Climate change is an existential crisis, and it intersects with everything that Siena cares about as a Franciscan community. To that end, the School of Science is presenting a year-long lecture series on the topic, featuring faculty a range of academic disciplines.

The “Siena Climate Series” is the brainchild of John Cummings, Ph.D., dean of the School of Science. It is being organized by Sarah Berke, Ph.D., associate professor of biology; Nora Mills Boyd, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy; and Tom Dickens, Ph.D., professor of religious studies.

The series will feature seven talks, each held at 6PM in Key Auditorium of Roger Bacon Hall. It will kick off with “Deeper Than Consensus: Philosophy and Climate Science,” by Prof. Boyd, this Thursday, Jan. 30. 

“The Siena campus and our broader community need to educate ourselves about climate change so we can better fulfill our responsibilities to skillfully address it,” said Prof. Boyd. “We're not doing enough, and we won't find the motivation to take meaningful action unless we take the time to really look the problem in the face. Pope Francis is right to call for ‘a new and universal solidarity’ in this context, and we hope the Siena Climate Series helps to cultivate relevant dialog, insight, and timely collective action.”

Co-organizer Prof. Berke, said, “At Siena, we are lucky to have faculty who think deeply about climate change from diverse perspectives. We are excited to create opportunities for faculty from different disciplines to engage more deeply with the Siena community on these issues. We also hope to bring in friends and neighbors from the greater Capital Region community, to join in a broader conversation about climate change. We are all affected by the climate crisis, and we must all come together to find our way forward.”

Prof Dickens added, “Climate change is upon us. Mitigating its impact on the most vulnerable among us and will require input from everyone.  Because the problem cuts across academic disciplines, no one approach will suffice to reduce its worst effects, let alone develop and promote sustainable ways to live.  Siena’s Climate Change Series joins a worldwide dialogue seeking the best paths forward.”


The complete schedule:

January 30

Nora Mills Boyd, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Philosophy

“Deeper than Consensus: Philosophy and Climate Science”

February 27

Jim Booker, Ph.D., Professor of Economics

“Climate and the Policy Conundrum: The Difficult Prospects of Alternative Approaches”

March 25

Tom Dickens, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies

“Caring For Planet Home: Pope Francis’s Environmental Ethics”

April 30

Jon Bannon, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics

“Climate Models, Smartphones, and How AI Might Help”

September 24

Laurie Naranch, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Political Science

“Land Use Narratives in the Anthropocene: The Slow Violence of Climate Disasters”

October 29

Kate Meierdiercks, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences

“Climate Change and Water”

November 19

Tom Coohill, Ph.D., Professor of Physics

“Ozone Policy: A Model for Environmental Policy?”


The series is free and open to the public. A cash bar and snacks will be available.