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Hugo Rossi Lecture Series: Dr. Kathryn Williamson

December 5, 2023
Crocker Science Center (CSC), Room 206

Topic: Climate Change Teaching and Activism
Dr. Kathryn Williamson, Associate Professor

Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Crocker Science Center (CSC) Room 206
Lunch will be provided

Learning how to engage with climate change in both our professional and personal lives can at times be daunting, but also incredibly rewarding and empowering. In this talk, I will share my personal experiences navigating climate change teaching and activism in both West Virginia and Alabama, two states that rely heavily on coal. I will share what it was like to work with students to host a climate rally on campus in coordination with the global climate strikes in 2019 and lead a “WVU Climate Education Day” at the WV State Capitol in February 2020. I will share what it was like to design the West Virginia Climate Change Professional Development (WVCCPD) Project, which engages K-12 teachers in climate change learning through: (1) climate change physical science, such as the greenhouse effect and the carbon cycle, and understanding the evidence for climate change, (2) climate change social science, including how to identify misinformation, understand our carbon footprints, and understand our community, and (3) climate change solutions and action, such as Project Drawdown, En-Roads, and the power of youth voice and communication techniques. WVCCPD has engaged over 120 teachers and hosts an annual climate change Public Service Announcement (PSA) competition for students to design video and audio clips, which then air on news and TV stations around the state, reaching an estimated 40,000 residents. I will talk about how we have funded this work, and how my conceptions of how I engage with my community have changed over time. I will share some of my personal actions, such as through volunteering with my local activist groups, creating climate change art, navigating climate change emotions and finding hope. I will close with recommendations for books, podcasts, leaders, and groups from whom I continue to learn.


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