Environment & sustainability
Teenagers enrolled in the United World Colleges’ summer school put their critical thinking skills to the test as they worked to solve a fictional environmental crime and developed their own plans to investigate sustainability-related cases of their choosing. They were guided by experienced investigators and activists from the Seek Initiative, the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International and the Paraguayan youth-led organisation reAcción.
Youth-led research for a sustainable future
United World Colleges (UWC) is an international education movement that provides young people aged 15-19 with a life-changing education and inspires them to work for peace and a sustainable future. As part of their 2023 summer school, the UWC hosted “New Tools for Engaged Citizenship”, a programme co-organised by Seek Initiative and Transparency International, aimed at inspiring young people to reimagine their political activism and consider how evidence-based investigations can contribute to climate action, sustainable societies, and advancing environmental justice. In a series of online and in-person workshops, the participants were invited to solve a fictional case about a polluted river and created their own roadmaps to investigate real incidents that resonated with them, including the environmental costs of war, chemical and oil spills, child labour, and politically-motivated attacks.
WHAT IMPACT after the investigation?
The long-term impact of this project is set to be measured in 2024, but immediate feedback from the students was overwhelmingly positive. In one participant’s words: “Going into the workshop, I was admittedly a bit nervous about my ability to grapple with complex concepts and theories, but as we dove deeper into case studies and started discussing our findings as a group, I realised that I had a lot more insight to offer than I gave myself credit for. It was empowering to feel like my contributions were valued and to see firsthand how far I’ve come in terms of being able to think critically about real-world problems.”