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Our disenchanted hope : an exploratory outlook on youth, climate change adaptation and transformation

Holmström, Mattias LU (2015) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20151
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
Threats and challenges posed by climate change require societal adaptation in order to withhold the functioning of fundamental human and natural systems. Efforts to adapt to climate change have mainly focused on institutional measures and overlooked the capacity of citizens in general and young citizens in particular. However, recent literature considers youth to possess a unique role as agents of change to facilitate adaptation and risk reduction. Following this, the purpose of this study is to explore the role of youth for climate adaptation. The youth of today are the leaders of the future and hence, examining young people’s understanding about their surrounding environment can give valuable indications of our development trajectory. In... (More)
Threats and challenges posed by climate change require societal adaptation in order to withhold the functioning of fundamental human and natural systems. Efforts to adapt to climate change have mainly focused on institutional measures and overlooked the capacity of citizens in general and young citizens in particular. However, recent literature considers youth to possess a unique role as agents of change to facilitate adaptation and risk reduction. Following this, the purpose of this study is to explore the role of youth for climate adaptation. The youth of today are the leaders of the future and hence, examining young people’s understanding about their surrounding environment can give valuable indications of our development trajectory. In this endeavour, I have conducted a case-study with five focus group interviews on an upper secondary school in Malmö, Sweden. Through a conceptualisation of climate change adaptation, my analysis suggest that the youth show tendencies of transformative adaptation but that their full potential is restrained by feelings of hopelessness. This hopeless feeling is based on a perception that one’s own efforts to mitigate or adapt to climate change would be useless considering the perceived inaction of other powerful societal actors. Theory suggests that unresponsive political systems can make young people feel disenchanted if their needs and values are not sufficiently recognised. Here, I argue that empowering young people to believe that they possess agency of change could be crucial for successful adaptation. How and where such empowerment could take place, for enhanced adaptation towards a societal transformation and to reach sustainable development, is a concern for future research however. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Hot och utmaningar från klimatförändringar kräver samhällsmässig anpassning för att upprätthålla funktionen hos fundamentala mänskliga och naturliga system. Ansträngningar för klimatanpassning har huvudsakligen fokuserat på institutionella åtgärder och förbisett kapaciteten hos medborgare i allmänhet och unga medborgare i synnerhet. Emellertid, ny forskning föreslår att ungdomar kan inneha en unik roll som förändringsagenter för att främja klimatanpassning och riskreduktion. Studiens syfte är således att utforska ungdomars roll i klimatanpassning. Då dagens ungdomar är morgondagens ledare kan en granskning av ungdomars uppfattning om deras omgivning ge värdefulla insikter om vår utvecklingskurs. I den strävan har jag genomfört en... (More)
Hot och utmaningar från klimatförändringar kräver samhällsmässig anpassning för att upprätthålla funktionen hos fundamentala mänskliga och naturliga system. Ansträngningar för klimatanpassning har huvudsakligen fokuserat på institutionella åtgärder och förbisett kapaciteten hos medborgare i allmänhet och unga medborgare i synnerhet. Emellertid, ny forskning föreslår att ungdomar kan inneha en unik roll som förändringsagenter för att främja klimatanpassning och riskreduktion. Studiens syfte är således att utforska ungdomars roll i klimatanpassning. Då dagens ungdomar är morgondagens ledare kan en granskning av ungdomars uppfattning om deras omgivning ge värdefulla insikter om vår utvecklingskurs. I den strävan har jag genomfört en fallstudie med fem gruppintervjuer på en gymnasieskola i Malmö. Genom en konceptualisering av klimatanpassning föreslår min analys att ungdomar visar tendenser för transformativ anpassning men att deras fulla kapacitet är begränsad på grund av uppgivna känslor. Dessa uppgivna känslor grundar sig i en uppfattning om att ens eget bidrag till att dämpa eller anpassa sig till klimatförändringar kommer vara meningslöst med tanke på den upplevda passiviteten hos andra mäktiga aktörer. Teorier menar att icke reflexiva politiska system kan göra ungdomar besvikna om deras behov och värderingar inte blir tillräckligt erkända. Här hävdar jag att bemyndiga ungdomar till att återfå tro på att de innehar en roll som förändringsagenter kan vara avgörande för lyckad klimatanpassning. Hur och var sådant bemyndigande kan ske, för bättre anpassning mot en samhällsomställning och till att nå en hållbar utveckling, är dock en angelägenhet för framtida studier. (Less)
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author
Holmström, Mattias LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
focus groups, change agents, young people, sustainable development, risk reduction, sustainability science, transformative adaptation
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2015:001
language
English
id
5435877
date added to LUP
2015-06-01 09:47:33
date last changed
2015-06-01 09:47:33
@misc{5435877,
  abstract     = {Threats and challenges posed by climate change require societal adaptation in order to withhold the functioning of fundamental human and natural systems. Efforts to adapt to climate change have mainly focused on institutional measures and overlooked the capacity of citizens in general and young citizens in particular. However, recent literature considers youth to possess a unique role as agents of change to facilitate adaptation and risk reduction. Following this, the purpose of this study is to explore the role of youth for climate adaptation. The youth of today are the leaders of the future and hence, examining young people’s understanding about their surrounding environment can give valuable indications of our development trajectory. In this endeavour, I have conducted a case-study with five focus group interviews on an upper secondary school in Malmö, Sweden. Through a conceptualisation of climate change adaptation, my analysis suggest that the youth show tendencies of transformative adaptation but that their full potential is restrained by feelings of hopelessness. This hopeless feeling is based on a perception that one’s own efforts to mitigate or adapt to climate change would be useless considering the perceived inaction of other powerful societal actors. Theory suggests that unresponsive political systems can make young people feel disenchanted if their needs and values are not sufficiently recognised. Here, I argue that empowering young people to believe that they possess agency of change could be crucial for successful adaptation. How and where such empowerment could take place, for enhanced adaptation towards a societal transformation and to reach sustainable development, is a concern for future research however.},
  author       = {Holmström, Mattias},
  keyword      = {focus groups,change agents,young people,sustainable development,risk reduction,sustainability science,transformative adaptation},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Our disenchanted hope : an exploratory outlook on youth, climate change adaptation and transformation},
  year         = {2015},
}