Student-Created Videos of Climate Change Vulnerability: Opportunity for connection and care


Climate change is increasingly being seen as a complex problem that requires a change in personal and practical dimensions. To support this, climate change educators need to make use of pedagogic approaches that enable students to engage in relational values of care, empathy and connection alongside understanding the problem and potential responses. Participatory approaches, whereby students engage with members of local communities to understand climate change vulnerability, have the potential to create opportunities for connection between students, communities, universities and society in theory and practice. We describe a student video project that took place in a third-year course Sustainability and the Environment in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. Students worked in groups to undertake and film a vulnerability assessment with individuals or organisations around Cape Town in relation to the city’s water crisis. Their group submission, a documentary video, needed to tell a story about social vulnerability and adaptation to the water crisis. Through a carefully scaffolded process, students’ reflections indicated that the vulnerability video process helped them to understand the concept of vulnerability and strengthen their care for and connection to those ‘vulnerable’ to climate impacts. This kind of process-oriented authentic learning experience holds potential for increasing climate change literacy that other educators might consider.

Keywords: climate change education; video and film; climate change vulnerability; authentic learning; ethics and care

Author Biographies

Gina Ziervogel, University of Cape Town

Gina Ziervogel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science at UCT.  Her research focuses on multi-level governance, urban climate adaptation and transdisciplinary processes for urban transformation. 

Nicola Pallitt, Rhodes University

Dr. Nicola Pallitt is a senior lecturer and an educational technology specialist in the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) at Rhodes University. At the time of the project covered in this paper, she worked at UCT


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2411-5959
print ISSN: 0256-7504