From September 8 – 10, Cari-Bois’ first cohort of youth journalists covered The Cropper Foundation and Journal of CESaRE’s 2023 Gen Z Climate Conference. This latest piece published under Cari-Bois’ I WANT TO BE AN ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTER project was written by Simran Ali.
On September 9, youth advocate Ashley Lashley, and Journal of CESaRE co-founder, Dr Masaō Ashtine, discussed the influence of Instagram on their climate activism during The Cropper Foundation and CESaRE’s online Gen Z Climate Conference.
Since its rise in the early 2000s, social media has played an influential role in facilitating conversations about a number of societal issues.
As the access to social media has expanded, more people around the world continue to have a platform to voice their opinions.
Today, Tik Tok and Instagram are amongst the most used apps in the world by members of Generation Z (Gen Z) according to Forbes magazine with many of those young users utilising the platforms to raise awareness for different social and environmental issues.
A UNICEF Youth Advocate and Caricom Youth Ambassador, Lashley shared that Instagram has played an influential role in many of the campaigns she has organised while serving in these roles.
Reflecting on her activism, Lashley said social media has been a key element and over the years, she has been able to expand her reach and audience.
She explained, “As a climate activist and young person, social media has played a great role in the development of my activism.”
Reflecting on his earlier experiences with social media, Dr Ashtine admitted it wasn’t always easy.
For example, when the social media pages of the Journal CESaRE were first created, it took a lot of work to figure out what would have been the best time to post content given the page had followers from all around the world.
He recalled asking himself, “When is the best time to post a photo?”
Over the past several years, Dr Ashtine said the Journal’s team has been able to expand its understanding of social media and the management of its pages.
Today, the Journal’s Instagram account alone has over 14,000 followers which he said is important to ensure it can continue raising awareness for important environmental issues and highlighting Caribbean research.
Looking forward, people can continue tapping into the power of social media platforms to raise awareness and mobilise support for environmental change.
In addition to there already being many stories about how people are affected by climate change, there are also many positive stories about how people are working to reduce the effect of these changes.
For this and many other reasons, young people in particular can continue being storytellers for their generation to better understand climate change.