MY CLIMATE FUTURE: HIGH-SCHOOLERS PICTURE THEIR WORLD TO COME
Today's youths have effectively been marginalized in the national conversation around climate change. And yet they will be paying the price for the sins of their elders. By asking high-schoolers to picture how the rapidly evolving climate will impact their world years from now, SFO aims to amplify their views.
A proof-of-concept was conducted at Maine's Cape Elizabeth High School in the spring of 2023. Four students participated. As no photography instructor or sophisticated equipment was available for this effort—our former instructor having gone over to the dark side by joining the NYC probation agency—the quartet were provided with a resource for taking their photography skills up a notch and then set loose in the community with their smartphones. One participant, Trevor Oakley, was filmed during this expedition.
The photography and film clip formed the basis of SFO's application for funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, which had helped bankroll the nonprofit's second project. Should a grant materialize, SFO plans to conduct a full-scale effort project during the 2024-25 school year, both in Cape Elizabeth and on the South Shore of Long Island, New York. An exhibit, a publication, and a film are the intended outputs.
SFO was inspired by previous efforts around the world to leverage participatory photography in the service of combating global warming, in (clockwise from top left) Wales, Glasgow, Ethiopia, Cuba, MidCoast Maine, and Jordan.