Youth Are Leading: The Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect is a film made by young people from the UK and South Africa on the ways – sometimes less obvious – in which climate change impacts are affecting them where they live, right now.

Emphasising the unique experiences of their age group, the documentary features interviews, vlogs and mini films created by the young people, who also narrate. Water-related impacts are a key theme: in the UK, children talk about their experiences of flooding, while in South Africa water shortages are a major issue. Cutting across all of the experiences is the deep concern the young people share about their futures, their families, the destruction of the natural environment and climate justice.

The film is a collaborative effort from a team including University of Leeds, Leeds City Council, the Yorkshire and Humber Youth Work Unit, Regional Youth Climate Assembly, the Place-based Climate Action Network, British Youth Council, and Youth@SAIIA (the South African Institute of International Affairs youth programme). It is produced by filmmaker Paul Cooke (Professor of World Cinemas at the University of Leeds) but fundamentally shaped by the young people involved.

The Ripple Effect is a product of a youth summit held in April 2021 for Connecting Voices for Climate Action, organised by the University of Leeds. The summit provided the impetus for continuing the cultural exchange and the young people have worked together through a series of online workshops, as well as independently, to produce the final documentary and accompanying social media campaign.

The showing will be followed by a presentation and Q&A with a group of the young filmmakers, who will share their own experiences of making the film and working internationally, and talk about what motivated them to get involved in the project and how they want to influence local, as well as global decision-makers.