Published: March 18, 2021 By

As the Coloradan pivots to examine the ways in which the university is addressing pressing issues of our time, we need alumni, now as much as ever, to understand and engage in the powerful research and education happening every day at CU Boulder. The fall issue of the magazine examined racism and anti-racism on and around campus through the personal stories of students and your fellow alumni. This issue, we’re tackling climate change.

Why climate change? It’s simple: One of the core missions of our university is to positively impact humanity, and humanity faces the existential crisis of a warming planet caused by human beings. It is essential that we do everything in our power across the university with the resources available to us to be part of the solution. Anything less would be a disservice to our history, our future and to all those who call themselves Buffs.

It’s important to reflect on this even — especially — when the world seems to be distracted by the news of the day. 

At CU, internationally recognized climate scientists are utilizing the most compelling resources available to create solutions to complex interlocking and overlapping problems. We are one of the top research universities in the world for geoscience and climate science.

We have deep partnerships with a host of federal labs right in our backyard addressing this crisis, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. We are in a unique position to address this generational emergency and it is incumbent on us to do so.

We are leading by example — building one of the most sustainable campuses in the country — perhaps the world — and we are also working on the human side of the problem, impacting behavior through work at the new Center for Creative Climate Communication and Behavior Change. In short, we are a global leader in climate change research and education. The way forward to a more sustainable future runs right through CU Boulder.

The current Coloradan highlights some of the most fascinating people at CU and the problems they’re addressing. It’s also an unambiguous statement of CU’s commitment to reverse the damage being done to our planet. No matter the political or policy headwinds, CU will continue to do what it has always done and tackle the most difficult challenges of the day. 

Philip P. DiStefano is the 11th chancellor of CU Boulder.

Photo by Glenn Asakaw.