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Penn Libraries News

Climate Change and Sustainability Across the Disciplines

The Penn Libraries is providing a broad array of resources to help support teaching, learning, and research across all the disciplines of climate change. 

A pond is surrounded by rocks and greenery.

The University of Pennsylvania is committed to solving the issues of climate change and creating new approaches for sustainability. Penn was an early adopter of a Climate & Sustainability Action Plan, and the University has pledged to be 100% carbon neutral by 2042. Classes on climate change — including the topics of environmental ethics, environmental justice, and the implications of climate on health — can be found in almost all the Schools on campus. We have opened multiple centers and institutes to support and translate the sustainability research being done. The Penn Libraries is providing a broad array of resources to help support teaching, learning, and research across all the disciplines of climate change.

Communicating the Climate Crisis

Issues of climate change are part of everyone’s daily life whether they recognize it or not. As research increases and opportunities and alternatives to common practices grow, it is imperative to stay up to date and to knowledgeably share ideas and concerns. The Annenberg School for Communication partners with the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) to run the Message Effects Lab, which works to determine the best ways to communicate health messages that inspire change and action. The Penn Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media works with the School of Arts and Sciences, the Annenberg School, and the Annenberg Center for Public Policy to improve the conversation around environmental sustainability and climate change.


Miseducation: How Climate Change is Taught in America — What are our children learning about caring for the earth and their own futures?

Communicating Climate Change: Making Environmental Messaging Accessible — Guidance on how to talk about the science of climate change for a variety of audiences.  

Strategic Climate Change Communications: Effective Approaches to Fighting Climate Denial — Helps environmental journalists recognize and combat highly effective public relations techniques often successfully used against them.

Journals and Newswires  

E&E News — This non-partisan news organization publishes and aggregates Energy Wire, Climate Wire, Green Wire, E&E Daily, and E&E News PM.

Ferns Ag Insider — Reports on agricultural sustainability, toxicology, biodiversity, food and nutrition availability, oceans, and freshwater.  

SNL Energy — For a market perspective on energy, check out these publications from SNL Financial (Société Nationale du Logement / French: National Housing Corporation).

Environmental Communication — Taking a multidisciplinary approach, articles in this journal explore the different ways that media and society intersect around environmental issues.

Applied Environmental Education and Communication — Developments in environmental social marketing, environmental journalism, environmental education, sustainability education, environmental interpretation, and environmental health communication.  

Planetary Health

How can we begin to adapt our built environment so that it can be symbiotic with the natural world? PSOM students have developed a Planetary Health Resource Database, a comprehensive site that connects students to groups, organizations, and initiatives that provide opportunities to work toward a healthier environment; Weitzman School of Design’s Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology is undertaking a collaborative research effort to identify “hot spot cities” to study how development along the edges of cities affects areas of high biodiversity; and during Penn’s recent Climate Week (September 18-22), the Perry World House hosted a panel discussion, “The Crisis of Climate-Driven Extinction.”


Sustainable Soil and Land Management and Climate Change — A complete overview of plant and soil interactions within an environment of greenhouse gas emissions and organic carbon.  

The Role of Agriculture in Climate Change Mitigation — Discusses methods for reducing greenhouse gases through appropriate management of ecosystems and animal husbandry.

Hope on Earth: A Conversation — Paul Erlich and Michael Charles Tobias exchange ideas and converse around their views on the impact human civilization has on the environment and health of the planet.


Shored Up — A film on 2012’s Hurricane Sandy and climate change.  

Hand. Line. Cod. — A film on sustainable fishing.  

The Suzuki Diaries — Investigating how one might live a sustainable life in Europe.

Cooked: Survival by Zip Code — A study of structural racism and climate change within the context of the 1995 Chicago heat wave.  

Human Health and Community  

As the COVID-19 pandemic reached its peak, the inequities of our health care systems became increasingly evident. Addressing inequity of access and quality of care became a priority concern at PSOM, Penn Medicine, and in many disciplines and schools at Penn. It has also become clear that climate change will have a much more significant impact on less advantaged countries and communities. The Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics studies structural inequalities due to the impact of climate change in combination with access to health care; Urban Health Lab at Penn Medicine seeks to disrupt structural racism and build greener, safer, healthier communities; and the Wharton Climate Center has embarked on the Environmental, Social and Governance Initiative.


Health and Sustainability: An Introduction — Describes the reinforcing circular connections between health and sustainability.

Principles of Green Bioethics: Sustainability in Health Care — Explores how green bioethics integrates environmental ethics and biomedical ethics to create an interdisciplinary approach to sustainable health care.

Our Fragile Moment: How Lessons from Earth's Past Can Help Us Survive the Climate Crisis — Penn's Michael Mann examines the conditions under which humans can survive in order to present a realistic view of the significance of climate change.

Living Sustainably: What Intentional Communities Can Teach Us About Democracy, Simplicity, and Nonviolence – Explores communities working together to successfully create new cultures based on justice and sustainability.


Nature Food — Evidence and narratives on optimizing and securing food systems for the future.

Environment and Health — New in 2023 from the American Chemical Society, this journal explores the relationship between the environment and human health.

Environment, Development and Sustainability — Covers all aspects of the environmental impacts of socio-economic development.

Environmental Justice

The Perry World House, the School of Social Policy and Practice, the Penn Program for Environmental Humanities, and the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media are some of the programs seeking to develop leaders, initiatives, and practices to work toward addressing the challenges and risk of climate change equitably across neighborhoods, regions, and nations.


The Ethics of Climate Change: Right and Wrong in a Warming World — Examines climate change as a moral issue.

Sustainability Ethics and Sustainability Research — Takes a philosophical approach to sustainability and integrates an ethical analysis.

Global Justice, Natural Resources, and Climate Change — Describes a new theory for global egalitarianism.

Discourses on Sustainability: Climate Change, Clean Energy, and Justice — Looks at the problems of climate change within the context of social justice and economic growth.

Climate Justice in the Majority World: Vulnerability, Resistance and Diverse Knowledges — Considers refugee rights; climate justice and inequities; environmental change; and energy within the context of human rights, urban sustainability, and more.


Ethics & the Environment — Considers conceptual approaches in ethical theory and ecological philosophy.  

Environmental Justice — Explores the equitable treatment of all people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.


Earth, Water, Woman: Community & Sustainability in Trinidad & Tobago — Highlights the Fondes Amandes Community Re-Forestation Project.



December 6, 2023