Competition seeks to turn climate anxiety into action

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A School for Environment and Sustainability class is organizing a spring event to empower U-M students, faculty and staff to engage in individual and collective efforts to build a sustainable and just future.

Building on the 2023 Advancing Climate Education event and the recommendation that such an event take place annually, plans are underway for ACE 2.0, organized by the “Leadership for Turning Climate Anxiety into Action” seminar.

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This time the specific focus will be on leadership for turning climate anxiety into action, since anxiety is one of the main barriers to individual and collective mitigation and adaptation behaviors.

Scheduled for March 20-21, ACE 2.0 will allow students, faculty and staff to connect with, learn from and support each other with the aim of cultivating the next generation of U-M climate leaders.

A new feature of ACE 2.0 is a creative expression contest open to all U-M students. The winners will receive cash prizes totaling $1,000, courtesy of SEAS and the Global CO2 Initiative.

“Consistent with Martin Siegert (visiting professor at the Grantham Institute) we believe ‘art has the potential to inspire minds and touch emotions in a way that science alone often finds challenging,’” said the class’s co-instructor Michaela Zint, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, professor of environment and sustainability in SEAS; professor of Program in Environment in SEAS and LSA; and professor of education in the Marsal Family School of Education.

“Creativity has an important role to play in inspiring and expressing emotions surrounding climate change. We are excited to provide U-M students with the opportunity to explore and find an outlet for translating their climate emotions through art and other creative means — to inspire all members of our community to contribute to the transformation toward a more sustainable and just future.”

The contest submission deadline is 5 p.m. Feb. 14.

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