Climate Change Educational Initiative created for students

With concerns internationally about the potential impact of climate change globally and its perceived role with the ongoing drought in California, Dominican faculty have teamed to create “Climate Change Educational Initiative Fall 2015” which includes eight DUC events and the collaboration of 25 courses. A ninth event, coordinated by the Marin chapter of Organizing for Action, will be moderated by Dominican President Mary B. Marcy and feature U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman

The Educational Initiative is designed to help students learn about the science of climate change, its scientific and social consequences and public policies addressing the issue. It began Wednesday afternoon, September 9, in Edgehill Mansion with “Finding Common Ground,” a brown bag discussion led by Dr. Mairi Pileggi, Assistant Professor of Communications and Media Studies. The series concludes with “Time to Lead on Climate: CA: US: UN” featuring four guest speakers including Huffman, who serves California’s 2nd District in the House of Representatives, on November 9 in Angelico Hall. It will be followed by a student panel discussion on November 11 in Edgehill Mansion.

“There is growing evidence of serious negative impacts associated with our changing climate and, while there’s debate about the cause of this, few will deny that we need to adapt,” says Dr. Chase Clow, chair of Humanities and Cultural Studies, Religion, Philosophy.

“This initiative strongly comports with the mission of the institution. We’re staying apace with the world’s concerns and making sure our students are educated and informed about critical global issues. For example, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21 will take place November 30 through December 11 of this year in Paris, France. We’ll be debating the very issues our world leaders will be debating.”

The genesis of the Educational Initiative was a conversation between Clow, a member of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, and Dr. Wil Burns, its past president, who expressed an interest in speaking at Dominican this fall. Clow then invited faculty from the School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, the School of Health and Natural Sciences and the Barowsky School of Business to meet Dr. Burns, which ultimately resulted in the Initiative.

This fall 25 courses from multiple disciplines require a shared reading (two chapters from Riders in the Storm: Ethics in an Age of Climate Change) and attendance at “Setting the Stage: Panel on Change” on September 16 in Guzman Lecture Hall.  A slideshow presentation appears on Dominican Scholar and the panel discussion was recorded as a Penguin Radio podcast.

The panel included Dr. Burns, Dr. Andrew Jones, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Climate Science Department at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Lara Rozzell, Renewable Energy Coordinator for the Pacific West Region of the National Park Service.

Students are encouraged to attend all events, including a “Climate Change and Social Justice” themed performance by students in the LINES Ballet BFA in Dance program on October 30-31 in Angelico Hall.

The goal is for students to learn the importance and value of promoting sustainability and, ideally, to become ethical leaders and peer educators on the issue of climate change.

For more information and the complete series schedule, visit Dominican’s Climate Change Educational Initiative Fall 2015 webpage.


August 26, 2015