Sustainability Pioneers Community Conversations COURSE SYLLABUS

Climate change is a challenging topic to face. Yet, an inspiring and empowering reality is emerging as a response to climate change. In this interactive class, participants will learn about sustainability, energy, climate science and climate solutions through presentations by Rachel Carson scholar Patricia DeMarco. Documentary filmmaker Kirsi Jansa will screen her Sustainability Pioneers short documentaries showcasing communities and states taking bold climate action. The five week course will empower participants to have constructive conversations about global warming and make changes for a sustainable future.

Kirsi Jansa and Patricia DeMarco developed and have been running this course at the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institutes at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, and at the Frick Environmental Center. To learn about new Sustainability Pioneers Community Conversations courses, sign up to our newsletter (on the Connect page) and/or follow us on the Sustainability Pioneers Facebook page.

Session #1.  Why Sustainability?

Patricia DeMarco: Why sustainability? Connecting climate, energy and health

Kirsi Jansa: Climate crisis does not need to be a polarizing issue

Screening: Sustainability Pioneers episodes The Journey Begins and  Finding Our Power

SP Community Conversation

ACTION ADVICE

  • Collective Climate Action:  Identify your local, state and federal representatives and find out their position on climate change. Good sources: http://www.lcv.orghttp://www.conservationpa.org
  • Individual climate action: Stop using plastic bags.

 LEARN MORE

Fourth National Climate Assessment: Climate Science Special Report

Measure your own carbon footprint.  

Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something videos with Joylette Portlock www.communitopia.org

 

 

Session #2. The Transition from Fossil Energy to Renewable Energy

Patricia DeMarco: The Transition from Fossil to Renewable Energy

Kirsi Jansa: Taking a quick & clear look at climate crisis: How is climate change presented by the US mainstream media and perceived by Americans?

Screening: Sustainability Pioneers episodes From Haze to Sun and It Takes a Leader

SP Community Conversation

ACTION IDEAS 

Collective Climate Action: Talk about climate change. Initiate conversations about climate change and climate solutions with your family, friends, colleagues, random strangers.  

Individual climate action: Reduce your carbon emissions – start by switching  your light bulbs to LED. More information: Climate Generation / What can you do

www.documents.climategen.org/toolkits/Take-Action-Guide.pdf

LEARN MORE

Sign up to Daily Climate Hot News by Climate Nexus – a strategic communications group dedicated to highlighting the impacts of climate change and clean energy solutions in the United States. www.climatenexus.org

 

 

Session #3. Federal, state and local jurisdiction over energy – how the system works

Patricia DeMarco: Federal, state and local jurisdiction over energy – how the system works

Kirsi Jansa:  The Secret to Talking about Climate Change

Screening:  Sustainability Pioneers episodes From Paris to New York  and Going Fossil Free

SP Community Conversation

ACTION IDEAS 

Collective Climate Action: Talk about climate change. Initiate conversations about climate change and climate solutions with your family, friends, colleagues, random strangers.  

Individual climate action: Reduce your carbon emissions:  Eat less meat, especially beef, and more locally produced vegetarian food.  “Eating all locally grown food for one year could save the GHG equivalent of driving 1,000 miles, while eating a vegetarian meal one day a week could save the equivalent of driving 1,160 miles.”

More information: University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems: Carbon footprint fact sheet http://css.umich.edu/factsheets/carbon-footprint-factsheet

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Project Drawdown – a nonprofit organization and coalition of scholars, scientists, entrepreneurs, and advocates from across the globe that is mapping, measuring, modeling, and communicating about a collective array of substantive solutions to global warming, with the goal of reaching drawdown.

www.drawdown.org

Session #4.  Sustainability – Jobs and Communities

Patricia DeMarco: Sustainability – Jobs and Communities

Kirsi Jansa: NNOCCI way of talking about climate change

Screening:  Sustainability Pioneers episodes It Takes a Village and Rooftop Transition Break

SP Community Conversation

ACTION IDEAS 

Collective Climate Action: Write a letter to the editor using the four elements of “an emerging core story of climate change”:

1)  reasonable tone

2)  addressing what is at stake

3)  explain what the greenhouse effect is using the carbon blanket metaphor

4)  frame climate change as a problem that can be addressed at a collective level through practical steps by an informed, engaged citizenry and present your chosen solutions.

Individual climate action: Take a child for a walk in the woods. 

LEARN MORE

NNOCCI Climate Change Solutions Bank – a collection of solutions to climate change broken into audience levels – family or neighborhood solutions, community or institutional solutions, city solutions and federal solutions. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1iD0HNwiw93zNX1hRKOZMTqQY57ckE-l-DxQFq6kPHqw/edit#gid=0

City of Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan  3.0 – DRAFT

http://apps.pittsburghpa.gov/redtail/images/606_PCAP_3_0_Draft-_9-26-17.pdf

Session #5.The Way Forward

Patricia DeMarco: The Way Forward – What Do We Stand For?

Kirsi Jansa: Rethinking our climate stories

Screening:  Sustainability Pioneers episodes Becoming Energy Independent and Home Sweet Home

SP Community Conversation

ACTION IDEAS 

Collective Climate Action: Invite and challenge your elected officials to create a future you’d like to see happen.  More information: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

Individual climate action: 

Make Smart Home upgrades. More information: http://getenergysmarter.org/sound-home-plan

Buy renewable energy.  More information: PA PowerSwitch http://www.papowerswitch.com

Celebrate your climate victories with your people.

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Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone https://www.activehope.info