It takes resilient people to steward a resilient planet. Climate change and transitions to sustainable societies demand a lot from people to cope, and to act.  Attention is overdue, then, to also bolster the “social climate” needed to absorb those demands. A strong social climate is one that nurtures the emotional, psychological, and behavioral building blocks of collective efficacy, cohesion, wellbeing– for a social fabric that can manage, care, and problem-solve through crises.

Strains on the social climate are increasingly obvious, such as widespread mental health effects from exposure to climate damage. Crucial to recognize is that these effects are embedded in complex interdependencies with societal factors, purposes, tasks, and agency. These factors have the ability to elevate, or degrade, the strengths of communities to humanely and effectively manage great change.

Our network seeks to understand how a University like Columbia can be an engine for strong social climates; how to get to an ecology of knowledge that is up to the job to describe and strengthen this wide-ranging notion of psychological well-being & societal health, as a needed backbone to navigate the Anthropocene.

Our work begins with the establishment of three related workgroups that pursue some initial ideas of how Columbia University can step into those possibilities.

We invite all interested faculty and students to join in. If you would like to get involved, please reach out to us at gb2813@cumc.columbia.edu 


Network Head(s)

Name Title Email
de Sherbinin, Alexander Director, Senior Research Scientist, and Manager, NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) amd155@columbia.edu
Minow Smith, Darby Adjunct Assistant Professor of Writing in the Faculty of the Arts dms2302@columbia.edu
Verdeli, Helen Associate Professor of Psychology and Education verdeli@tc.columbia.edu
Lovecchio, Johanna Director of Program Design jrl2205@columbia.edu
Sikkema, Kathy Chair, Department of Sociomedical Sciences ks3364@cumc.columbia.edu
Wainberg, Milton Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Sociomedical Sciences mlw35@cumc.columbia.edu
Smith, Pamela Seth Low Professor of History ps2270@columbia.edu
Parks, Robbie Assistant Professor (tenure track) rmp2198@columbia.edu

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