Module 3: Encouraging students’ engagement with local issues

Citizenship and local issues

In this module we will see how to make a difference, to engage people around you and raise awareness on relevant topics.

This section deals with
* Understanding what citizenship involves
* Learning to empower people to achieve local engagement in climate action
* Raising awareness of different target groups

Have you ever felt the wish to raise the attention on a specific topic that you care about?
For example, what if you find out that the little park next to your house is about to be sold for building a big office building? What would you do?

Or, what if you notice that the local beach is full of plastic trash? Would you like to make also other people notice and do something about it? Great!

Citizenship and participation

Citizenship refers to the status of being a member of a country or state, with corresponding rights and responsibilities.

It involves actively participating in the political, social, and economic activities of your community and contributing to the betterment of the society as a whole.

Local engagement, on the other hand, refers to the involvement of citizens in their local communities. This includes participating in local governance, community service, volunteering, and other activities that promote the well-being of the community.

The aim is to connect people meaningfully with local climate change issues and concerns so that they feel they are making a difference.

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Community involvement

Local engagement is an essential aspect of citizenship, as it enables citizens to have a direct impact on the issues that affect their immediate surroundings.

Activity: Watch the video to understand what is community and why is so important to build community engagement around us.

Activity: Explore the Community Toolbox (https://ctb.ku.edu/en/about-the-tool-box) to find out more about community engagement.
Consider how this might relate to the impacts of climate change.

When citizens are engaged locally, they are more likely to be informed about the issues that affect their community and to be active in addressing them. They also have a better understanding of the workings of local government and can advocate for policies and initiatives that benefit their community.

Engaging people in climate change

It’s normal for people to feel anxious or overwhelmed by climate change, but this needs to be turned into something more positive and productive.

Some likely approaches could include:
* Resonate with your audience: position climate change as part of their everyday life
* Find values and language that people can relate to, for example if the phrase climate change does not work with people, consider using another term
* Focus on facts, rather than opinions
* Avoid politicising issues.
* Catalyse change: nurture agency and empowerment
* Build balanced optimism, focus on dialogue and co-production of change

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