Historically marginalized communities have been at the forefront of experiencing the consequences of, and responding to, environmental degradation and climate change. Within these communities, young people are particularly affected by these circumstances, but they also stand to offer imaginative interventions.
Planning with the Future documents a research-practice partnership that seeks to better understand the environmental burdens that youth in frontline communities experience; identify and strategize around their ideas for the pursuit of a just climate transition; and support environmental improvement through coalition-building. This partnership emerged from Planet Texas 2050, and includes a team of UT Austin researchers, led by Assistant Professor Miriam Solis and Associate Professor in the Dell Medical School Carmen Valdez, and community members in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. Together, they collaborated with local youth on a series of exercises using “photovoice,” a participatory research method that amplifies participant voices and drives change.
Youth responded to prompts through photographs taken during their everyday lives. Paired with descriptions of their meaning, these images offer unique insight into youth experiences and perspectives. Planning with the Future will be published as part CAAD’s Centerline series to document this project. CAAD has also partnered with the research team in presenting the youth photographs and narratives through two exhibitions, the first of which was hosted by the Pharr Memorial Library in November 2023, and the second of which is on view at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) Vislab February 27-29, in conjunction with the Planet Texas 2050 symposium, or by reservation arranged with TACC.