Date of Graduation

Summer 2023

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Kelly L’Engle, PhD


The greatest effects of climate change are likely to be felt by youth. Young people are disproportionately affected by climate change due to their critical developmental stage and lack of power, and they experience both higher severity and prevalence of mental health issues related to climate change. Strong emotions have long been recognized as potential catalysts for action, or they may lead to paralyzing feelings of being overwhelmed. Climate communication is a critical tool to spark climate concern and encourage action. Activism, in turn, may help youth manage their anxiety about climate change. This scoping review examines emerging evidence on communicating climate change issues with adolescents and identifying key characteristics or factors for success, particularly to facilitate climate action, and provides best practices to support adolescents to communicate their own messages on climate change as a potentially important avenue to engage youth action. The review includes peer-reviewed articles and gray literature focused on contextualizing adolescent development, best practices to work with youth/adolescents, and research on climate change education. The distinct social and neurodevelopmental stage of adolescents should be taken into consideration when communicating with youth on climate change and encouraging activism to harness their strengths and minimize their vulnerabilities. Climate change education should go beyond relaying facts and provide opportunities to support youth agency and action to transform perspectives. This review provides a practical synthesis of current information to foster successful climate communication for and by youth, and highlighting additional areas for further research.


Note: This paper is part of a series regarding eco-anxiety and climate activism among youth. The following papers are part of the series: Ask Your Doctor About: Prescribing Activism for Eco-Anxiety in Adolescents; Building Sustainable Environmental Activism Programs for Youth; Youth Climate Change Activism: How Activism in Youth can be Encouraged to Help Combat Climate Change and Reduce Youth Health Impacts; Utilizing the Power of Youth for Climate Action: Implications for Health Professionals; Meet Me in the Middle: A Scoping Review on Understanding Adolescent Needs in Climate Communication. These papers were written to meet USF MPH Behavioral Health program CEPH Foundational Competencies (Appendix B).