Saul Students and Climate Anxiety

Over these past two weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Bailey, a senior at Saul High School.  Bailey’s project is centered around climate anxiety experienced among her peers and community. Through emails and in-person conversations, Bailey described to me that she spends a lot of her time thinking about life and the future of the world. She was able to identify that a portion of her anxiety stems from climate change and the future of the earth. She wants more people to be aware of current issues and how they affect the younger generations’ prospects for the future. To accomplish this goal, she has set out to create a podcast mini-series, sharing the personal experiences of her local community and peers. Her questions are centered around current thoughts on climate change, human influence on the environment, and anxiety. Questions like “According to the Oxford Dictionary, the Anthropocene is regarded as, “the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.” With this being said, would you agree or disagree that we’ve already entered this period?” and “Have you learned about climate change and what the possible outcomes it could produce are? Would you say learning about this has made your nerves surrounding the issue worse?”. She will be talking to Colleen Kenny, the Natural Resource Manager of Upper Dublin County. Colleen is one of many individuals that will be interviewed.

This project pushes Bailey to participate in PAR by having her do her own research to come up with questions and interview subjects. She is able to express herself by creating the format of the podcast and whom she wants to interview. She decided to use the female perspective from various age groups, talking to peers and professionals. Some challenges that have come up are interview scheduling and student follow-through. Baileys’ schedule does not always work well with some of her interviewees, so some interviews have been scheduled after school. This becomes an issue because every interview that is rescheduled pushes back the completion of her project. Setting hard deadlines to make sure portions of the project are done helps make the project more manageable, taking things step by step.

At Saul, the EFS project seems to be going over smoothly and is on pace to get done before the end of the school year. Teachers and students are working hard to get their projects completed.

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