UC Irvine Joins White House Initiative Aimed at Expanding Climate Change Education

UC Irvine's global sustainability effort has been chosen to be part of a White House initiative aimed at climate education that will distribute science-based information to students, teachers and the broader public, the university announced Tuesday.


UCI's program is one of 25 to participate in the Climate Education & Literacy Initiative, according to Tom Vasich director of Research Communications. This began with Frances Leslie, a UCI Graduate Division dean, joining fellow educators, government officials, philanthropic leaders and others from the private sector for a roundtable discussion in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 3. The topic: How to allocate more resources to teachers and increase professional development and training related to climate change.

The campus traces its “legacy of sustainability” back to President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicating the Irvine land in 1964, Vasich says. Former chancellor and atmospheric scientist Ralph Cicerone, whose research was recognized on the citation for the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry award to his UCI colleague the late F. Sherwood Rowland, led a National Academy of Sciences study of the current state of climate change and its impact on the environment and human health in 2001. Cicerone left UCI in 2005 to become the academy's president.

The university he left now has a task force on sustainability education that includes dean-appointed representatives from 10 schools and programs. Next month, the Global Sustainability Resource Center hosts UCI's first retreat for undergraduates enrolled in the global sustainability minor. That will enable about 40 students to build their skills in strategic questioning, community visioning, action planning and climate communication, Vasich says.

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