Climate Resilience Institute at Tufts University

Lead by Dr. Gabreila Garcia July 11th – 22nd 2022

There has never been a more pressing time to study the intersection of environmental change and social equity and to learn how you can make a difference. In my time at Tufts, we applied an interdisciplinary case-study approach to the social, ecological, and political facets of contemporary environmental issues. 

We learned the principles and key concepts of environmental change and resilience from experts in many fields. For example, Dr. Tim Griffin, a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy, gave a presentation regarding the composition of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the impact they have on consumers and crops.

We gained hands-on knowledge of techniques for environmental data collection, analysis, and visualization. Topics ranged from the study of bumble bees to climate activism and environmental justice. Students actively participated in community responses to climate change through a series of socio-environmental field trips with Boston-area organizations including, the Green Dragons, Tufts Pollinator Initiative, and GreenRoots. In collaboration with these groups, we had the opportunity to complete activities such as collecting and identifying insect species from a botanical garden. This activity was especially memorable because it exposed me to biodiversity and resilience within ecosystems.

Working in small teams, students identified socio-environmental research questions, gathered and analyzed data on the subject, and synthesized their findings into a college-level capstone project. I researched Wedgewood in Pensacola County, Florida, and the environmental injustices the community faces. Our project provided a brief overview of environmental injustice in America and discussed how the poor infrastructure like open landfills next to water sources, porous soil, and overpopulation impacted Wedgewood residents’ health and quality of life.

I met a diverse group of individuals from all around our country and globe, ranging from areas like Washington State, Texas, and China. It was very gratifying to complete this course with a like-minded and passionate community that is ready to ignite change in our world.