In an effort to bring awareness to Climate Education month in October, the University of Hawaiʻi Office of Sustainability is organizing a series of events throughout the month to support faculty in teaching transdisciplinary and emotionally complex topics related to the climate crisis.
A web series called “Lunch & Learn” will bring together faculty across campuses to share ideas and learn from invited speakers. The emphasis will be on teaching and learning, both in class and on campus.
Climate Education month will also include the Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education to be held October 20–22. UH Mānoa and Honolulu Community College students, faculty and staff will be eligible to attend the virtual event for free (a $125–$300 value). Normally held in person each year, this year’s conference will deliver inspiring content, engaging networking opportunities and keynote speakers and presenters.
“Teaching Climate Change is somewhat hit or miss when it comes to what students are learning in the classrooms about climate change,” said Krista Hiser, director of the UH Center for Sustainability Across Curriculum. “When faculty can move through our own stages of resistance, grief and anxiety about the scale and magnitude of climate crises we are living through, we can learn how to hold space for students, and their complex emotions related to an increasingly uncertain future. We are each other’s best teachers for that.”
“All UH students deserve to understand climate change and how it will impact Hawaiʻi; value indigenous ancestral knowledge systems; utilize core concepts in sustainability; and be equipped to take empowered action,” said Matthew K. Lynch, director of sustainability initiatives. “Climate Education month can help us to imagine how the University of Hawaiʻi might transform to meet these times.”
Climate Education month kicks off Friday, October 2, at 12:15 p.m. with “Teaching in the (M)anthropocene,” an all-wahine panel including: Victoria Keener (climate commissioner), Jaclyn Lindo (economics professor, Kapiʻolani Community College), Jenny Webster (English professor, Windward Community College) and Manulani Meyer (Konohiki, UH West Oʻahu).
Other upcoming sessions include: “Teaching Climate Change Affectively” with Ilana Stout (ecology professor, Hawaiʻi Community College) on October 7 and “Inspiring Climate Action by Envisioning Higher Education for Sustainability after the Sh*t Hit(s) the Fan” with guest presenter Paul Morgan (West Chester University of Pennsylvania) on October 13.
In addition, networking sessions for UH personnel will be held before and after the Global Conference on Sustainability in Higher Education. Speakers for the closing keynote session on October 30 will be announced.