The Climate Crisis: Justice, emotion and social change


This course explores a range of social and political perspectives on the climate crisis. You will learn about the centrality of social inequality to the climate crisis and how this informs ‘climate justice’ approaches, eco-social policy, and calls for a ‘just transition’.

You will also consider the importance of emotion in both responding and not responding to the climate crisis; and reflect on communication practices in the New Zealand climate movement.

Target audience:
This course will be of interest to the general public, particularly anyone interested in climate science and/or sociology.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will have:

  • Learnt about social and political issues surrounding the climate crisis
  • Appreciated the diverse ways social inequality interacts with climate change
  • Recognised a range of policy and social movement responses to the climate crisis

Course outline:
Each session includes a lecture presentation with time for questions and group discussion.

Session 1: Introduction: Climate justice and human wellbeing
Session 2: Why haven’t we done more? (Guest lecturer: Sam Crawley)
Session 3: The climate crisis and emotion
Session 4: Understanding climate activism
Session 5: Eco-social policy and a ‘just transition’
Session 6: Climate communication

There is a short break halfway through each session and you are welcome to bring your own refreshments if you wish.

Jonathan Oosterman has worked in recent years as a Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at Victoria University. His research focuses on the climate crisis, and he has a background in climate activism. He has given lectures and presentations on the climate crisis in a range of courses in Sociology, Social Policy, and Environmental Studies.

Relevant links:
School of Social and Cultural Studies

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140
Phone 04 463 6556, Email:

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.