Multicultural Multimedia Learning For Sustainability: A Narrative Case Study Of Green Guerrillas Youth Media Tech Collective

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Sustainability is a popular term used to describe many different types of activities and practices, though it has vastly different meanings to people depending on their cultural context. The Green Guerrillas Youth Media Tech Collective, a community organization based in Ithaca, New York, has set out to redefine sustainability by critically examining the relationship of poor people of color - the global majority - to the environments they live in as well as the political, economic, and social systems they interact with, by giving a diverse group of local teenagers the opportunity to engage these subjects through media production and positive youth development activities in a holistic job-training program. Based on a participatory action research study during the first two years of the organization, this study used participant observation, ethnography, and narrative inquiry to demonstrate that a supportive social learning environment engaged in multimedia production is a powerful tool for getting marginalized adolescents engaged in developing environmental and social critical consciousness, as well as fostering a sense of empowerment in their personal lives and their ability to generate social change. This supports them in navigating their own lives more in harmony with the environment and society, building the foundation for community resiliency and a more socially just and environmentally conscious world where biocultural diversity is respected and protected. The stories told by these young people and the adults who work with them contain essential embodied practical knowledge and philosophical insights about the social dynamics of learning that contribute an important critical perspective to the conversations and praxis around broad, interconnected concepts of sustainability and multicultural environmental education.
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