Films to change a climate: the power of narrative in promoting action competency on climate change amongst New Zealand youth
Although there is an increasing urgency for individual citizens to take meaningful action to combat climate change, proportionately few New Zealanders are doing so. There is a need for climate change education to be integrated into the New Zealand curriculum in a way that tackles this attitude-action gap and promotes action competency amongst young people. I investigate the reasons behind the attitude-action gap, and discuss the effectiveness of key components of the umbrella movement of Education for Sustainability (EfS) movement in tackling the determinants of this gap, before touching on the barriers that have hindered its widespread implementation in New Zealand schools. I argue that storytelling can be an effective conduit for climate change education because of its effectiveness in transmitting knowledge, and because of its intrinsic transformative potential. Film is a particularly strong narrative medium, and I use Lessons from a Melting Icecap, a film that I produced as part of this thesis, as an example of how a film can be designed to significantly increase student action competency on climate change. I also discuss the results of a survey of filmmaking students that suggests - much as EfS theory advocates - that involving students in community-linked, action-focused climate change filmmaking projects has the potential to be an even more effective way to promote their action competency than simply showing them films. Furthermore, I explain how narrative-based climate change resources and processes can be used to spread EfS throughout the New Zealand schooling system by incorporating them into traditionally non-EfS subjects like English and Media Studies, and by encouraging cross-curricular projects.
Advisor: Davis, Lloyd; McGuire, Mark
Degree Name: Master of Science Communication
Degree Discipline: The Centre for Science Communication
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Narrative; Action Competency; Climate Change; Film; Education for Sustainability; Young People; New Zealand; Filmmaking; Story; Curriculum
Research Type: Thesis