Studying contemporary youth climate activism requires both methodological innovation and a deeper commitment to valuing the expertise of youth leaders and advocates. Greater efforts are needed to ensure that the voices and experiences of youth most impacted by climate and environmental injustice are front and center in policymaking processes and academic research. Recognizing the critical leadership and ingenuity of youth climate leaders and movement advocates, this project aims to develop a Global Youth Storytelling and Research Lab (GYSRL) at Penn State. The GYSRL, which is also being supported by the U.N. Foundation's Unlock the Future Engine Room, will operate as a transnational research ecosystem that is cooperative and intergenerational in structure, bringing together scholars, NGO and non-academic researchers, and youth advocates to develop policy-engaged, public-facing research on climate and environmental justice issues. Following the lead of young leaders in research design, implementation, and dissemination, the GYSRL represents a move from research about youth to engaged research in collaboration with young leaders. The Lab will also serve as a critical site of mentorship at Penn State, training undergraduate and eventually graduate students in skills including youth-centered research methodologies, community engagement and partnership building, research writing, and multimedia communication.
This project is launching The Global Youth Storytelling and Research Lab, which will be a transnational research ecosystem that will engage youth leaders in climate and environmental justice research.