Dispelling climate change myths for rangatahi

Published date : Mon, 01 July 2024 02:45 pm

Through two days of fun, interactive and educational workshops, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi has equipped a group of Whakatāne rangatahi to be part of the climate change solution. 

The workshops were delivered as part of a multi-disciplinary project that includes researchers from GNS Science, Awanuiārangi and Victoria University of Wellington. Te Ao Hurihuri: Te Ao Hou – Our Changing Coast is funded by the 2022 Endeavour Fund administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help tackle the challenges of climate change and sea level rise on coastal communities.  

A key focus of the project is on improving the models currently used to understand the effects of sea-level rise, such as coastal flooding and risks to infrastructure and cultural sites. 

Awanuiārangi has identified a need through this work to help rangatahi to manage the anxiety caused by climate change by providing them with a source of information that they can trust and share with others. Awanuiārangi research lead, Mawera Karetai explains that the workshops have been set up to encourage interaction with informed experts.  

“Young people want to understand what is happening and what they can do to help, but feedback indicates that they don’t know what information is true.  

“Misinformation and disinformation can cause anxiety so we’re giving rangatahi the opportunity to learn from experts who have seen first-hand the impact of climate change in Antarctica and can talk knowledgably about the implications for Aotearoa. Rangatahi are then able to discuss and test these theories in a safe space.” 

Richard Levy, GNS Principal Scientist and Professor Tim Naish from Victoria University of Wellington helped to run these sessions, along with a team of geologists and climate scientists. They shared their experiences of working in Antarctica and the work being done to develop more sophisticated modelling of the impact of sea level rises.  

The scientists also hosted two lectures on the Awanuiārangi campus for city leaders and members of the public to help ensure that informed conversations are happening at all levels of whanau and organisations.  

The intent is to gather feedback about the effectiveness of these session so that the model can be rolled out around the rest of Aotearoa. 

Rangatahi participate in workshops

Rangatahi engaged in a number of demonstrations

GNS Scientists

Professor Tim Naish from Victoria University of Wellington and Richard Levy, GNS Principal Scientist

Students listen in during a workshop

Students learn more about climate change

Young people participate in climate change educational workshops

Students enjoyed hands on activities

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