Comprehensive Climate Science Education Program Required for all Employees
WHITE PLAINS -- The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is kicking off its “SustainAbleU - Let's Get Climate Smart” employee education program this month with curriculum materials prepared by faculty and staff at Clarkson University, Cornell University, the Paleontological Research Institute (PRI), and SUNY Environmental Science & Forestry (ESF).
Drawing on its expertise in climate change science and education, the Clarkson Institute for a Sustainable Environment (ISE) is supporting the delivery of a comprehensive education and training program for NYPA's nearly 2,400 employees in New York State.
Clarkson researchers, along with researchers from Cornell and ESF, have been awarded contracts to partner with NYPA – the largest state public power organization in the U.S. – to provide a unique corporate-scale climate education program for all employees this year. The program will help prepare employees to help meet Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals that set aggressive decarbonization, electrification and renewable energy goals.
“NYPA is playing a leadership role in New York State’s transition to a clean energy economy so this climate science curriculum will help our entire organization become ‘climate smart’ and inspire us to take on the challenges of climate change together,” said Gil. C. Quiniones, president and CEO of NYPA and Canal Corporation. “Science and data-based education is a critical component to inform proactive climate leadership actions. At NYPA and our subsidiary, the Canal Corporation, we recognize that we have to gain a company-wide understanding of the science informing our steps to solve the energy and environment challenges before us.”
The Clarkson/ESF team is led by Susan Powers, director of Clarkson's ISE and the Spence Professor of Sustainable Environmental Systems, with additional leadership of Jan DeWaters, associate professor in the Institute for STEM Ed, who is leading efforts to assess the program's learning outcomes and Courtney Johnson-Woods, assistant professor in the Department of Communications and Media, who is responsible for production of the e-learning modules. The project leverages faculty and staff from Clarkson's Potsdam, Schenectady and Beacon campuses with a range of interdisciplinary expertise in climate change and energy science, engineering and policy, communications, and education.
The ESF team will be led by members of the College’s Open Academy, including Associate Director Katherina Searing, along with Brandon Murphy, coordinator of ESF’s Teaching and Learning Center, who is supporting the design and production of the e-learning modules. ESF faculty and staff from across the campus are providing content expertise to the project.
The team will develop interactive, asynchronous presentations and lead live discussion sessions and special lectures. They also will conduct a benchmarking survey to establish a baseline of climate science literacy among NYPA employees, and measure gains in their understanding of climate change concepts as the program progresses this year.
A team of researchers from Cornell is working closely with the Clarkson/ESF team. Led by Allison M. Chatrchyan, senior research associate in the Department of Global Development and the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), with Ingrid Zabel, climate change education manager from PRI, the project will leverage the Cornell Climate Smart Solutions Program and its multidisciplinary expertise in climate science, communication and policy analysis.
Chatrchyan, Zabel, and their colleagues have experience developing and leading climate change education programs, including courses, workshops and curricula for community members, students, volunteers, and farmers.
The first module, launched last week, introduces NYPA employees to the intersecting challenges of climate change, poverty and racial inequities, and the COVID-19 pandemic, identifying links between these crises and providing ways to think about community impacts in a new light.
"This new program will educate all NYPA employees on basic climate change science," Clarkson's Powers said. "We hope that the incredible leadership that NYPA is taking with this effort will serve as an exemplar for other companies and agencies to follow as they also recognize the importance of all employees understanding climate change and their role in developing a range of technological, social and policy solutions."
According to Powers, climate change training and increased literacy will help NYPA employees better understand the risks posed by climate change and the best strategies for mitigating these risks.
Education and training efforts will focus on three objectives:
- provide each NYPA employee with a working knowledge of the science of climate change, climate impacts and climate solutions;
- provide research-based evidence on the science of climate change in order to clarify misconceptions; and
- highlight NYPA’s plans to address climate change in its overall strategic planning.
For more information about the “SustainAbleU - Let's Get Climate Smart” employee education program and how it is helping to make NYPA employees climate smart, email Lielle.firstname.lastname@example.org.
NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.
About Clarkson University
As a private, national research university, Clarkson is a leader in technological education and sustainable economic development through teaching, scholarship, research and innovation. We ignite personal connections across academic fields and industries to create the entrepreneurial mindset, knowledge and intellectual curiosity needed to innovate world-relevant solutions and cultivate the leaders of tomorrow. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the New York Capital Region, Beacon, N.Y., and New York City, Clarkson educates 4,300 students across 95 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, the arts, education, sciences and health professions. Our alumni earn salaries that are among the top 2% in the nation and realize accelerated career growth. One in five already leads as a CEO, senior executive or owner of a company.
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is a pioneer of purpose-driven science and home to Cornell University’s second largest population of students, faculty and staff. We work across disciplines to tackle the challenges of our time through world-renowned research, education and outreach. The questions we probe and the answers we seek focus on three overlapping concerns: natural and human systems; food, energy and environmental resources; and social, physical and economic well-being.
SUNY Environmental Science & Forestry (ESF)
Founded in 1911, ESF is one of the nation’s premier colleges focused exclusively on the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies and building a sustainable future. The College is a recognized leader in the practice of sustainability, is close to being one of the first carbon negative institutions in the nation, and as a result is consistently ranked as one of the top “greenest” colleges in the nation. The College offers 26 undergraduate and 41 graduate degree programs, including bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the environmental sciences, landscape architecture, forest and natural resources management, engineering and related areas of scholarship and transdisciplinary studies. The Syracuse campus also offers online options, and associate degrees may be earned at ESF’s Ranger School in Wanakena.
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
Governor Cuomo's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieving its mandated goal of a zero-emissions electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including over $4 billion invested in 91 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector, a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035, and 1,800 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while meeting a goal to deliver 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities and advancing progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 TBtus.