Diversifying sustainability education – Yale Climate Connections

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An interdisciplinary program at the University of Minnesota brings a diverse group of students together to solve sustainability challenges.

Students in art, engineering, and 50 other majors have completed the sustainability minor at the University of Minnesota. The interdisciplinary program brings together students with very different backgrounds and training.

Beth Mercer-Taylor, the sustainability education coordinator for the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, says these differences become obvious when the students work together to solve a real sustainability problem.

TAYLOR: “They start to think about problems like using those different tools, different world views that they have.”

Despite the diversity of perspectives, Taylor says a few groups are underrepresented.

TAYLOR: “Some of the voices we’re missing are students of color, students from different religious backgrounds. Often first generation college students may not be choosing to study sustainability.”

Taylor is passionate about finding ways to bring these missing voices into the conversation, because she believes that climate change is more than just a problem for the millennial generation.

Beth Merced-Taylor: More diversity = better strategies.

TAYLOR: “It’s also an incredible economic and cultural and social opportunity that’s so cool. And how wrong is it to do that with missing huge components of our population?”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Diversity Graphic: Copyright protected.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

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