In March, Christine Seibert contacted me about the Worldwide Teach-in on Climate and Justice, an initiative to integrate climate change into curricula worldwide. She asked if I would be willing to spend 30 minutes of my Cultural Psychology class discussing climate issues with my students. I enthusiastically agreed, as the topic aligned well with our exploration of relevant cultural institutions and events and their psychological impact. We cover topics like immigration, prejudice, online dating, and social media, so adding climate issues to the list made perfect sense.
In early April, Christine led a discussion on the psychological impact of climate actions/inactions. She started with a “sheep scale” mood chart, which elicited laughter from the class. She then introduced topics like climate anxiety and resistance, sparking a lively discussion where almost every student shared their point of view. Sasha Horvath ’25, an intern at the Zilka Center, followed with an informative presentation on the psychology behind climate inactions. The class was well-received by my students. I believe that climate change should be incorporated into more disciplines and departments at Williams, and the teach-in was a great way to start.
Cynthia Xinran Guo, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology