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The Ripple Effect

Young people around the world are experiencing the impacts of climate change, and are also taking the lead on climate action.

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 is affecting them where they live, right now. It was premiered at the Glasgow IMAX during COP26 in November 2021.

Watch the film


Emphasising the unique experiences of their age group, the documentary features interviews, vlogs and mini films created by the young people. 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 the 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). The Ripple Effect has been filmed entirely by the young people involved, with production assistance from  filmmaker Paul Cooke (Professor of World Cinemas at the University of Leeds).

The Ripple Effect is a product of a youth summit held in April 2021 for Connecting Voices for Climate Action, a week of events 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.

Learn more about how the University of Leeds is involved with COP26.