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Inaugural Education & Society Lecture about Climate Change a Success

The 125 CU Denver students, faculty and staff who attended the Inaugural Education & Society Lecture

entitled “What Kind of Courage Do We Need Right Now? Moral Courage in a Time of Climate Catastrophe” presented by the School of Education & Human Development’s Educational Foundations program, left the Lawrence Street Center on Tuesday, March 18 with a climate change discussion guide and many thoughtful questions on their mind, including: “How are they going to top that lecture next year?”

The event started with tasty Middle Eastern cuisine and festive vocals, guitar strums and trumpet blasts by the Mariachi Azul Tequila band. Next, Maria L. Talero, PhD led interactive discussions and multimedia experiences about climate change, suggesting that participants take action based on Social Workspace Theory. The event ended on a celebratory note with more mariachi music and some questions and answers.

According to SEHD faculty members René Galindo and Manuel Espinoza, philosopher Maria L. Talero was chosen to give this inaugural lecture because she is an “organic intellectual” who is "doing some very high-quality work," and "who is grounded in the natural world as well as the spirit."

“She has a beautiful way of linking the life of the mind to the struggles for justice at the societal level,” said Espinoza, “and we wanted somebody who knew how to traffic in ideas that were able to touch reality.”

Participants pondered why climate change is rarely discussed publically or looked at directly: human sacrifice, hopelessness, fear of the unknown, guilt, vulnerability, disinformation, perceptual challenges, vested corporate interests, and the potential for serious devastation were mentioned.

What is going on in people’s mind when they confront climate change? The audience discussed denial, shifting blame, a sense of complacency because the problem is so big, and more.

“Scientists are trying to warn us that we are crossing a tipping point to runaway climate change,” said Talero. “Nobody wants this to be real.” She discussed that we need to do something about climate change in the next decade, and that the important discussions about catastrophic climate change really can’t and shouldn’t wait. We can’t solve the issue in isolation, or by simply taking “individual action” like recycling. We need to show moral courage by mobilizing the power of human relationships and “hot zones/social contexts/classrooms/activities” where we already have influence and feel rooted. Through social workspaces, we can change our perception of reality and change “our business as usual approach to climate change.”

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