SPEC 17
Personal Resilience in the Face of the Climate Crisis Winter 2023

Class Details

Climate anxiety has been demonstrated to negatively impact students worldwide. Hickman et al. (2021), for example, reported that 59% of young people are very or extremely worried about climate change, and 45% say it impacts their daily functioning (2021). In the face of very real environmental challenges, this response is understandable but can lead to feelings of helplessness and inaction. This course seeks to explore the concept of resilience while developing practices for students’ own well-being so they can be part of climate solutions. This course will build personal climate resilience in two ways. First, by exploring stories of hope through readings and local field trips, students will learn from people who see reason for action and have found concrete ways to promote equity and resilience in their own communities. The primary text will be “All We Can Save,” a book composed of essays, poetry, and art of women leading climate adaptation and mitigation strategies. Local field trips will visit organizations focusing on food sovereignty, material reuse, and environmental justice. Second, students will learn concrete skills in both self-care and personal climate action. Taking small steps in the right direction like these can help students regain a sense of agency that is often lost in the face of issues as large as climate change. The course will meet 3x a week for 2-3 hours at a time. The classes will rotate between reading discussions, field trips, and skill development classes. Out of class work will involve readings, preparing for the paper and presentation, and selected local events. The means of evaluation include a short essay exploring an author from the text in more depth, as well as sharing a personal resilience skill that they currently practice with the Williams community in the form of an interactive demonstration. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(21)00278-3/fulltext
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 10
Expected: NA
Class#: 1287
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: Short paper and final project or presentation
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Students with a demonstrated interest in climate, sustainability, environmental justice, and mental health will be given preference. This interest can be demonstrated in terms of work experience or coursework.
Unit Notes: Christine Seibert is the Sustainability Coordinator for the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives and is working toward a master's degree in sustainability from Harvard Extension School.
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
WELL Winter Study Wellness

Class Grid

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