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University of California system to launch ‘climate justice’ course

The 10-campus University of California system is set to debut a climate justice course that aims to address the “social, racial, and environmental injustices” of climate change.

A fall 2022 pilot class is slated to be focused at UC Merced ahead of a planned expansion to all 10 campuses by spring of next year, the system reported.

The curriculum is funded by a grant from the UC Office of the President and developed by Associate Professor and UC Presidential Chair Tracey Osborne, who founded the UC Center for Climate Justice over a year ago.

“I think what we’re doing now is unique and it’s something needed now more than ever, which is to focus on various dimensions of climate justice,” Osborne said in a news release.

Osborne did not respond to a request from The College Fix seeking comment.

The center, led by Osborne, includes six pillars of “climate justice”: just transition; social, racial and environmental justice; indigenous climate action; community resilience and adaptation; natural climate solutions; and climate education and engagement.

It states a large part of “just transition” includes passing the Green New Deal.

“The Green New Deal, for example, is an innovative proposal that tackles both climate change and inequality and is therefore very much aligned with climate justice,” the center states.

Notably, none of its pages discuss the possibility of nuclear energy as a clean alternative.

In an effort to expand past research and engagement, the center created the climate justice course based on lectures from professors across the University of California system.

The courses are designed to mobilize students toward climate action and cultivate prolonged climate engagement.

The lectures given in the curriculum will center around the impacts of climate change on communities of color and low-income communities, according to the program’s site.

Topics will range from discussing race and climate to a lecture titled “Feeling Climate: An Emotional Toolkit for an Uncertain Future.”

The course is going to be based off an already offered online class titled “Bending the Curve,” in reference to Martin Luther King Jr.’s often-quoted line that the moral arc of the universe “bends toward justice.”

“Bending the Curve” focused more on solutions, and the center designed the new course to focus on the “various dimensions of climate change,” according to Osborne.

“The students in this course will have the opportunity to explore the climate crisis from the local, state, national and global scales. Our hope is that students walk away from the course understanding the root causes and equity dimensions of climate change and from that place, feel empowered to act,” she added in the news release.

UC Merced media affairs responded to The College Fix’s request for comment with Osborne’s contact information.

MORE: Climate protesters camp out in middle of Penn campus to demand fossil fuel divestment

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About the Author
Jasmine Campos -- Pepperdine University