Trinity Geography Annual Lecture

2023 Annual Lecture: Climate Justice and the Role of Universities in Transformative Change

Jennie C Stephens, Dean’s Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy, Northeastern University

Annual lecture 2023 given by Prof. Jennie Stephens

Drawing from decades of international university-based experience in sustainability science, environmental justice, energy transitions, and climate justice policy, Prof. Stephens offers an inclusive invitation to collectively consider how transformative change happens and to explore the unique potential role of universities.

Transformative social change is needed to address the climate crisis which is exacerbating other crises and worsening social injustices, economic inequities, and health disparities within local communities and around the world.  During this time of growing instability and human suffering, this lecture proposes that we collectively reimagine the role of universities advancing climate justice and promoting societal transformation toward a more just, healthy, and stable future. A commitment to climate justice provides a helpful framework for colleges and universities to leverage their unique position in society and align their many initiatives to contribute to transformative change for the public good.

Prof Jennie C. Stephens

Guest Speaker 2023

Jennie C. Stephens is the Dean’s Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy at Northeastern’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. She is an international expert on energy transformation, energy justice, climate justice, energy democracy, and gender, race and power in climate policy.

Her book, Diversifying Power: Why We Need Antiracist, Feminist Leadership on Climate and Energy (Island Press, 2020) inspires collective action by elevating the stories of innovative diverse leaders to demonstrate how mobilizing transformative change requires centering feminist, antiracist priorities, redistributing wealth and power, and moving beyond narrow technocratic approaches. Before Northeastern, Professor Stephens was on the faculty at the University of Vermont (2014-2016) and Clark University (2005-2014).

She earned her PhD at Caltech in environmental science & engineering and her BA at Harvard in environmental science & public policy. During 2022-2023, she is on sabbatical as a visiting scholar at the Geography Department of Trinity College Dublin, at the Technical University of Dublin, and at Northeastern University London. She is also a Senior Fellow for Climate Justice at the Global Council for Science and the Environment.  @jenniecstephens