About the Certificate
Do you care about the planet and the living beings on it? Are you motivated to make a difference? Do you want to support more just systems? Are you interested in being part of a community?
If you answer yes to any or all of these questions, you’re someone that the Climate Leadership Certificate is designed to support.
In this age of climate change and social reckoning, we need leaders for sustainability and climate justice.
Over 400,000 people participated in the People’s Climate March in NYC in September, 2014. The Youth Climate Strike involved more than 1.4 million youth across 123 countries in March, 2019. The movement to bring awareness and action to the urgent issues of climate change and social equity is growing, and skilled leaders are required.
Washington State has committed to having a carbon neutral electricity grid by 2030, to become 100% clean electric by 2045, and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Communities are planning and implementing climate adaptation and mitigation solutions. Innovative systems thinkers and change agents are needed across all sectors.
The Climate Leadership Certificate will help you gain the training and experience needed to apply your skills to critical work in climate action and justice, economic vitality, environmental protection, community health, and equity. We need emerging professionals engaged in climate leadership in all of these disciplines right now; both existing communities and future generations rely on it.
Certificate Program Benefits
- You will be paid to complete a practicum, which can also count for internship credit
- Your expenses will be paid for a place-based orientation experience in Whatcom County and the Methow Valley
- You will develop leadership skills specifically catered to work as a climate change professional.
- You will build a network of professionals in the field of climate change and sustainability
- You will develop a strong community of peers fighting for a more just and sustainable society.
|Sustainability Literacy I (ENVS 116), Introduction to Leadership||Sustainability Leadership (LDST 416)
|Place-based Orientation||Campus Sustainability Planning Studio (ENVS 471)
|Campus Sustainability Planning Studio (ENVS 471)
|Project-based Independent Study
|Project-based Independent Study
Final Project Presentation
Don’t wait! The application deadline is October 30, 2020.
In order to apply, you must be a junior in standing at the time of application. This certificate is designed to complement many degree plans at Western. We are looking for students that represent a range of degrees, backgrounds, and interests.
Required application components:
Personal Statement (1-2 pages, 12 pt font, single-spaced). This personal statement should articulate:
- How this certificate fits with your educational and career goals;
- A description of what lived experiences have led you to be interested in this certificate;
- A definition of what climate justice means to you, and how you imagine contributing to a more equitable and just community;
- What you hope to get out of the practicum experience. Please consider your learning, content interests, and location preference (either Whatcom County or Methow Valley). See practicum section for more details regarding potential positions and our two locations.
Your Resume, including related courses you have taken, your GPA, and relevant experience.
One letter of recommendation. Please have your reference email their letter directly to the Office of Sustainability Interim Director, Lindsey MacDonald, at email@example.com.
Please submit your application by emailing the Office of Sustainability Interim Director, Lindsey MacDonald (firstname.lastname@example.org) with all of the above materials by October 30th. Please submit documents as PDFs or word documents.
- Winter Quarter:
- Sustainability Literacy I (ENVS 116), 3 credits, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-3:20pm with an associated 1-credit course that will introduce leadership concepts and provide practice in important leadership skills, like facilitation.
- Spring Quarter:
- Sustainability Leadership (LDST 416), 4 credits, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-3:40pm
- Summer or Fall Quarter:
- Campus Sustainability Planning Studio (ENVS 471). For students with practicum placements in the Methow Valley, you will take this course in the summer. For students with practicum placements in Whatcom County, you will take this course in the fall.
- Winter and Spring Quarters:
- Project-based Independent Study (4-8 credits, depending on your project interest and credit needs)
For the practicum experience, students will work on climate change topics within local organizations, both within Whatcom County and the Methow Valley. Students who need internship credits for their degrees may enroll in up to 8 credits as part of these positions.
The Positions and Their Locations
Six different organizations will host positions in Whatcom County, and six will host positions in the Methow Valley. Please see below for the list of organizations and associated position descriptions. Some positions are still in development, so check back soon. The positions will focus on climate justice, energy and transportation solutions, sustainable food systems, climate action planning, and well-being.
- York Community Farm: Farm Intern. Read Position Description
- Sustainable Connections: Energy Efficiency and Renewables Program Intern. Read Position Description
- Common Threads Farm: Engaging Youth in Sustainable Food Systems Intern. Read Position Description
- Community to Community (in development: will focus on community support for a just transition)
- City of Bellingham (in development: will focus on the Climate Protection Action Plan)
- Whatcom Peace and Justice Center (in development: will focus on the International Day of Peace Event)
- Methow Trails (in development: will focus on the Twisp to Winthrop Trail Project, which will connect the two towns with a multi-use trail, providing access to the public school. The responsibilities will include trail work, support in landowner outreach and marketing projects, and other office work)
- Foundation for Youth Resiliency and Engagement (in development)
- Classroom in Bloom and Red Shed Farm: Food Security and Education Intern (in development)
- Methow Valley Citizens Council (in development: will focus on implementation of a community climate action plan, with work in energy and transportation related projects)
Most positions will align with the summer quarter schedule, beginning June 22nd and ending August 20th. Depending on the needs of the organization, these dates may shift, expand, or compress, slightly, but the number of total hours will remain the same. These details will be posted when the final position descriptions are published.
Each position is paid. It will be paid for 24 hours/week for 10 weeks, at $13.50/hour.
For the positions based in Whatcom County, housing will not be provided.
For the positions based in the Methow Valley, modest housing will be provided.
Expense Paid Place-Based Orientation
Between spring and summer quarters of the first year of the program, students will participate in an expense paid, five-day place-based orientation. If COVID allows, this will include field-based visits around the region which help the cohort understand climate change and sustainability in Whatcom County and the Methow Valley. There will also be a focus on developing community within the cohort. Alternatives will be developed if COVID prevents gathering in place. Transportation, meals, and any other programmatic costs will be covered during this orientation.
Monthly Community Forums
Once per month throughout the course of the program there will be a community forum. The forum will serve as an opportunity for the cohort to connect with each other, to problem-solve challenges encountered in projects and/or coursework, and to dig deeper into some of the key competencies for being climate leaders. The community partners who host students for their practicum experience will be invited to participate as presenters and panelists. The topics that might be covered as part of these gatherings include, but are not limited to:
- How to enter, work in, and exit a community
- Stakeholder engagement/coalition building
- Climate justice
- Systems thinking
- UN Sustainable Development Goals in action
- Leadership styles
- Navigating email and phone communications