The voices and actions of child activists against the climate crisis


  • BIANCA ORRICO SERRÃO Institute of Education, Department of Social Sciences and Education, University of Minho R. da Universidade, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
  • MANUEL JACINTO SARMENTO Department of Social Sciences and Education, Institute of Education, University of Minho R. da Universidade, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
  • JULIANA PRATES SANTANA Psychology Department, Institute of Psychology, Federal University of Bahia R. Aristides Novis, 197, Estrada de São Lázaro, CEP 40210-730, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil



Aim. The work has as main objective to present some of the actions of children considered activists to face the climate crisis through social media. Technologies and social media
allow them a new form of existence and action through their posts, whether is in video,
photo or text format, promoting interactions and discussions that captivate hundreds or
thousands of followers.
Methods. Data collection was carried out from a digital ethnography, analysing the
social media and linked news in the media of 13 children from different countries (Australia,
United States, India, Holland, England, Indonesia, South Africa, Uganda and Sweden) over
an 18-month period.
Results. To understand the data, digital ethnography was used as a strategy to follow
the main interactions and online mobilisations through different social media (Facebook,
Instagram and Twitter), as well as linked news in the media about those children, and
articulation of them with governmental, non-governmental organizations and private companies. In relation to the selection of participants, the profi le of a child activist was added
and through the algorithms of these platforms other activists with similar profi les were
found that promote content about climate justice.
Conclusions. It was possible to identify that the Internet has enabled the visibility and
articulation of children’s actions on the theme, and how this engagement has promoted
awareness and changes to fi ght against the climate crisis. It is worth emphasising the
importance of digital literacy so that access to these spaces is carried out safely and responsibly for this social group.


Download data is not yet available.


Chakrabarty, D. (2000). Provincializing Europe. Postcolonial thought and historical difference. Princeton & Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Dencik, L., & Wilkin, P. (2017). Digital activism and the future of worker resistance. In: G. Meikle (Ed). The Routledge Companion to Media and Activism, Routledge Media and CulturalStudies (pp. 125-133). Companions, Routledge, London, England.

Deslandes, S. (2018). Digital activism and its contribution to political decentralization. Science & Collective Health, 23(10), 3133-3136.

Dholakia, N. & Zhang, D. (2004). Online qualitative research in the age of e-commerce: data sources and approaches. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(2), 1-10.

European Commission Eurydice (2017). Citizenship education at school in Europe - 2017. Eurydice Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Fernandes, N. (2005). Children’s rights at the crossroads of protection and participation. Zero-a-Seis Electronic Magazine, 7(12), 1-10.

Ferreira, N. (2018). Media arenas as a stage for minority struggles. Media and Daily Magazine, 12(1), 24-41.

Jorge, A. & Marôpo, L. (2017). Digital media and rights: Perspectives of young people with cancer. Public Communication, (12)22, 1-14.

Kulp, S., Strauss, B. (2019) New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal fl ooding. Nature Communications, (10) 4844, 1-12.

Liebel, M. & Gaitán, L. (2019). The power of boys and girls. Notes on the protagonism of children’s movements today. Society and Childhood Magazine, 3, 15-20.

Lundy, L. (2015). National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-Making. Ireland Department of Children and Youth Affair.

Mignolo, W. (2003). Local Stories/Global Projects. Coloniality, subordinate knowledge and preliminary thinking. Belo Horizonte: Publisher UFMG.

Miller, D., Costa, E., Haynes, N., McDonald T., Nicolescu, R., Sinanan, J., Spyer, J., Venkatraman, S. & Wang, X.. (2016). How world changed social media. London: UCL Press.

Murthy, D. (2008). Digital ethnography: An examination of the use of new technologies for social research. Sociology, 42(5), 5837-855.

Rizzini, I. et al. (2005). Children’s Perspectives on Citizenship and National-Building. Rio de Janeiro: CIESPI/ PUC-Rio.

Rizzini, I. Thapliyal, N. & Pereira, L. (2007). Perceptions and experiences of citizen participation of children and adolescents in Rio de Janeiro. Katál Magazine. Florianopolis (10), 164-177.

Sarmento, M., Fernandes, N. & Tomás, C. (2007). Public policies and child participation. Education, Society & Cultures, 25, 183-206.

Sunstein, C. (1995). Democracy and the problem of free speech. Publishing Research Quarterly, 11, 58–72.

Tomás, C. & Fernandes, N. (2004). Childhood, protagonism and Citizenship: contributions to a sociological analysis of childhood citizenship, Magazine Sociological Forum, 11(12), 349 – 361.

Unesco (2016). Planet: Education for environmental sustainability and green growth.

The 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report). United Nations Educational, Scientifi c and Cultural Organization.

Unicef (2013). Climate change: children’s challenge. Climate Change Report 2013. Unicef, United Kigdom.




How to Cite

ORRICO SERRÃO, B., JACINTO SARMENTO, M., & PRATES SANTANA, J. (2021). The voices and actions of child activists against the climate crisis. E-Methodology, 7(7), 35–50.



“On the Internet” – Research