16 Yale students have joined hundreds of others in the symbolic Fast for the Climate

“We have entered a new era that demands global solidarity in order to fight climate change and ensure that pursuit of sustainable human development remains at the fore of the global community’s efforts.”

– Yeb Sano, Lead Negotiator for the Philippines at the UNFCCC

This year’s international UN climate negotiation started off with an extraordinary personal and heroic action. The lead climate negotiator for the Philippines declared a fast for the duration of the two-week COP19. The fast is a symbolic display of empathy for the thousands of Filipinos struggling to survive in the deadly aftermath of Typhoon Hyain, the thousands who did not survive, and the future generations who will suffer the consequences of our failure to act.

The decision to fast makes this issue…

Ending this Climate Madness

Even before the climate negotiations began this week, Typhoon Haiyan sent a message to the world – a message that is still making waves. The strength and trajectory of Typhoon Haiyan was unprecedented, even for the Philippines, an island nation that experiences more disasters than most. In response, the lead Filipino negotiator declared a fast for the duration of the climate negotiations until progress has been made to “stop this madness.”

I spent last summer in Manila, Philippines researching the policy dimension of climate change and cities, so this plea for action hits home. For decades, climate scientists have predicted an increase in storm intensity and weather extremes due to anthropogenic climate change. Yet, when this prediction becomes reality, people run to the scientists asking for the…

Bringing the fossil fuel divestment conversation to the UN climate talks

Thanks to the support of the YCEI COP Fellowship, I am representing Fossil Free Yale at an international Fossil Free gathering at the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) 19th annual Conference of the Parties (COP 19) in Warsaw. Fossil Free is a movement born in response to international inaction on meaningful climate agreements. Thus, Fossil Free has come to COP 19 to bring our message to the international negotiations. Together with youth-led NGOs, SustainUS and the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC), we are leading a side event on Friday, November 15 on The Potential of Divestment: Changing the Landscape of Climate Politics and Its Relevance to 2015.

Divestment uses the power of investing to change the world. It is a tried and true tactic…

REDD-y... Set... Finance!

As international negotiations on REDD+ get underway this week at the UNFCCC’s 19th Conference of the Parties, it’s important to ask, what could COP-19 mean for the world’s forests and climate? What needs to come together over the next week or so in Warsaw to push REDD+ closer to becoming a reality? As the negative impacts of climate change become more and more palpable, REDD+ needs to take off and start its race against a warming world.

On Your Mark… Global Importance of REDD+

Greenhouse gas emissions from forests contribute ~17% of global anthropogenic emissions (IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, 2007). Because of this, forests must play a big role in efforts to address climate change.

REDD+ has enormous potential as a strategy to reduce emissions from the…

Just a little trip to Marseille

At F&ES, I’m constantly impressed by the unbelievable opportunities available to students. Ample funding is available for summer internships, hosting speakers, attending conferences, and much more. I got the chance to sit down with Sam Teicher, a fifth-year Master of Environmental Management candidate to talk with him about his most recent FES adventure.

Kaylee Weil: Sam, I hear you just traveled to Marseille, France! Can you tell me why you went there?
Sam Teicher: Of course, I’d be happy to. I was attending IMPAC3, the Third International Marine Protected Areas Congress. The Congress is held every four years, and this year it was hosted by the French city of Marseille and the island of Corsica. It was previously held in Washington D.C. in 2009 and the Australian city of…

As I await the start of the 19th Conference of Parties (COP19) on Climate Change tomorrow to be held here in Warsaw, I try to reflect on its significance for me. Throughout the course I am taking at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) on “International Organizations and Conferences”, outstanding experts, ambassadors and people who have made it their life’s work to be involved in climate change negotiations have not pinned their hopes on the outcome in Warsaw. Seriously, for them, Warsaw will not be a game-changer. I don’t like to bet. However, as far as the Philippines is concerned, typhoon Haiyan raised the stakes here.

As I write this, I am literally going through so many updates from different news agencies that have painted a…

Salsa 101: Making Sage Sizzle

“One, two, three… five, six, seven,” Susy Oropesa calls out the eight beats (with two pauses) of salsa to a group of 30 students — mostly F&ES, though other graduate students and undergrads as well — in Bowers Hall.

Susy and her fraternal twin sister Cristy, seniors at Yale College, teach salsa dancing class every week in Bowers (the day varies – email americalatina@yale.edu for more information). Beginners learn the basic steps starting at 7:30 p.m. and intermediate level dancers come in an hour later. Anyone can stay the whole two hours, but you must pay attention because the Oropesa sisters move swiftly. They are pros intent on teaching their craft.

Cristy and Susy were born in Cuba, where they first learned to salsa as toddlers, before emigrating to Canada in…

Saving the Oceans by…listening to a panel?

By now, you may have seen blog posts from Mariah Gill, one of Yale F&ES’s “Ocean Angels,” about our efforts to help create a UN-based Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on oceans. I’m another member of the Angels. And while Mariah wrote about some of our more glamorous exploits — meeting UN ambassadors, witnessing the formation of coalitions over brunch — I’m here to talk about some of our more mundane (but no less important!) activities.

In early November, a conference was held at Yale, entitled “Rio+20 to 2015.” If that name doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, that’s understandable. Let me explain. In 1992, an important environmental conference took place in Rio de Janeiro. The full name for the conference is the United Nations…

TGIF- Halloween!

Forestry Club

Prospective students often worry that F&ES is all work and no play; the masters program is two short years and between class, school work and research there’s an awful lot to fit in.  While that is certainly true, ours is nevertheless a very social group of students with a strong sense of community.  This is thanks, in part, to the Forestry Club; a student run group tasked with organizing social functions on campus that are open to the entire F&ES student body.  The club consists of 23 F&ES students who are elected by their peers.  Elections are held at the start of the school year and representatives serve on Forestry Club for the whole of their time at F&ES.  The group puts on weekly TGIF (“Thank…

Course Shopping at F&ES: How it Works

Hello Prospective Students,

We are into the sixth week of the academic year and classes are moving full-speed ahead. With patterns established and the flow of lectures, reading and coursework in place, it’s hard to remember a time when life was in flux as we all selected classes and organized our schedules.

F&ES, like the rest of Yale University, has a “shopping period,” during which students are able (and encouraged!) to sit in on a number of classes to build a schedule that fits best with their academic goals. During this time, which is typically about two weeks long, students can come and go from any number of classes that they are considering (or just curious about), without getting reprimanded by the professor. Classes still progress as normal…