It’s time for higher education to engage democracy and climate change.

Join members of the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium to deliberate about climate change and build our capacity for citizenship on November 9th. All over the country, citizens are concerned about climate change. And young people, as the Climate Strikes show clearly, are most concerned of all. But what can we as citizens do about it? By getting together to deliberate, we can build knowledge, understanding, and will to take action. But what actions should we take?

On November 9th, starting at 9 am in Walker Building at Penn State’s University Park, we will work together to determine what we can and should do. We will begin the day with a common frame of understanding grounded in the current science and ground rules for a good deliberation. From there, we will use the Climate Choices model to deliberate in facilitated small groups of 8 to 12 people for about 2 hours on three options.

1. More mitigation investments like renewable energy, green buildings, carbon sequestration, and so on.

2. Rapid investment in adaptation measures to sea level rise, increased precipitation, higher heat stresses, and others.

3. Amp up research and development to discover options that we might not know about yet and could create a breakthrough.

While these may not seem mutually exclusive, by deliberating on the options distinctly from one another, it offers us the chance to work through our values, our strengths and weaknesses, and what tradeoffs we can or can’t accept. After the options are worked through, groups will summarize where they found common ground and, if possible, determine what actions they can and should take. Then, the groups will assemble to report out and have a large group discussion.

After lunch, we will reconvene to learn how to organize a deliberation in your community. We will be joined by Cathi Alloway, executive director of the Schlow Memorial Library and Britani Peterson, a second-year Penn State Law student with experience in group facilitation and a passion for social justice, and Peter Buckland, Penn State’s Sustainability Institute. Tips will include how to determine who you should work with, how to cooperate with libraries and media, and how to facilitate and moderate discussions.

If you are a Penn State faculty, staff, or student or an interested party from local government, please contact me at and I can help register you.

Register here.

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