Dickinson College’s 2014 Global Climate Change Mosaic offered students the opportunity to explore multiple dimensions of climate change as part of an interdisciplinary research team that attended the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima, Peru. Students prepared for their field research September to November 2014 through intensive study in four on-campus courses that helped develop deep knowledge about climate change science, consequences, justice, solutions and international and transnational governance. They also participated in workshops to develop competencies for qualitative field research using interview methods and video technology.
Following their preparations, the students traveled to Lima to participate in COP20, where they interviewed representatives of national governments, civil society organizations, scientific institutions and environmental groups to better understand and document perspectives on key issues in the climate negotiations. They also visited climate resilience project sites and sites of cultural and historical significance in Peru. The Mosaic continued through March 2015 as members of the research team reflected on the conference outcomes, wrote research papers using the videotaped interviews, observations of the COP and other materials, gave a public presentation, and created a digital library of the COP interviews.
The Mosaic courses included:
- ERSC 204, Global Climate Change
- SUST 330, Global Environmental Challenges and Governance
- SUST 500, Independent Research on Global Climate Change Governance
- One approved elective course
The program was led by Neil Leary, Director of Dickinson’s Center for Sustainability Education, and Jeff Niemitz, Professor of Earth Sciences. Dickinson’s Community Studies Center (CSC) provided financial support for the program. Professor Susan Rose, CSC Director, and Brenda Landis and Andy Petrus of Dickinson’s Media Center, assisted with training our delegation in qualitative social science research methods, interview skills and video and audio technology. Meta Bowman of CSC transcribed scores of hours of recorded interviews.
Development of the Global Climate Change Mosaic was supported by Cooling the Liberal Arts Curriculum, a project funded by NASA Innovations in Climate Change Education.