ideas.

Read the piece from The Conversation by a Lecturer in Creative Writing from Victoria University, Tony Birch - “Friday essay: recovering a narrative of place - stories in the time of climate change.”

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