The school climate strikes: what does the research say?

Hear from education researchers about how the school strikes are challenging education to keep up with youth climate learning and activism.

Since 2018, young people from around the world have been striking from school to push political leaders to do more about the climate crisis. While youth climate activism has a long history, walking out of school has changed the dynamics. 

Join us in the lead up to the March 25th Global Climate Strike to launch the special issue of the Australian Journal of Environmental Education on the school strikes for climate. Hear from environmental education researchers – including Australian School Strike 4 Climate leaders – about how the school strikes are challenging education to keep up with youth climate learning and activism. 

In this launch event, we’ll explore questions such as:

  • Why are students still striking and why does it matter?
  • What are young people learning when they strike for climate justice? 
  • What challenges do they face when doing this work? 
  • What are the implications of this movement for education?

You can find the editorial for the Special Issue here.

This event was presented online on Tuesday 22 March 2022.


Peta White is a science and environmental education senior lecturer at Deakin University, and Editor of the Australian Journal of Environmental Education. Her current research follows three narratives: science and biology education; sustainability, environmental, and climate change education; and collaborative/activist methodology and research.

Alicia Flynn is completing her PhD in anticolonial climate and place-responsive education, and teaches at the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education. She is the co-guest editor of this special issue on the school climate strikes.

Blanche Verlie is a climate change educator and researcher, and guest editor of this special issue on the school strikes in the Australian Journal of Environmental Education. Blanche is currently completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Sydney Environment Institute.

Jean Hinchliffe is a 18-year-old climate justice activist and an organiser within School Strike 4 Climate.

Niamh O’Connor-Smith, is a climate activist and recently graduated high school student, who became involved in School Strike for Climate organising in April 2019.

Harriet O’Shea-Carre, is a 16-year-old environmental activist and co-initiator of the SS4C (School Strike for Climate) movement in Australia.

Varsha Yajman is an 18-year-old university student who is an organiser for School Strike for Climate and the current NSW Schools Coordinator for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

Nita Alexander is a PhD candidate in Sociology at James Cook University. As an activist and researcher, their project explores young people’s experiences of activism and children’s political participation.

Benjamin Bowman is Lecturer in Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University and a member of the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies. He is an interdisciplinary researcher with an interest in young people’s everyday lives, young activism and young people’s experiences of climate change.

Ria Bright is a PhD candidate at the University of Waikato.

Chris Eames is an Associate Professor in the Technology, Environmental, Mathematics and Science Education Research Centre (TEMS) at the University of Waikato. He teaches pre-service and in-service teacher education students in environmental and sustainability education, and science education.

Hannah Feldman is a science communicator by education and training. Hannah is currently a Research Fellow investigating the School Strike 4 Climate movement, and working with teenagers at the intersection of activism, politics, environment and technology.

Joseph Ferguson is an educational researcher and teacher educator at Deakin University working in science and environmental education. He is interested in exploring reasoning inside and outside the classroom, in particular in its creative forms.

Chloé Germaine is Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. She writes about and teaches children’s literature, culture and young people’s climate change imaginaries. Her interdisciplinary research on climate change includes studies of climate fiction and climate change board games.

Miriam Ham is a Senior lecturer and Campus Lead of the Cairns campus for the College of Education at Central Queensland University.

Ailie McDowall lectures in Indigenous Studies at the Indigenous Education and Research Centre, James Cook University. Dr McDowall’s current research is in research education, focusing on the preparation of scholars to work across Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge standpoints.

Karena Menzie-Ballantyne is a Senior lecturer and pre-service teacher educator based at the Bundaberg campus of Central Queensland University. Karena is currently working on multiple research projects exploring educators’ interpretation and implementation of global citizenship/competence in schools and classrooms.

Theresa Petray is an Associate Professor in Sociology at James Cook University. She researches in the area of Aboriginal activism, self-determination, and nation-building, and is particularly interested in the ways in which seemingly marginalised people exercise agency.

Amanda Tattersall is the research and education lead at the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney and a postdoctoral fellow in Urban Geography. She is also a community organiser and social change scholar. Amanda co-founded the digital campaign group GetUp! and founded Australia’s largest community coalition, the Sydney Alliance, and she hosts the ChangeMakers Podcast.

Jayden Wlasichuk is currently a law student at the University of Manitoba, and she completed her research on climate justice and the Canadian climate strike movement for her Master of Arts from the University of Guelph in 2021.


Header image: Rose Makin via Shutterstock ID-1510249964.