AME News: UC Climate Resilience Pilot Course

This Spring Quarter has marked the start of the UC Climate Resilience Course, an innovative class taking place at eight different UC campuses in which students are learning to transform climate distress to collective action. The course is co-directed by Dr. Elissa Epel of UCSF, Dr. Philippe Goldin of UCD, and Dr. Jyoti Mishra of UCSD.

Over the past ten weeks, students have had the opportunity to experience both in-person mindfulness sessions and lectures from world-renowned leaders in climate advocacy/action, including Rhonda Magee, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Clover Hogan, Krista Tippett, Rebecca Solnit, and more. Students have also had the opportunity to engage in collective action through final group projects which have included hosting climate cafes, "buy nothing" clothing swaps on campus, participation in community climate action groups, and voting. 

The UC Climate Resilience class aims to fill a critical gap in climate education and well-being, building on the science of personal and social resilience and climate change action, creating a sense of belonging for students, and motivating empowerment and self-efficacy via advocacy projects. Did it really improve climate action, climate hope, and mental health? Stay tuned for our quantitative evaluation of the course!

We spoke to two UCSF students about why these chose to enroll in the course, their experience thus far, and their capstone class project.

Sakshi Sharma, DDS IDP Candidate '26

Building upon my interest and modest background in sustainable and earth friendly practices of dentistry, I wanted to fill in the gaps in my current scope of understanding of the climate polycrises. Healthcare and climate are closely interconnected and their impact on one another are not mutually exclusive.

By developing a deeper sense of climate resilience and mindfulness, I hope to empower the community I hope to serve, in more ways than one. It is also a great opportunity to interact with world renowned climate action leaders from 8 different UC campuses, that would further diversify my understanding of climate resilience. 

This elective has allowed me to be more mindful of my own thoughts and also helped network with colleagues from other schools and other walks of life who share similar concerns as me. [Participating in] the out-of-class activities and mindful exercises that can be engaged in a time of need has been my favourite part of the elective. The lecture in which we did the group exercise of talking about each other's concerns with climate polycrises was a great experience, where I realised for the first time that there are others who have the same concerns as me. 

For my final project, I am planning a survey with Dr. Epel and the CCHE to find out more about the current levels of concerns and the climate consciousness held by my own dental school colleagues.

Read more about the class here. 

From UCOP,  "Got Climate Anxiety? This course can help."

From the UCSB Daily Nexus, "UC Launches Climate Resilience Course."