Two stories for climate change and higher education

  • climate change as politics: “a member of the college’s marketing team vetoed the idea, arguing that a notice about Thunberg’s visit would violate the university’s policy against promoting political causes.”
  • climate change as just scientific research and pedagogy, and hence apolitical. “[professor] Scherer disagreed. ‘Climate change is science,’ she said.”
  • climate change as student activism: “students in [professor Scherer’s] classes were excited about Thunberg’s visit and engaged in the idea of climate action…”
  • Political tensions about climate change and its responses between students, faculty, senior administration, state governments, and business.
  • Budgets and funding as crucial battlegrounds.
  • Long-term analysis and planning — i.e., futures work — stirs political waves in the present.
  • Academic autonomy is at stake, including for individuals and institutions.
  • Climate change seems likely to remain a strictly partisan issue for a least a while. It is also an aspect of the American culture wars.
  • Lane language (“Let’s stay safely in the lane”) seems to be rising in general.



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Bryan Alexander

Bryan Alexander


Futurist, speaker, writer, consultant, educator. Author of the FTTE report and ACADEMIA NEXT. Creator of The Future Trends Forum.