Worldwide teach-in will focus on climate change, solutions
Radford University is joining hundreds of universities, colleges, high schools and faith organizations on March 30 for a one-day worldwide teach-in focused on climate solutions and justice.
The event is designed to mobilize members of the campus and surrounding communities toward engaging in critical dialogue about climate issues.
Events at Radford University that day are scheduled for 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. on Heth Lawn. In the case of inclement weather, events will be held in the Hurlburt Student Center Auditorium.
Five panel discussions featuring Radford students, faculty and administrators are scheduled for the on-campus event, including:
- Panel 1: Climate science: What you need to know, 1:05 - 1:30 p.m.
- Panel 2: Climate justice, 1:30 -1:55 p.m.
- Panel 3: Climate politics, 2 - 2:25 p.m.
- Panel 4: Climate communication and storytelling, 2:30 - 2:55 p.m.
- Panel 5: What we can do/Solutions, 3 - 3:30 p.m.
“We hope this is a way to get more of the community engaged in discussions of sustainability, climate and positive change on campus,” said Brock Cutler, Ph.D., an associate professor of history and one of the campus event organizers. “This builds on the momentum of the Radford University Climate Commitment and Sustainability and Climate Action Plan that have been adopted recently.”
Rick Van Noy, Ph.D., a professor of English and panelist for the climate communication and storytelling discussion, noted that “among the most important things we can do as climate change grows more urgent is discuss it, have conversations about what we know, fear and hope. Climate change touches every discipline and every part of our state and region, so it's vital to have these conversations about the science, story and solutions concerning this most pressing problem.” Van Noy is the author of the book “Sudden Spring: Stories of Adaptation in a Climate-Changed South.”
The event is in step with Radford University’s goal to be a model of sustainability practices and policies, and the university’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan reaffirms the university’s commitment to carbon neutrality. On Nov. 13, 2020, former Radford President Brian O. Hemphill signed the Carbon Commitment, recognizing the increasing pace and detrimental impacts of climate change and the need for colleges and universities to exercise leadership to address the problem.
The core of the Carbon Commitment is the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2040 and integrate sustainability and climate action into the university curriculum and culture. The Carbon Commitment requires that signatory universities develop an implementation plan with a targeted carbon neutrality date.
A Sustainability Task Force was created in late 2020 to develop a new Sustainability and Climate Action Plan to guide the institution in fulfilling its Carbon Commitment pledge, embody the institution’s core value of sustainability and support the university’s mission. The Radford University Board of Visitors adopted the plan on Dec. 2, 2021.
“As educators, we have the opportunity to help all of our students, regardless of discipline, understand the extraordinary moment in which we are living,” said Cutler, who will be a panelist for the climate politics discussion. “As my teach-in colleagues at Bard College put it, today's students have about a 20-year window – working as artists, scientists, engineers, writers, business people, advocates, musicians, teachers – to stabilize the climate and profoundly change the future. Replacing students' widespread climate despair with the recognition of their agency as citizens, volunteers and in their professional work is one purpose of the teach-in.”