- Author: Eliot Freutel
September marks a pivotal moment in climate change conversation and action and this week, September 20-27, is Climate Week - a time where people around the world are raising their voices to talk about what climate change means to them.
The UN Global Climate Action Summit will be held in New York Sept. 23rd for international climate negotiators to discuss their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in a way that will help make the fight against climate change a reality. A recent article from the UC Newsroom by Carolyn McMillan details how the “University of California has joined forces with more than 7,000 colleges and universities around the globe to declare a climate emergency and commit to urgent action to address the crisis.” This agreement prioritizes climate related research within the UC system as well as expanded education and outreach regarding climate resilience and sustainability. This announcement is tailed by student protests to bring awareness to climate change and the University of California divestment of all funds from fossil fuels, setting an example for tackling climate change head-on and aligning your money with your values.
With every new piece of scientific evidence, the ability to remain hopeful, feel positive about our ability to address the situation, and have confidence in our capacity to engage constructively becomes a growing challenge. But there is power within all of us to tackle some of the immediate effects of climate change. The Climate Stewards Initiative (CSI) is a new certification program that will be offered through the UC California Naturalist program that “prepares individuals to communicate and engage in local solutions to advance community and ecosystem resilience.”By learning together about the causes of climate change, and actionable measures we can take to curb it, we can collectively reduce our impact and minimize the impact of changes already taking place. For people already doing these things themselves, they will learn methods and skills to communicate and work with others as to how climate change will affect them and, in the process, help them discover their own roles in the fight against climate change.
The Climate Stewards Initiative will be the first certification program of its kind in California and will provide participants with the tools they need to have an impact in their homes, communities, across the state and beyond. More than just a one-time course about climate change, Climate Stewards, is an ongoing social learning community that provides a transition from a sense of helplessness to a sense of empowerment. As community members, our efforts are multiplied when we work together toward share goals. As we band together to identify our strongest impact and act on it, we dive deep into a study on what climate resilience means to us on a personal level and help others discover answers to the same question; “what makes us resilient?” We become empowered to make changes at home, have a meaningful conversation with friends, families and neighbors, participate in local planning efforts, and advocate for environmental justice. Climate Stewards builds on the success of the UC California Naturalist program which a collective impact network designed to promote stewardship of California's natural resources through education and service. Check out the Climate Stewards webpage for more information.