Pickard, S. (2022). Young environmental activists and Do-It-Ourselves (DIO) politics: collective engagement, generational agency, efficacy, belonging and hope. Journal of Youth Studies, 25(6), 1-21.
Young people are increasingly engaging in diverse forms of participatory politics, especially to obtain commitments from powerholders regarding climate change. Do-It-Ourselves (DIO) politics is a helpful concept to understand much of youth-led environmental activism today. It is when citizens participate politically beyond the ballot box, personally and collectively. For young environmental activists engaging in DIO politics, the ‘doing’ is brought about by feeling the need to react to institutional inefficacy, i.e. politicians not ‘doing’ enough. The importance of ‘ourselves’ is two-fold. First, it involves young citizens taking action themselves, but not just for themselves, outside party politics. Second, it entails young people acting together as part of a global generational movement, providing belonging and hope to a marginalised cohort that is being politically socialised in challenging times. Drawing on valuable data obtained through semi-structured interviews with school climate strikers (Fridays For Future) and Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists, this article contends that many young people today form a global generation unit engaging in DIO politics, notably environmental activism, due to their specific shared lived experiences. Theoretically and qualitatively, the article provides important insights to understand this particular young cohort’s concern for the environment, agency, efficacy, collective engagement and protest actions.