Turn it Around! Flashcards for Education Futures
Climate disruption, loss of biodiversity, overuse of earth’s resources, and ecological collapse threaten all life on earth. But there is much we can do to turn it around and address the root causes of the climate crisis. Education is an important part of the solution, but education itself must undergo a radical transformation to ensure more sustainable and ecologically just futures.
Turn it Around!
June 2021 - January 2022
Addressing the climate crisis is a complex, multifaceted effort that requires collaboration across academic disciplines, national borders, and political interests. The “Turn It Around!” initiative focuses specifically on the role of education in turning around the environmental catastrophe. It starts with the premise that education is directly implicated in the climate crisis and our failure to imagine alternatives. Our initiative aims to disrupt the status quo by radically reimagining our approach to education, and our relationship with nature and the living world.
What we did
Mobilizing the power of socially engaged art to move people into action, this initiative was designed to ‘move’ politicians, policymakers, and educators into a different state of thinking and being. At the center of our work is one of the most basic learning tools – a deck of flashcards – designed by youth for decision-makers at all levels to challenge them to think, see, and act in new ways. Called “Turn It Around!”, the deck features cards displaying climate crisis inspired artwork created by youth on one side, and motives, actions, and facts for policy makers to guide their decisions about our futures, on the other side. Much like flashcards for literacy and numeracy, the cards introduce adult learners to new vocabulary and perspectives shared by youth. Unlike the traditional flashcards, this collection is designed to also shift and shuffle existing knowledge and practice, which may have been forgotten, ignored, or even erased from the modern map of global knowledge production. By flipping who teaches who and what knowledge matters, this project is a reminder that everyone – and everything – must change.
This initiative brings together Education, Art, and Sustainability faculty and student researchers – graduate and undergraduate students across the disciplines – with external partners (Open Society Foundations, UNESCO Futures of Education initiative, and Artists’ Literacies Institute).