Campus News

Climate Action Can’t Wait: Student Reflections During the UN Climate Conference

Bokie Muigai November 22, 2023
clock in the road

As leaders from government, NGOs, businesses, and civil society gathered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for the UN’s climate change conference (COP 28), faculty member Ans Irfan, MD, EdD, DrPH, ScD, MPH, MRPL, assigned his latest project for students in his PM599 course.  The conference serves as an opportunity for decision makers to deliberate on concrete solutions to the climate challenges of our time. In this light, Irfan challenged his students to apply their climate knowledge blended with their creativity, imagination, and leadership skills to create effective solutions to tackle climate crises.

This year’s conference theme ‘Climate Action Can’t Wait’, is reflective of the practice that Irfan incorporates in his teaching, bringing world events to the classroom and education training to social innovation and change. He empowers students to see the urgency of the climate crisis as a collective issue. He also aims to establish ‘affect-based learning’ and energize students to become allies for assessments that are rooted in climate solutions while helping to position them as global climate thinkers.

“My students are some of the brightest, creative, and innovative thinkers, as one can see reflected in the creative expression imbued with social innovation and impact through public scholarship geared towards mobilizing climate-health-equity action,” expresses Irfan. 

Through varied media, students designed their Climate-Health Praxis Projects through a methodical self-reflexive process, allowing them to mobilize climate learning and produce social-impact focused creative pieces. Projects feature various artistic and programmatic expressions highlighting the breadth and depth of our student climate-heath knowledge, creativity, and social impact orientation. This includes climate songs, children’s book stories on climate action, climate crocheting, climate poetry, and climate stories.

“We are committed to training the next generation of scholars through the climate-action-pedagogy lens: an approach that ensures students are engaging with the material in self-reflexive ways that they find most impactful while also generating tangible artifacts to mobilize climate action,” Irfan affirms. “I invite you to enjoy their brilliance in this 2024 Climate Action Pedagogy Symposium, showcasing snippets of their climate-education journey,” concludes Irfan.

PM599:  Climate Action Pedagogy Symposium