Times they are a' changin';
A new wave of youth activism promises a broader approach to social change
Learning Task 1:
Presentation of a Relevant Reading/Project
by Liz Bolzon & Louisa Chow
Click the question mark below for your first question!
Youth and Sustainability?
The following 11 steps are crucial for change:
Learn from personal mentors.
Encourage an open and creative adult activist community that recognizes the importance of nurturing youth involvement.
Build local-regional & global networks and consciousness.
Be cautious of building youth organizations and coalitions in isolation from our natural allies.
Article suggests that changes in power structures and partnerships with locally and globally are required for successful changes.
Build capacity for independent action and participation at all levels of decision making.
Avoid both "adultism" and "youthism".
Build an analysis that reflects a broad-based perspective.
Be the change you seek in the world!
(Geggie & Fairholm, 1998)
Support youth experience, knowledge, initiative and contacts.
Use information technologies and face-to-face meetings to build group-to-group partnerships.
Actively develop internal structures that work towards diversity and equity.
We would like to know more...
The authors discuss how it is "common among [youth organizations] to use the systems approach in their analysis of social and ecological issues" (Geggie & Fairholm, 1998, p.5).
- What does a systems approach look like in the structure of a youth advocacy group?
- Is there intervention from adult partners and mentors in every case, or but a few?
- Is every use of this approach similar in structure or does it differ in each individual case?
Insights offered by Authors
Strengths of LifeCycles as a youth advocacy initiative:
- LifeCycles hopes to "inspire" youth activism for seeing food as a link among pressing social, environmental, economic, and health issues.
- Lifecycles has an array of focuses that are not limited to the sole grassroot production of food, it aims to create an "awareness of, and a desire to remedy, the structural power inequities that govern social relations and society's relationship to nature" (Geggie & Fairholm, 1998, p.2)
- Lifecycles enables people to access land for themselves by eliminating roadblocks
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Contributions to our understanding of that approach
- It is a common approach used by youth advocacy groups to challenge the various factors in the sustainability movement (Geggie & Fairholm, 1998, p.2)
- Allows for an all-encompassing viewpoint of the intricasies linked to the sustainability movement (Geggie & Fairholm, 1998, p.2)
- "individual, social and ecosystem health are inextricably linked. The systems-approach, advocated by the sustainability movement, acknolwedges all of these relationships when considering the bst way to meet our needs" (Geggie & Fairholm, 1998, p.2)
LifeCycles, as outlined by the authors Geggie & Fairholm (1998), uses a systems approach achieved through the maintenance and development of partnerships and mentoring as well as by addressing power structures.
To learn more about LifeCycles, click the icon above
There were a few projects that were similiar to the LifeCycles Projects that were youth-led and used agriculture as a medium to promote social change.
Partnership with San Jose Youth Centre
Empowering Children from ages 7-16 by developing a food self-sufficiency project; marginalized children are then able to produce food for themselves, and also build self-esteem and creativity
Partnership approach in reducing poverty and advancing social justice through farming and reintegration into neighbourhood and the larger society (also allow them to build skills and reduce risk of unemployment)
Other Related/Similar Projects
by The Gardeners by the Bay
A vertical garden, driven by youth to promote innovative forms of urban agriculture
15 street youths and 4 coordinators; every team had a volunteer adult mentor and community advisors
Provided street kids with hands on training and sense of community belonging (had to be drug free during commitment of 6 months)
Empowered street youth through gardening where youth can build skills required for employment
Living Wall Garden Project
Feel free to join the discussion on D2L!
Fairholm, J. & Geggie, L. (1998). Times they are a’changin’: a new wave of youth activisim promises a broader approach to social change. Alternatives Journal, 24(3), 10-17.