Along with the EdJAM-funded Accompong Maroon Youth Culture Camp and Memory Bank, SSHRC-funded Youth, Education and Wellbeing in Canada’s Digital Society (post-pandemic) and a number of other youth-led projects, partnerships and collaborations, our York University, Catalysing Interdisciplinary Research Clusters Partnership for Youth and Planetary Wellbeing is an important example of the research and collaborations of the Young Lives Research Lab support that young people and their communities in investigating, understanding and amplifying their responses to contexts of crisis.
The planet is now home to 2 billion youth (15-24 years of age), the largest global youth cohort in history who are providing new insights and collective responses to Planetary Health challenges. Greta Thunberg’s School Strike for Climate, which evolved into Fridays for Future and the Global Youth Climate Movement, the courageous and intentional activism of Autumn Peltier and thousands of other young people have inspired global ecological justice movements as clear examples of youth leadership, action and advocacy for planetary health. However, there are now untold quantities and types of youth actions happening each day around the world as young people respond to planetary crises with transformative approaches. The Partnership for Youth and Planetary Wellbeing is an educative research project that harnesses, supports and foregrounds youth-centred work in Canada, Chile, Costa Rica and Belize with three aims:
- To conduct unique research with/by/for young people that centres and analyzes their work for planetary health
- To share data and analyses through international connections that facilitate flow and exchange of knowledge into global and local youth-serving communities who are empowered to enact change
- To co-develop with youth and their communities, new educational tools to support life at the intersections of the SDGs (and not simply teach “about” them).
The Partnership establishes and grows connections between diverse, inter-generational groups of scholars, youth, trainees, activists, communities, and civil societies in the Americas to:
- Map the range and efficacy of youth-centered policies that define and support youth and planetary well-being
- Work with inclusive groups of young people and their communities to research, record, and analyze their experiences, practices understandings, and responses
- Leverage our fresh data for co-development with youth of new education that intentionally amplifies the impacts, responses and solutions from youth to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals)
- Track, evaluate, and mobilize research and educational outcomes with global and local audiences to make a difference.
The 2022 UN Human Development Report identifies entrenched and overarching ecological, climate and social crises that have caused significant declines in human and planetary well-being in 90 percent of the world’s countries. New, transformative, and collective responses are required to redress these natural and human crises through action and advocacy for planetary health. The planet is home to two billion youth (15-24 years), all of whom are and will suffer disproportionately from these crises. But this largest ever cohort of youth are not mere passive spectators. A massive global climate movement is underway, driven by youth leadership, action, and advocacy and resulting in the proliferation of initiatives across the planet. However, we do not yet understand the size, scope, power, or meaning of this youth movement nor its consequences for youth and planetary wellbeing.
With a focus on three interconnected research and training themes (youth wellbeing; living sustainably; and education for global good) this This work engages and trains young people and their communities in processes of research with/by/for them about aspects of individual and planetary well-being through:
- Trans-disciplinary Scholarship (Planetary Health, Education, Youth Studies)
- Training (1000+ youth, communities, students and HQP)
- New quality education for Action and Advocacy (local, nation and global audiences; e.g., Youth Climate Report, Planetary Health Film Lab, Wekimun School curriculum, Rooted and Rising Youth Climate Action Program)
- Network building and growth (new relationships to address SDGs and Planetary Health Education)