Bending the Curve: A curriculum that empowers 1 Million Climate Champions to solve climate change

Bending the Curve: A curriculum that empowers 1 Million Climate Champions to solve climate change

July 15, 2019

APRU encourages universities and students to join Bending the Curve: Climate Change Solutions, a multifaceted education project initiated by the University of California (UC).

The curriculum is designed to empower a million climate champions across the world to solve the climate change problem.

“We are witnessing new weather extremes because we have made a new climate,” said UC Professor Ram Ramanathan, who designed and chaired the Bending the Curve book and the education program, in his keynote at the APRU Annual Presidents’ Meeting 2019 at UCLA.

“But it’s not too late, as plenty of scalable solutions are available for which we have a decade to implement if we commit to the enormous investments that are needed to accelerate the implementation,” he added.

The education project consists of a Bending the Curve (BtC) Hybrid course, with 18 original video lectures from 23 UC researchers and academics as well as face-to-face discussions facilitated by an instructor; a BtC Online course to provide for a greater number of students; the Bending the Curve: Climate Change Solutions digital textbook; as well as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC).

The BtC Online course will be launched in Spring 2020, with the MOOC currently being designed. The Bending the Curve: Climate Change Solutions digital textbook had its soft release at APRU’s Annual Presidents’ Meeting (APM) at the University of California at San Diego on June 24.

Ramanathan had as early as 1980 correctly predicted that warming due to CO2 would be detectable by the year 2000. He explained how global warming in the 1990s led to climate change, which then in 2017 led to climate disruption. Ramanathan drew a link from weather extremes to public health, citing cardiac and respiratory disorders, Malaria, dengue, salmonellosis, cholera, as well as depression, PTSD, and existential distress among the diseases caused by climate extremes disrupting body functions.

According to Ramanathan, there is a 50% probability of 20C warming in 26 years, which would expose 1.5 billion people to deadly heat and 600 million people to vector borne diseases.

Also, passing the 20C threshold would causing severe wide-spread droughts and water shortages, which would, in turn, cause mass displacement and migration.

“Does our responsibility as academics end with knowledge creation and education? Or should we venture into translating the knowledge into actions?” Ramanathan said.


Christina Schönleber, APRU Director (Policy & Programs), strongly encourages APRU universities to sign MOUs and join forces to fight climate change by mobilizing students. Bring Bending the Curve to your university: christina.schoenleber@apru.org

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