Introduction to the course and the learning objectives

Climate justice for the next generation


This free course, Climate justice for the next generation, introduces you to a contemporary, emerging issue in Childhood and Youth Studies. You will examine some of the debates around environmental change, its specific impact on children and young people, and the role of children and young people as activists and campaigners within their changing environments.

Described image

Figure 1 Climate change protesters near the British Parliament as part of a global day of protest


The idea of climate justice for children and young people is based, in part, on a respect for children’s rights so the first section of this course will introduce children’s rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The second section will then focus specifically on the impacts that climate change has on children’s rights, while the third will examine climate change in terms of inter-generational social justice. In the fourth section you will examine the wider relationships between children and the environment and then in the fifth and final section you will look at the contemporary work being done on ‘plastic childhoods’. Specifically in Section 5 you will look at the ways that plastics are entangled, both positively and negatively, in children’s lives.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course E232 Exploring childhood and youth

Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
  • recognise the links between children’s rights and climate justice
  • understand the impacts of climate change on children and young people and recognise the reasons why they are at the forefront of climate change campaigns
  • appreciate the relationship between children and the environment
  • understand the idea of ‘plastic childhoods’ and look at the ways that plastics are entangled in children’s lives.

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