Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Manuel Riemer

Advisor Role

Thesis Advisor


Global climate change is an issue of environmental justice, because neither contributions toward the causes nor its consequences are equally distributed across and within countries (Roberts, 2001). Given the importance of framing climate change as an environmental justice issue, the present study sought to understand how youth conceptualize and engage with environmental justice across multiple countries. Youth are an important target population for engagement, because they often are active agents of social change by challenging the status-quo, and becoming civically engaged (Blythe & Harré, 2012; De Vreede, Warner & Pitter, 2014; United Nations, 2004).

The current research is a secondary analysis of qualitative interview data collected from participants as part of the multinational longitudinal study Youth Leading Environmental Change (YLEC study). In total, 33 interviews were analyzed and participants ranged from 18 to 25 years of age. The following research questions were investigated: (1) How do youth describe the state of the environment? (2) How do youth conceptualize environmental justice? Are there differences from one country to another? (2a) What cultural aspects do youth reference when describing their understanding of environmental justice? (3)What aspects of the YLEC workshop do youth reference as contributors to learning about environmental justice? Analysis was conducted by coding all interviews by country to identify emerging themes based on geographic location.

Results revealed that youth had a moderate to thorough understanding of current environmental issues and environmental justice. Additionally, a guest speaker providing a personal account of environmental injustice, and a video exchange between students from developing and developed countries were the most impactful, and influential components in regard to youths learning about environmental justice. Implications for environmental justice education and future research will be discussed.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season