Our initiative is a youth-led movement launched by Dr. Stefania Maggi with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We are a diverse team of established and emerging professionals and undergraduate and graduate students from different generations, cultures, and nationalities. We are a community of scholars, artists, game developers, musicians, and communication specialists who collaborate, mentor, and support each other. We have come together to do our part in the fight against climate change.

Our approach is compassionate and solution-oriented. Research has shown that when we connect with nature we tend to care more for the planet. We want young people to know that feeling overwhelmed by climate change is expected and that mindfulness and staying connected with nature and with one another are effective strategies to turn eco-anxiety into climate action. We have been creating original content on the emotional dimensions of climate change, nature connection, and mindfulness since the spring of 2021. A pillar of our initiative is Kibou | The Guiding Light, an action-adventure video game that will engage young people with the issue of climate change through a compelling narrative, ethical reward systems, visual aesthetics, nature sounds and music. Click here for a sneak peek on the free playable demo, scheduled to be released in early 2023.

The Background

Everywhere we turn, we are reminded of the unfolding climate crisis. Some of us have even experienced firsthand how devastating extreme weather events can be. Just in the past couple of years, Canada has had to contend with deadly heatwaves, forest fires, floods, Derechos, and hurricanes that have profoundly affected this country.  The threat that climate change poses to the survival of life on Earth can be paralyzing. But paralysis is the last thing we need because to thrive beyond the climate crisis we must come together to find and implement sustainable solutions.

Many of us are still disengaged with climate change despite acknowledging the urgency of the matter. Since climate change is an abstract concept that cannot be physically fought, we end up resorting to psychological distancing.  This means that while we know that something needs to be done, we are not ready to significantly contribute to the fight against climate change with our actions. In other words, most of us are by and large psychologically unprepared to face the climate crisis.

With your support, we will be able to continue offering evidence-informed social media content that promotes mental health, resilience, and community building among young people in Canada and abroad. Your support will also contribute to the academic and career development of the many undergraduate and graduate students who are involved in this initiative.

The Rollout

The funds will be used to support 4 undergraduate students and 1 graduate student who will participate in content creation and engagement strategy on the initiative’s various platforms; and to cover costs associated with the campaign such as subscriptions, website management, digital design, and ads. This 3-month budget has been estimated based on the past months of running the campaign on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and our own website (https://mochi4theplanet.com/). We aim to raise $2000 per student for a total of 10,000 that will support 5 students over three months.

The Impact

Being part of this initiative has exposed students to important learning opportunities academically and in the field of knowledge mobilization. Students are continually expanding their knowledge of the psychological dimension of climate change, how climate change impacts people at a global scale, and more specifically, how climate change is impacting the mental health and well-being of younger generations. They have also learned to critically engage with popular media content, weighing it against the scientific consensus on the matter. As a result, they have become more effective communicators who know how to motivate people to act environmentally and to enhance mental health and well-being. Knowing how to motivate action without scaring people away is a pillar of our knowledge mobilization strategy that is designed to avoid common pitfalls in science communication.

The impact of this initiative goes beyond the individuals involved. We are establishing ourselves as supporters and collaborators of Carleton University initiatives concerned with mental health and climate change (e.g., MeWeRTH and Climate Commons) and in doing so we are contributing to the realization of Carleton University’s strategic goal “strive for wellness, strive for sustainability. By involving students from different academic units, we also help students experience Carleton University beyond their own home departments.

Finally, we have an ambitious goal: to reach young people far beyond Canada. Given that a large part of our team is international, with representation from Europe and South Asia, our social media campaign has already made an entrance as far as India, Nepal, The Netherlands, and Italy.

With your support, we will be able to advance Carleton University’s reputation as an important contributor to the reduction of global carbon emissions. We will do so by improving the psychological preparedness of young people around the world to take meaningful and sustained climate action.

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