Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences Calendar
Speaker – Danielle F. Lawson, Ph.D., NC State, USDA-NIFA Postdoctoral Scholar
Seminar Title – Intergenerational Conversations: Can Children Help Solve our Climate Emergency?
Abstract – As issues associated with climate change grow increasingly complex, the need for a citizenry prepared to address them cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, ideologically polarized contexts render climate change education and communication efforts challenging or ineffective among US adults. Promisingly, however, recent research suggests that adolescents are more capable than adults of separating climate science facts from their ideological contexts when forming perceptions. Novel communication and education strategies that leverage children’s unique perspectives may provide an opportunity to make inroads with adults where climate change communication efforts have previously failed. Intergenerational learning (IGL), a sub-theory of sociocultural theory, posits that interactions between two generations can result in the bidirectional transfer of knowledge, attitudes, and/or behaviors. For example, marketing specialists have long relied on the ability of children to influence parent purchasing decisions around food, toys, and other products. In this same vein, environmental education efforts around multiple subjects including recycling, farming technology, and water quality have been associated with the transfer of environmental learning from children to their parents. Until recently this phenomenon had not been tested with more controversial topics such as climate change. Join this seminar to discuss the results of research aimed at experimentally testing the effectiveness of a climate-change based, middle school curriculum, designed to maximize the chance of child-to-parent intergenerational learning of climate concern occurring. Overall, the results demonstrate that authentic engagement of adolescents in the climate change conversation may be a real first step to promoting collective climate action.
Bio – Dr. Danielle Lawson is a United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at NC State University. Her research centers around finding unique ways to empower all voices in the conversations about environmental challenges. Dr. Lawson received her Ph.D. from NC State University in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management. Prior to her time at NC State, Dr. Lawson attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she received an M.S. in Environmental Studies with concentrations in Environmental Education and Environmental Management, and a B.S. in Marine Biology.