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Climate Justice and Educational Transformation

by Robin A. Shields
Professor of Education
University of Bristol

I first encountered FreshEd in late 2015, and it’s amazing to reflect upon the growth and development of the podcast since then. Will has interviewed an impressive set of experts on key issues in contemporary education, and the launch of “Flux”and Eduquê have considerably broadened the scope and vision of FreshEd.

Of course, this impressive growth also makes it very difficult to select a recommended list of episodes. I decided to focus my recommendations on education and climate justice, a defining challenge of our times and an area of much exciting research:

Christina Kwauk & Radhika Iyengar are clear experts on education and climate change, and their critical views on trends in the field resonated with me, including worries of whether SDG 4.7 is too vague to result in meaningful action on environmental sustainability. They also engaged with the difficult question of transformation, and the problems of “indicators”.

FreshEd #180 ‘What’s the role of education in times of climate crisis?’ episode departs from the traditional interview format of FreshEd, and instead presents an engaging narrative that combines media clips related to Climate Change (including from youth activist Greta Thunberg), insightful narration, and interviews with Daniel Fischer, Iveta Silova and Gustavo Fishman.

Brilliant is the only word I can use to describe Mari Casellato’s Flux episode  The rich tapestry of sounds – including songs from children’s radio dramas and interviews with youth activists, is deeply engaging and immerses the listener in the story. Combined with Mari’s narration, which is both playful in a way that matches the focus on youth and ironic in a way that highlights the importance of the issues involved, the experience is deeply immersive and engaging. The “behind the scenes” episode goes deeper into both the issues of youth activism and the power of radio for communication.

Another key benefit of FreshEd is its usefulness as an educational resource, I’ll conclude by mentioning another great episode that we’ve used for an icebreaker discussion on our master’s programme at University of Bristol:

Prachi Srivastava’s ‘Educational planning in a time of coronavirus’ episode was recorded close to the onset of the pandemic and – unlike many analyses and predictions from the period – its aged very well. The conversation between Prachi and Will really gets to some of the core issues of equity involved, and it makes a great point for master’s students to start thinking about educational equity generally.

Thanks to Will and the FreshEd team for these wonderful contributions to discussions on education, climate justice and equity. Look forward to hearing more in the future.

February 1, 2022