Heading into 2020, Siena College has a new goal: to be more conscious of climate change and take steps to combat it within our own community. According to the College, “climate change is an existential crisis, and it intersects with everything that Siena cares about as a Franciscan community.” The College is encouraging students to participate in the No Plastics Challenge, wherein they take pictures of themselves and post them to social media any time they make a choice to use a non-plastic material in place of a plastic one. The challenge has had trouble making its way around campus, which is why the college has decided to put on a series of lectures entirely dedicated to informing the student body about climate change.
The School of Science is sponsoring a year-long lecture series dedicated to the topic. Each month, the school will be hosting academics from different fields, all of whom will be discussing how climate change affects their discipline. The series is being spearheaded by the Dean of the School of Science, John Cummings, Ph.D. Sarah Berke, Ph.D, Nora Mills Boyd, Ph.D and Tom Dickens, Ph.D, from the biology, philosophy and religious studies departments respectively, are organizing each talk. The first talk took place on January 30th, when Nora Mills Boyd, Ph.D gave a talk on Philosophy and Climate Science. The next talk is on February 27th, when Jim Booker, Ph.D gives a talk on the Economics of Climate Change, entitled “Climate and the Policy Conundrum: The Difficult Prospects of Alternative Approaches”. For a full list of the scheduled Climate Series talks, click here.
While Siena College has a way to go until being fully sustainable, many professors are excited to share this climate series, in an attempt to educate students on both the large scale way to tackle it, and how they can individually make a difference. Nora Mills Boyd, Ph.D says, “The Siena campus and our broader community need to educate ourselves about climate change so we can better fulfill our responsibilities to skillfully address it. We’re not doing enough, and we won’t find the motivation to take meaningful action unless we take the time to really look the problem in the face…” As students attend the climate series talks, they are doing their part in educating themselves about the issue, and faculty hope that by listening to the talks, students will begin to take action on their own. Tom Dickens, Ph.D adds, “Siena’s Climate Change Series joins a worldwide dialogue seeking the best paths forward…”
By hosting this Climate Change Series, Siena College is taking a necessary first step in the fight to combat climate change. By hearing from experts in a number of different fields, students will be presented with various actions they can personally take, and will be given the tools to contextualize climate change as a global phenomenon. Since Siena is taking the first step by offering students the opportunity to hear about climate change and sustainability from a variety of different perspectives, it is important that students make an effort to attend these lectures, and show the school that we care. Without students showing that they care about campus wide issues, very little can happen to fix them.