York University Contract Faculty and Research Associate Mark Terry's ongoing research project, the Youth Climate Report, is having a good year. Not only did it win an SDG Action Award in January, but it has just partnered with the world's largest environmental education organization, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), and its Young Reporters for the Environment program.
The new partnership brings together two global programs of education and youth empowerment through film and adds another resource to populate Terry’s award-winning “Geo-Doc” film project, the Youth Climate Report, which showcases nearly 500 climate action videos from youth filmmakers geo-located on an interactive map. The project gives young people a voice at international climate summits and provides UN policymakers with an important resource to help them gain a fuller understanding of global climate issues. Videos are crowdsourced through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Global Youth Video Competition and a workshop offered by York University’s Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research known as the Planetary Health Film Lab. With this new partnership, the films produced for FEE’s Young Reporters for the Environment program will also be added to the Young Climate Report’s digital database.
“I’m very pleased to extend our reach to the global community of youth through this new partnership with the Foundation for Environmental Education,” said Terry, contract faculty member and course director at York University’s Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC). “Its Young Reporters for the Environment program will provide more content to the Youth Climate Report’s interactive GIS map of youth-led documentary films. This digital database becomes a more valuable communications tool for policymakers at the UN’s annual climate summits and further amplifies the voices of future policymakers – today’s youth – on climate change data and Sustainability Development Goals initiatives and educational programs.”
Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, with members in 77 countries, the FEE administers five global education programs dedicated to promoting sustainable practices and empowering students to be leaders for sustainability and positive change. Its Young Reporters program, introduced in 1994, gives young people a platform to research environmental issues and promote solutions through investigative reporting, photography and video journalism. The program currently engages more than 275,000 young reporters in 42 countries.
With this new partnership, the Youth Climate Report will make its online training and virtual workshops available to FEE´s young reporters, and will also incorporate FEE’s eight education principles into its own educational programs.
Charles Hopkins, who holds the UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability at York University, says that this new partnership will strengthen York’s long-standing relationship with FEE. The UNESCO Chair works extensively with FEE, Youth Climate Report, and various other organizations to address education in the context of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to achieve the targets of SDG 4 (Quality Education) – ensuring inclusivity and quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all – within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The partnership between Youth Climate Report and FEE and its Young Reporters for the Environment program continues its efforts to further scale up ESD both in policy and practice, elevating sustainable development to be seen as a purpose in all formal education systems around the world.
“Initiatives like the Youth Climate Report and the Young Reporters program exemplify how policy-making informed by practical approaches can benefit from each other, connecting the various layers of implementation to make change,” said Hopkins. “Mark Terry’s Youth Climate Report brings the arts into educating for a sustainable future – using filmmaking to talk about sustainability challenges in engaging ways through the eyes of young people.”