Session Title: Youth and Climate Change
Organizer: Jeylan T. Mortimer, University of Minnesota
ISA Forum, Vienna, July 10-14, 2016
Climate scientists predict that intensifying planetary warming will cause more frequent severe weather events, droughts and water shortages. These will likely cause massive population migrations and wars over declining resources. Youth are often the most able and willing to migrate, and they become the soldiers in war, voluntarily or not. Such changes may disrupt the passage to adulthood, especially in the global South, as migrant youth experience difficulties in assimilating into new societies. Many youth may find it difficult to see ahead, to envision stable life courses for themselves and future generations. Failure of governments to act may foster a decline in confidence in, and disconnection from, societal institutions.
This session will draw attention to the challenges and potentially catastrophic consequences posed by climate change for present and future youth generations and encourage research on this topic. Illustrative questions to be considered: How have recent severe weather events impacted youth? Are youth becoming aware of the threat of climate change? How is it affecting their outlooks to the future? Are value shifts occurring among young people as it becomes increasingly evident that the planet’s capacity to support life is eroding—e.g., values surrounding economic growth, population size, energy conservation, life styles and living arrangements? Are youth becoming attracted to social movements advocating governmental and individual ameliorative action, or are they increasingly acknowledging dystopian futures, assuming a fatalistic stance, and turning inward? To what extent are youth spearheading social movements to address climate change?
Abstract submission portal: http://www.isa-sociology.org/forum-2016/
Sponsored by RC34, Research Committee on Youth
Deadline: September 30, 2015.