Global Climate Teach-in Engages Tens of Thousands
Last week, as over 100 Bard College students gathered in small groups with faculty and staff to talk about climate solutions, they joined tens of thousands of students worldwide doing the same. The WorldWide Teach-in on Climate and Justice brought together climate-concerned educators and students at universities and high schools from Liberia to Colombia, Taiwan to Vienna, and Florida to Alaska, for bottom-up conversation about changing the future.
Bard alum Karianne Canfield helped facilitate a teach-in session on “Dealing with Climate Depression.” Following the discussion, a student came up to say that this was the first time they had felt empowered to address their deep anxiety about the planet heating up, and what it meant for their future.
Dr. Eban Goodstein at Bard, one of the Directors of the global teach-in, said that “We are living at a moment of extraordinary agency, with the tools at hand to solve the energy half of climate change by 2030. The Teach-in is moving young people from despair about climate change to engagement.” He added: “As voters, volunteers, interns and in their career choices as artists, activists, scientists, or business people, young people are working to stop climate change”.
The Bard College headline event began with a “low-carbon” dinner, and an art/dance performance. Over the next three hours, more than 25 faculty from multiple disciplines joined students in discussions including “Climate and Justice”, “Climate Stories and Songs”, “Climate Science: What You Need to Know”, and “Food Systems and Climate Solutions”. Students also learned about New York State’s ambitious climate law, and were invited to provide public comment.
In the Philippines, there were teach-ins at 8 different locations. Adrienne Hangad who helped organize an event at the Open University in Manila, was most engaged with the discussion about women and climate solutions. Prompted by a pre-teach-in discussion noting the absence of a climate change “anthem”, a team of Philippino organizers composed a powerful song, “Change Climate Change” that was played at the event.
In Kyrgyzstan, climate workshops were held at 15 to 20 sites across the capital city of Bishkek. And on April 20-21, there will be an Africa-wide teach-in dozens of cities and towns, organized by the African Network of Young Leaders for Peace and Sustainable Development.
Commenting on her teach-in experience, Sofía Gómez, a student from Bogotá, Colombia said “"I'm a strong believer in a mandatory class on climate change in schools and universities. This information allows us to open our eyes to how close we are to the climate crisis. Khadija Ghanizada, a Bard student added: “"The Teach-in was a window of hope for students. Most students I interact with are scared of climate change but also skeptical of the authorities and the work they are doing to mitigate it. We talked about how to push those in power to do their job in combating climate change."
Building on the base of more than 300 participating organizations, next year, the Teach-in Organizers hope to engage 1000 colleges, universities and other institutions, targeting 100,000 participants—or more. “There are tens of thousands of climate-concerned educators around the world”, said Project Director Goodstein. “The Teach-in provides a global platform for us to work together, to equip the rising generation with the tools and mindset to solve the climate crisis”.
The WorldWide Teach-in on Climate and Justice, and Bard’s flagship event, is a project of the Graduate Programs in Sustainability (GPS) at Bard College, with support from the Open Society University Network. GPS degree programs include MS degrees in Environmental Policy and Climate Science and Policy; the M Ed In Environmental Education, and the MBA in Sustainability, ranked the #1 Green MBA for 2021 and 2022, and among the top 10 MBA’s nationwide for Non-Profit Management for both years as well by the Princeton Review.