Climate Change Education

March 3, 2021

As chair of geography and someone who studies the impact of climate change on stormy weather, it is clear to me that education is key in the fight against climate change. Knowledge helps young folks find solutions and encourages them to modify their behavior. It also helps them process the growing emergency.

As Jonathan Foley from Project Drawdown notes: to solve the climate crises we need to use all the pieces, we need to employ multiple strategies, and we need to have a synoptic view of the entire chess board. Young people are eager to make the opening move. They are excited about the cross-disciplinary connections and the broad systems approach to solving problems.

A graduate program focused on climate solutions staffed with a diverse faculty will foster a well-trained workforce with strong adaptive capacity.

The FSU/FAMU connection is well positioned to make this happen. A climate solutions program aligns with the strategic goal of encouraging and incentivizing high-impact, interdisciplinary and between-college initiatives that address pressing societal concerns.

Our proposal calls for a two-year interdisciplinary Master of Science program in climate solutions with a partnership by the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

The program will admit students across a range of fields and will lend itself to graduates of environmental and engineering majors. The curriculum will introduce students to new research technologies that combat climate change and equip them with practical knowledge, methods, and experience to achieve solutions in reducing greenhouse gases. A studio group project will anchor a curriculum that partners students with companies, NGOs, and government agencies that face practical climate-based challenges.

And there will be broader impacts. A recent study published in PLoS One reported individual reductions in carbon emissions of 3 tons of CO2 per year for students completing just a single year course focused on climate change.

We look forward to working with folks here and elsewhere to launch what we believe will be a flagship program and a model for graduate teaching and research collaboration in Tallahassee.