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Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management

EPSM

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The Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management program addresses intersecting challenges such as global climate change, natural resource depletion, financial sustainability, and innovative organizational change. Click here to find out more about the program, and visit the EPSM blog here.

Reflecting on Climate Action Week @ The New School

Peoples-Climate-MarchThe environmental movement is often oversimplified. Don’t litter. Recycle. Save the Rain Forest. Great campaigns are often reduced to catchy phrases that minimize the needs of underrepresented people and communities who have been systematically excluded from the protection of basic human rights. Challenging popular interpretations of climate change, The New School’s Climate Action Week successfully brought social equity to the core of the People’s Climate March by hosting events that assembled diverse viewpoints ranging from indigenous women and community activists to economists and film directors.

Looming science and political ambivalence have created hurdles to understanding the social implications of climate change.  Milano’s Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management (EPSM) program prepares students with skills to understand the science behind environmental issues and devise management techniques that will impact cultural change.

Simply put: Climate change is a “wicked problem.”

What is a “wicked problem?” A multi-layered problem, so large and complex in scale that it cannot be tackled by one solution; thus multiple solutions are implemented with the scant understanding of how parts of the problem will be affected by those attempts. Global poverty could similarly be considered as another example of a “wicked problem.”  

Highlights of the week included: the premiere of the documentary film Disruption and panel discussion, titled, “On the Rise: Global and Local Front-line Communities and the Climate Crisis.” These events leading up to the rally, gave voice to groups generally underrepresented in the conversation and shed light on the fact that those contributing most to the problem are the least affected by the overall damage. 

Bill McKibben of 350.org explains, “It’s totally an accident that we even think of climate change as an environmental issue. You can just as easily think of it as another example of what happens in an unequal society.” His thoughts coupled with other well known leaders like Naomi Klein (author of This Changes Everything), Carl Anthony (co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project) who conveyed the message that climate change is more than saving the earth, but it also means justice for people. And it is everyone’s problem.

To conclude the week’s activities, The New School took to the streets on Sunday with 300,000 other marchers. Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson joined New School marchers in an electric demonstration. The climate justice cause united people that represented diversity in race, age, religion and nationality.   

Climate Action Week marks the beginning of The New School’s work in climate justice. Under the leadership of Dean Michelle DePass, the Tishman Environment & Design Center (TEDC) was re-launched as a university-wide center tasked with advancing The New School’s sustainability agenda while also serving as a research hub for solutions to complex environmental problems. As a sponsor of Climate Action Week, TEDC interviewed many leaders and panelists with the goal of understanding how to support their front-line initiatives in climate justice. In an upcoming series titled #MarchOnward, TEDC will keep up the momentum from People’s Climate March by releasing content and creating programming to address those needs. For more information, keep in touch with us a @NewSchoolTEDC

Alexandria McBride is a first year M.S. candidate in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management Program. Alexandria joined the EPSM program with seven years of experience in environmental and operational project management, community-based consulting and finance. With her passion for environmental justice, Alexandria is excited to examine and tackle challenging environmental issues with her EPSM classmates and professors.

 

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Climate Action Week Kicks Off with “Disruption”

BM MJ Climate Action Week handout (Front)Climate Action Week @ The New School kicked off on September 7 with the preview event: the premier of the environmental documentary Disruption.

Joel Towers, Executive Dean of Parsons the New School for Design gave opening remarks, followed by a brief introduction to the movie by filmmakers Kelly Nyks (an alumnus of The New School) and Jared P. Scott of PF Pictures. A panel discussion following the film was moderated by Jamie Henn, Strategy and Communications director of 350.org. Panelists Keya Chatterjee, Director, Renewable Energy and Footprint Outreach, WWF, Eddie Bautista, Executive Director, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, and Ricken Patel, Executive Director, Avaaz.org were all interviewed in the film. Professors Charles Allison, Associate Professor of Practice in Finance at Milano, and Jean Gardner, Associate Professor of Social-Ecological History and Design at The School for Constructed Environments, Parsons The New School for Design were on the panel as well.

The New School hosted the marquee event as Disruption was screened at over 700 locations on 6 continents in an effort to build awareness and excitement leading up to the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21.

 

Disruption_New_School_Slide_2 REVISEDThe film unpacks the question ‘why have we done so little, when we know so much?’ by weaving together commentary and insight from some of the most renowned voices on climate change today including James Hansen, Naomi Oreskes, Senator Barbara Boxer, Bill McKibben, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Naomi Klein, Elizabeth Kolbert, Rajendra Pachauri, Justin Gillis, Michael Mann, among others.

The film takes an unflinching look at our unique moment in history – of tipping points and thresholds – as the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change and the last generation that can do anything about it. Taking the message of meaningful action beyond the climate choir, Disruption expands the understanding of climate change to encompass a broad range of social justice issues including equality, resource scarcity, independence and autonomy.

Ultimately, Disruption forces us to confront the greatest challenge of our time – whether we will be able to collectively learn from our past to save our future.

 

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Climate Action Week @ The New School

CAWThe New School demonstrates our commitment to climate action and our solidarity with people converging on New York City for the historic People’s Climate March on September 21 with a week-long series of events focused on climate change. As a leader and official endorser of the March, The New School’s Climate Action Week includes a diverse set of programming directed towards the university and wider community for enriched learning and engagement opportunities, scholarship, innovation and creativity, solidarity and collective action, and highlighting New School’s values around climate justice and action. Click here for the full schedule of events.

 

Be sure to use #TNSClimateAction on all related social media posts! For any questions or to get involved email climateaction@newschool.edu.

 

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EPSM Students Present at New York State Solid Waste & Recycling Conference

Green&Go picnic (1)Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management students, Laura Merli and Devashree Saha recently presented their research project, “Green and Go” at the 2014 New York State Solid Waste & Recycling Conference at the Sagamore May 18th-21st. This research was funded by an award from The Green Fund and was advised by part-time EPSM faculty member, Dr. Konstantine Rountos. Laura graduated in May, and currently works as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the Product Stewardship Institute in Boston. Devashree served as the President of the Sustainable Cities Club in the Spring 2014 semester, and has one semester left at Milano.

Green and Go was launched in April in the cafeteria in the new University Center.

 

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People’s Climate March Planning Session Hosted at Milano

Climate March Balloon Poster (1)Last Tuesday, July 1st Milano hosted a planning event for the People’s Climate March. Representatives from various sectors including organized labor, youth, environmental justice, retirees, environmental and peace movements, student groups, food justice, the arts, etc were well represented. The event had over 500 participants and was deemed a great success by event organizers.

The focus of the evening was getting these varied sectors organized around mobilization efforts leading to the march that will take place on Sunday, September 21, 2014. The march will happen at a time when the world’s leaders will be in NYC for the UN’s Climate Summit 2014. Please visit the People’s Climate March website for more details. There will be another planning meeting likely in August, with details to follow.

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