1st Edition

Global Climate Education and its Discontents Using Drama to Forge a New Way

Edited By Kathleen Gallagher, Christine Balt Copyright 2025
    370 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    370 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This innovative and practical book offers pedagogical tools to show how drama can be used in educational settings to advance a relational, action-oriented, interdisciplinary and creative climate education attuned to the social and emotional effects of the climate emergency. Based on a six-year ethnographic research study taking place with teachers, artists, community leaders and young people globally, and taking its lead from the following provocation – can performance become a site for new imaginaries for socio-ecological justice? – the book explores the unique conceptual and pedagogical ‘discontents’ of climate education across geographically and culturally distinct sites of learning. It also examines how artful engagement through drama pedagogies can open up more collective, critical, and hopeful forms of thinking and being.


    The book is divided into two sections. The first part of the book, Local Engagements and Encounters, consists of chapters that conduct an in-depth appraisal of the local artistic work from each site, examining how matters of socio-ecological justice are given fresh urgency and complexity through the application of performance as pedagogy. The second part of the book, Pedagogical and Artistic Innovations, offers substantive praxis chapters on the drama-based pedagogical methods employed in the research. In these chapters, the world-building capacities of theatre-making offer up new, performative pedagogical orientations to the climate emergency beyond those of critique.


    Global Climate Education and its Discontents: Using Drama to Forge a New Way is valuable reading for scholars interested in the ontological and epistemological dimensions of the climate emergency within and across the following fields: drama, theatre and performance studies, applied theatre and drama education, educational research, and children/childhood and youth studies. The book also invites a readership of teachers and teacher-educators who are interested in applying drama pedagogies in the classroom to explore matters of socio-ecological justice and the climate crisis.

    Foreword: A Scientist's Perspective

    Lenore Fahrig


    Introduction: Living the Contradictions: Theatre and the Arts as Deep, Life-sustaining Frameworks for Climate Education on an Exhausted Planet

    Kathleen Gallagher and Christine Balt


    Part 1: Local Engagements and Encounters


    1. Building a Global Ensemble as Alternative Education for the Climate Emergency: Theatre Pedagogies for Activating Artist-citizens in Tkarón:to/Toronto

    Kathleen Gallagher


    2. Esperanza Ambiental: Cultivating Environmental Hope in Bogotá through Pedagogies of Humility and Risk

    Jorge Arcila, Fredy Oswaldo González Cordero, Celeste Kirsh, Nancy Cardwell, and Christine Balt


    3. Engaging Youth with the Climate Crisis: Playful Tactics for Dialogue and Devising in Coventry

    Rachel Turner-King and Bobby Smith


    4. Unravelling Narratives of Climate Change, Gender and Livelihood in Lucknow: An Ecofeminist Perspective

    Urvashi Sahni, Munia Debleena Tripathi and Christine Balt


    5. Towards a Glocalized Critical Sensory Pedagogy: Explorations of Heavy Industry and Climate (In)justice in Kaohsiung

    Betsy Lan and Chia-Ling Yang


    6. The Tacit Knowledge of Environmental Experience: Theatre, Cultural Reckonings, and ‘Publicing’ in Thessaloniki

    Myrto Pigkou-Repousi


    7. The Digital Dilemma: Navigating Place, Space, Relationships and Possibilities in Global Youth-based Climate Education Research

    Lindsay Valve


    Part 2: Pedagogical and Artistic Innovations


    8. Beyond the Public Service Announcement: Navigating Hard Facts and Dissident Feelings in the Climate Emergency through Verbatim Theatre

    Christine Balt


    9. Performative Pedagogies and Creative Courage: Building New Worlds during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Nancy Cardwell


    10. Exploring Resistance and Acceptance at the Threshold of the Future: Speculative Fiction and Human Desires

    Ashleigh A. Allen


    11. Virtual, Sonic Drama as Climate Crisis Pedagogy: Listening to the Environment to better Understand our Place in the World

    Celeste Kirsh


    12. Fiction and Embodiment as Gateways to Explore Posthuman Togetherness

    Munia Debleena Tripathi


    13. Provoking 'Eco-gladness': Movement across Four Drama Pedagogies

    Andrew Kushnir


    14. Attending to Settler-colonial and Indigenous Histories in Tkaronto/Toronto: ‘Being in Common’ and Acknowledging Land through Site-specific Performance

    Christine Balt, Kathleen Gallagher, Nancy Cardwell, Celeste Kirsh


    Afterword: Gifts from Locality

    Amanda Buffalo


    Kathleen Gallagher is Director of the Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Distinguished Professor, Gallagher studies theatre as a powerful medium for expression by young people of their experiences and understandings.

    Christine Balt is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research takes place at the intersection between theatre, pedagogy, ecology, and collective wellbeing in the lives of young people living in cities.

    "Global Climate Education and its Discontents is a necessarily audacious response to the high-stakes challenge of how to live and educate amidst multiple, complex ecological crises. Through richly described and theorised practice, each chapter shows how drama is more than a tool in the environmental education toolbox. Rather, collaborative theatre and performance by and with youth are powerful ecopedagogies that activate other ways of knowing and, potentially, other climate futures. I’ve long been waiting for a book like this and have already started setting chapters as readings for my courses." -- Molly Mullen, Waipapa Taumata Rau – University of Auckland, New Zealand

    "This rich book could not have arrived at a better time, offering trajectories of hope in difficult times. Writing in a context – the UK – where the arts are routinely disparaged and devalued, the centring of drama as a vital and meaningful way to practice socio-ecological pedagogy offers me something of a lifeline, powerfully reminding me of just what drama is capable of. Built on foundations of multi-generational and transnational research spanning many years, this research ensemble ethically centres the experiences, insights, feelings and dreams of young people. Conceptual gifts which I now carry close include found pedagogy, esperanza ambiental, eco-gladness, theatre publicing, and glocalised critical sensory pedagogy." -- Professor Dee Heddon, James Arnott Chair in Drama, University of Glasgow, UK

    "This book is of exceptional importance at a time of global crisis. It uses the concept of ‘discontent’ with climate education as a wake-up call for active and collective engagement with environmental emergencies in local and global contexts. Three forms of dramatic performative tools – Verbatim Theatre, Devising, and Site-Specific Theatre – are utilized to generate a collective understanding of the healing, care, and recovery of the earth’s ecosystems. The unique and passionately argued chapters come together in interrelated arguments that are connected in their search for ecological recovery as it emerges in an ensemble of different knowledge systems." -- Urmimala Sarkar Munsi, Professor and Dean, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India