Episode 1 of Climate.edu is out-finally

I quietly released the first episode of Climate.edu after literally years of delays, setbacks, and well, life. More on that later. The podcast is a labor of love–and the best way I can think of to spur meaningful climate action in an area I know a little something about: higher ed. I’ve worked in the field of education in some capacity for over two decades, mostly in higher ed and mostly with community colleges–as an administrator, faculty member, and consultant and coach. Despite the immense challenges facing these institutions and deepening cynicism about their value, I still stubbornly believe in the transformative potential of higher education–to transform individual lives, communities, civic life, yes even the world. For every well-known admissions scandal, student-worker strike, and campus closure, there are thousands of anonymous yet profoundly impactful classroom experiences unfolding every day in classrooms, online, and on the campuses of colleges and universities here in the US and across the globe.

Climate change presents a profound threat to higher ed. Wildfires, rising seas, and intensifying weather are already impacting the physical plants and infrastructure of many college campuses, and will only increase in the coming decades. Unprecedented heat waves and worsening air quality jeopardizes the health of students, faculty, and administrators. As grave as these threats are, climate change also threatens the relevance of higher education in this new world. As author Dr. Bryan Alexander, my guest on episode one, asks in the opening of his book Universities on Fire, “What does academia have to offer the rest of the world as civilization grapples with the developing climate crisis?”


I decided to create this podcast because I didn’t see the field of higher ed meaningfully addressing this unprecedented threat, at least in the systemic way this complex challenge calls for. Bryan’s book, and my subsequent conversations with him, confirmed this. Yes, there are organizations like Second Nature and AASHE helping member institutions become more sustainable, universities engaging in cutting edge climate research, colleges integrating climate education into programs and curricula, and workforce programs training workers for clean energy jobs, examples Bryan documents in his wonderful book. But these are still exceptions, and woefully inadequate to the immense need. So, here are my goals for the podcast–meant to, in whatever small way I can, help change this:

  1. explore the ways faculty, students, and staff at colleges and universities in the US and globally are taking climate action
  2. connect people, projects, and institutions in order to facilitate and accelerate impactful climate solutions
  3. help spur broader climate action in the filed of higher education

With that, here is Episode 1, my interview with author and futurist Bryan Alexander. Give it a listen. If you like it, please subscribe. Have feedback, or an idea for a podcast guest or a topic? I’d love to hear from you.