Youth Designing Climate Resilience

The Youth Designing Climate Resilience project (YDCR) seeks to involve youth in design thinking to address climate change in their communities and understand how this kind of involvement can empower youth and those around them. YDCR works with youth, educators and communities across British Columbia and Puerto Rico.  

This project aims to create a cadre of youth and educators in Puerto Rico and British Columbia with a skill base and a sense of agency to address the continued impact of disasters arising from climate change and beyond. They would do this through understandings gained through design thinking and community-based complex problem-solving.

In Puerto Rico, initiatives are situated in a variety of educational settings, from high school to university. The following five design circles guide the Puerto Rico process:

  1. Project design Community Cafe                   
  2. Design of workshops and training  
  3. Design thinking grounding sessions
  4. Curriculum integration
  5. Climate Initiatives led by youth participants under educator mentorship.

In BC, small ‘pods’ of young people (elementary to high school) supported by educators help students execute community-based climate initiatives. These pods form a network of support, learning, and sharing. Each pod addresses climate change in unique ways based on its community context and school setting. The activities guide the British Columbia process: 

  • Design thinking grounding session
  • Wisdom circles (Gathering place to share wisdom, reflections, and support across pods) 
  • Project launches and micro-grants 

The project will connect youth and educators in Puerto Rico and British Columbia.

The project emphasizes co-learning by youth and adults and shared adult responsibility to support youth voices. As part of research in both countries, youth will create climate change and adaptation products. Examples include:

  • videos
  • blogs
  • vlogs
  • story-telling
  • publications.

Partnership with the Instituto de Desarrollo de la Juventud (IDJ), a youth development institute in Puerto Rico, will enhance knowledge gathering and sharing. IDJ’s mandate is to develop, promote and evaluate policies that improve youth wellbeing. The Youth Designing Climate Resilience project offers opportunities for youth to introduce the project and help train youth in other neighbouring communities and regions.

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