The Nexus of Adolescent and Planetary Wellbeing: Exploring Adolescent Practices for Living Well and Sustainably

A special issue of Adolescents (ISSN 2673-7051). This special issue belongs to the section "Adolescent Health Behaviors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 January 2025 | Viewed by 157

Special Issue Editor

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Guest Editor
Young Lives Research Lab, Faculty of Education, York University, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada
Interests: social development of adolescents amidst overarching social and ecological crises; adolescent wellbeing; anticolonial education; digital technology; anthropocene; climate justice; youth-centric environmental education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The 2022 United Nations (UN) Human Development Report identified overarching ecological, climate and social crises as the causes of unprecedented declines in human wellbeing in 90% of the world's countries. The planet is now home to the largest global adolescent cohort in history with 2.6 billion young people under the age of 20 and another 2.3 billion between 21 and 39. This largest-ever cohort of youth are not mere passive spectators; youth wellbeing fares poorly and disproportionately amidst overarching ecological and social crises where declines in wellbeing are reported in 90% of the world’s countries. However, young people from many places demonstrate deep insight and climate justice actions towards stewardship of the planet that targets sustainable livelihoods, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions and temperatures by 2030. For instance, Greta Thunberg, Autumn Peltier and thousands of other adolescents across the Global South and North have famously inspired ecological justice efforts as clear examples of leadership, action, and advocacy at individual, community, national and global levels (e.g., legal challenges, community projects, climate movements) towards planetary health; defined as “...the highest attainable standard of health, wellbeing, and equity worldwide through judicious attention to the human systems—political, economic, and social—that shape the future of humanity and the Earth’s natural systems and defines the safe environmental limits within which humanity can flourish”.  The UN is tracking many adolescent actions that address planetary health through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 17 intersecting targets for sustaining life on the planet. However, we do not yet know the scope, meaning or consequences of these various actions for adolescents themselves as they live and negotiate the intersections of marginalization and discrimination by racialization, poverty, ageism, Indigeneity, place, and ecological precarity. Adolescents remain undervalued sources of wisdom from which to learn from their distinct perspectives and practices to meet ecological injustices and challenges that they face.

This Special Issue contributes to a growing body of evidence of linkages between adolescent and planetary wellbeing, specifically as observed and recorded alongside young people and their various communities.  The aim is to record the range and efficacy of practices (individual and collective) at various levels from community projects to global movements to enhance. wellbeing. Previous research suggests that adolescent engagement in climate action positively influences their knowledge, sense of wellbeing and empowerment. Negative eco-emotions like climate anxiety, frustration, depression, and anger lessen psychological wellbeing, but also elevate adolescent engagement in climate action and hope. These articles detail how various practices impact adolescent wellbeing in holistic and relational ways (e.g., relatedness to others and planet, equity, youth engagement, education) and acknowledge the centrality of adolescents as both present and future generations. Authors focus on socio-ecological and cultural frameworks, data, and analyses about how adolescents attempt to live well and sustainably and what this means for them in considering the following questions:  How are adolescents and their communities now defining and practicing living well and sustainably?  What are the pressing educational, policy, and practice innovations that adolescents seek?  What remains to be learned?  How could we better support and amplify the work that adolescents are doing through meaningful intergenerational and intercultural partnerships (local and transnational)?  

Dr. Kate C. Tilleczek
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Adolescents is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • adolescent wellbeing
  • planetary health
  • planetary wellbeing
  • youth climate justice
  • living sustainably
  • intergenerational justice
  • youth climate movements
  • land-based solutions
  • ecologies of repair

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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