Social Movements and Climate Change

A person holds up a protest sign that says "Fight today for a better tomorrow"

The Issue

Social movements and climate change are inherently intertwined. A society’s action or inaction to address this global threat is influenced by population perceptions. Enacting change requires communicating with populations globally about the way current industries impact the environment and raising awareness of how pollution and climate change impact health and livelihoods. Effective communication approaches and cross-disciplinary education are needed to draw attention to the climate crisis and stimulate change.

CHI Research & Action

To address this critical need, CHI researchers are researching education and outreach approaches by developing and testing programs designed to help our youth become global citizens and make them aware of how humans, themselves included, impact the world around them. For example, CHI researchers developed digital storytelling that reached students throughout the globe and advanced their knowledge of how their lifestyles affect not only their local area, but the planet as a whole. CHI researchers are also engaged in Democratizing Science Movements (DSMs), with the aim of using science to enact positive change in the world. This study evaluated campaigns that brought awareness to the dangers of chemicals in cosmetic products and the movements that developed from putting that knowledge into the hands of ordinary citizens. This example illustrates how accurately communicating scientific information can be a stimulus to ignite the change necessary to preserve the planet.

Our Experts

Laura Engel
Associate Professor of International Education and International Affairs
GW Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Sabrina McCormick
Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health
GW Milken Institute School of Public Health