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IOE Blog


Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


Who are climate activists and why do they risk so much?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 7 December 2023

Just Stop Oil protesters with orange banners and hi vis vests protesting along Whitehall, blocking two buses behind them.

Credit: Alisdare Hickson via CC BY-SA 2.0.

Lisa Fridkin & Katie Quy.

Polling in the UK suggests growing public concern about climate change. For some of us, this concern may feel relatively abstract; we puzzle through, trying to make sense of ever more common stories – or direct experience – of heatwaves, flooding and loss of habitats, set against a dogged focus on economic growth and the issuing of new licences for oil and gas (when the IPCC tells us cutting fossil fuel use is essential). Controversies surrounding the COP28 presidency may have generated similar confusion. Alongside this, we have mainstream media cultivating a particular and negative stereotype around climate activists and engagement in non-violent direct action (NVDA). Our research, however, shows that these activists are not who the media would have us think they are. (more…)

Action for Climate Empowerment: why this ‘policy glue’ needs a cross-government approach

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 30 November 2023

People with documents at round tables in a wood panelled room

UCL-convened workshop on Action for Climate Empowerment in the UK, November 2023. Credit Kate Greer, UCL.

Kate Greer.

Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) is a workstream of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), discussed previously on this blog, which seeks to engage all citizens in climate action via six areas of activity: education, training, public participation in decision-making, public access to information, public awareness, and international cooperation.

At a recent workshop for people and organizations whose work intersects with ACE, hosted by UCL, the diverse ways in which the ACE policy framework can be made concrete was apparent. The workshop brought together people whose work focuses on (…take a deep breath…): schools, higher and informal education; public engagement through faith communities, museums and the arts; advocacy on behalf of children, youth, people living with disabilities, and non-human species; alongside policy development and research funding. It was described by one participant as a ‘paper clip’ that held a disparate group of people and expertise together for half a day. Building on this metaphor, I wonder whether ACE can be viewed as ‘policy glue’ to hold them together over the longer term. (more…)