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The Class



Since February 2018, @writeclimate engaged over 1200 members of the UVA community in a conversation on climate change. On pieces of paper, they all wrote a piece of our shared climate story—science, policy, emotion and commitment. From the paper, students have created art.   

EVSC 1559 convenes every spring semester at UVA. Students in the course first learn about the history of climate science and policy. This begins with pivotal moments in climate science—starting with the first inkling of the greenhouse effect, hypothesized by a French physicist in 1824. By 1900, we knew how CO2 and fossil fuels affect temperature. The policy side focuses on what the United States has done to promote a healthy atmosphere and a stable climate. In 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was established by a republican president; another republican president joined the first climate agreement in 1992. And in 2015, a democratic president took us into the Paris Agreement.

Tabling in Clark Hall

Tabling in Clark Hall

The next stage in the course is the tabling portion during which we ask passersby to hand-write a piece of our shared climate story—the science, the policy—and also about why they are concerned about climate change and what they are doing about it. @Writeclimate students table in different locations on grounds and also interact with friends, roommates, and family members. The act of writing tends to focus the mind and promote a sense of commitment to the words being placed on paper; we hope to raise awareness by asking people to write significant science, policy, and personal opinions and actions regarding climate change.


“The act of writing tends to focus the mind and promote a sense of commitment to the words being placed on paper”

Deborah Lawrence

After collecting enough written pieces, we put them on display, allowing people in the UVA community to hear from over 1200 of their peers. Toward the end of the semester, we transform these pieces of paper into works of art. In April 2018, we held our first Art Show called “Climate art: let’s get it right.” Stay tuned for our next art show this spring. Come look and hear about climate change from our community—people are speaking out with intent, bravery, anxiety, outrage, and resilience.

The entire project is being supported by the Department of Environmental Sciences, the UVA Committee on Sustainability, and the Jefferson Trust. For more information, contact Professor Deborah Lawrence