Chatham University

For more than six decades, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased multiple folds. Research indicates that sea levels have been rising by about 3.5 millimeters each year for more than twenty years. Record high and low temperatures have amplified precipitations and distressed communities around the world. The amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere due to human activity have spawned global concern and sparked, here in the United States, the creation of policies such as the Clean Air Act, the American Clean Energy and Security Act among other measures.

The UN Climate Change Summit occurs annually to try and implement universal, legally-binding agreements on the problems surrounding Climate Change.

Humanity seems on the march to find alternative sources of energy, and foster socio-economic choices harnessing the virtues of sustainable development.

We ask: has the global scientific community reached a dependable consensus as to the current and projected effects of Climate Change? What are the most compelling models for mitigating climate imbalances? Who are the most prominent individual champions for cultural change locally, nationally, and internationally; and what part can we take in further energizing their networks? Better yet: what new actions are you prepared to take moving forward?

  • Eboo Patel, Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core

    Eboo Patel has bridged the gap between his Muslim faith, his Indian heritage and the civic responsibilities of his American citizenship. In Acts of Faith, he calls young people to action. Patel’s ideas for intercommunal dialogue that can change the world earned him the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize in 2012.

  • Richard Alley, All-campus Author: Earth, The Operators’ Manual

    Earth: The Operators’ Manual (ETOM) is a rigorously researched, beautifully filmed and ultimately uplifting antidote to the widespread "doom and gloom" approach to climate change. The program opens with a thorough grounding in Earth’s climate history and an overview of the current dilemmas, but its main thrust is an upbeat assessment of our many viable sustainable energy options.

Upcoming Events

Environmental Justice Film Series:Semper fi! --Always Faithful

Sunday, November 1, 2015
06:00 PM - 08:30 PM
Sanger Hall (in Coolidge)

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Pittsburgh to Paris: Connecting for the Climate

Thursday, November 5, 2015
07:00 PM - 08:30 PM
Mellon Board Room

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Resources & Learning

Define Climate Change Dr. Vandana Shiva, a well-known Indian environmentalist, said it best: the laws of Nature are not negotiable. read more.

Basic Facts

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines it as any measurable variation in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a direct result of human activity… read more.

Rising Sea Levels

Global mean Sea levels have risen 10 to 20 centimeters over the past century… read more.

Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse Gasesbuild up in Earth’s atmosphere and warm the climate… read more.


Deforestation is a particular concern in tropical rainforests because these forests are home to much of the world’s biodiversity. For example, in the Amazon, around 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching. Deforestation in this region is chiefly rampant near more populated areas, roads and rivers, but even remote areas have been encroached upon when valuable mahogany, gold and oil are discovered.

Some 46-58 thousand square miles of forest are lost each year–equivalent to 36 football fields every minute… read more.

Current and Future Impact In the United States alone, a large majority of the population recognize that the worsening effects of climate dysfunctions on water, food, land, and wildlife are evident. They also seem to agree that climate change is not a fatality. read more.

Hurricane Katrina

Early in the morning on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States. When the storm made landfall, it had a Category 3 rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale–it brought sustained winds of 100–140 miles per hour–and stretched some 400 miles across. The storm itself did a great deal of damage, but its aftermath was even more catastrophic. Levee breaches led to massive flooding, and many people charged that the federal government was slow to meet the needs of the people most affected by the storm. Hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were displaced from their homes, and experts estimate that Katrina caused more than $100 billion in damage.


Around Lake Chad in West-Central Africa for instance, unsustainable projects have continued to divert water from the bassin. Lake Chad has been a source of freshwater for irrigation projects in each of these countries. Maps drawn from a series of satellite images show a dramatic decrease in the size of the lake over the past 30 years. Since 1963, the lake has shrunk to nearly a twentieth of its original size, due both to climatic changes and to high demands for agricultural water. Since 1963, the surface area of Lake Chad has decreased from approximately 25,000 km2 to 1,350 km2 (Scientific American, 2001).


In Costa Rica 175 mm of rain fell in 24 hours between Monday July 6 and Tuesday July 7, 2015 heavy rainfall and flooding on. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that Puerto Limon saw 174.9 mm of rain fall in 24 hours during that period. Costa Rica’s National Meteorological Institute have warned that the heavy rainfall will continue.

Melting Glaciers

Rising temperatures will speed up the melting of glaciers for years to come. According to NASA, the polar ice cap is now melting at the alarming rate of nine percent per decade. Arctic ice thickness has decreased 40 percent since the 1960s.

Responses A stimulating, evolving concept is growing in popularity: climate change resilience. read more.

Global, Paris December 2015

UN Climate Change Conference *


Global Climate Change Alliance – 38 countries and 8 regions that play a major role in supporting adaptation and mitigation efforts in least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing countries (SIDCs).


US Clean Air Act – the comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources… read more.

One of the goals of the Act was to set and achieve National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in every state by 1975 in order to address the public health and welfare risks posed by certain widespread air pollutants. The setting of these pollutant standards was coupled with directing the states to develop State Implementation Plans (SIPs) applicable to appropriate industrial sources in the state, in order to achieve these standards. The Act was amended in 1977 and 1990 primarily to set new goals (dates) for achieving attainment of NAAQS since many areas of the country had failed to meet the benchmarks and the deadlines.


The Breathe Project Initiative for clean air in Southwestern Pennsylvania. We are bringing together businesses, government, organizations and residents throughout southwestern Pennsylvania to clean our air for healthier communities and a stronger economy.… read more.

Activism Wherever you look, the days and times where most people supposed they were completely powerless against the forces of climate change are gone forever. There is big difference between feeling vulnerable and feeling defeated, isn’t it? read more.


"Man is suddenly becoming aware that by an ill–considered exploitation of nature he risks destroying it and becoming in his turn the victim of this degradation…"
Pope Francis, On Care for our Common Home.


Forest Man: Jadav "Molai" Payeng a Mishing activist plants a 1200 acre forest as big as Central Park.


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"Don’t Just Sit There!" Joylette Portlock is the current President and has served on the Communitopia board since 2010. She is the project lead and star of the "Don't Just Sit There – Do Something!" video series on climate change targeted to the general public. Joylette studied biology at M.I.T. and completed her Ph.D. in genetics from Stanford University in 2006. During and following her studies at Stanford, she designed genetics programs for science museums, relocating to the Pittsburgh area in 2007. Joylette has worked previously for The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit founded to increase public awareness of climate change, where she organized the national community of climate presenters. Later, she served as Western Pennsylvania Outreach Coordinator with PennFuture, a statewide environmental advocacy group where she worked with the organization's members, elected officials, and the public on energy, air, water, mining, and transportation issues. She is a HuffPost blogger, and currently serves on the Allegheny County Board of Health.