University students as recipients of and contributors to information on climate change: insights from South Africa and implications for well-being.

El Zoghbi, Mona B and El Ansari, Walid (2014) University students as recipients of and contributors to information on climate change: insights from South Africa and implications for well-being. Central European Journal of Public Health, 22 (2). pp. 125-32.

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AIMS This study aimed to enhance the in-depth understanding of the contextual dimensions that shape the relationships between climate change communication approach and youth well-being. The study focused on university students who constitute the key stakeholders and future decision-makers and leaders for managing the long-term climate risks. METHODS A total of 10 focus group interviews were conducted with 117 undergraduate and graduate South African university students from over 12 universities located in different provinces of South Africa. In addition, another 16 interviews were also undertaken with university students, 10 interviews with key experts, and 3 youth national events were attended as participant-observation. RESULTS As recipients of information on climate change, students' well-being was negatively affected by the media's pessimism of communicating risks and the inadequate or restricted networking of communicating solutions and strategies. As contributors to information on climate change, students faced key barriers to their efficacy and agency that entailed socio-cultural inequalities (e.g. race and language) and a lack of formal forums for community recognition, policy consultation and collaboration. In addition, for some students (e.g. journalism students), the lack of sufficient knowledge and skills on climate change and sustainability issues limited their ability to effectively communicate these issues to their audience. CONCLUSIONS Platforms for interactive and reflective discussions, access to innovative technologies and social media, and opportunities for multi-stakeholder partnerships are keys to the success of youth-targeted and youth-initiated communication on climate change.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: South Africa, Students, Universities, Climate Change, Psychology, Leadership, Socio-economic factors, Male, Female, Knowledge
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2014 15:08
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:10

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