University of New England Environmental Studies students work with UNE Associate Professor Pam Morgan to survey elevations along the Saco River in order to map sea levels.

University of New England Environmental Studies students work with UNE Associate Professor Pam Morgan to survey elevations along the Saco River in order to map sea levels.

BIDDEFORD — With the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference having just ended in France, the world’s attention has turned, more than ever, to the devastating effects of climate change on the planet and what can be done to counteract the damage already wreaked by global warming.

As climate change promises to be one of the defining environmental and social problems of our lifetime, the University of New England is poised to educate tomorrow’s leaders in the climate change battle by offering an innovative, interdisciplinary minor in Climate Change Studies, the university said recently in a press release.

The Climate Change Studies minor at UNE is designed to equip students with a fundamental understanding of the issue of climate change from diverse perspectives, providing education on the scientific, social, political, psychological and ethical dimensions of the issue. Open to all students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the minor comprises classes drawn from an array of UNE departments, including Environmental Studies; Business; Biology; Political Science; Chemistry and Physics; Marine Sciences; Society, Culture and Languages; and History and Philosophy.

According to Climate Change Studies Program Coordinator Bethany Woodworth, Ph.D., a comprehensive understanding of climate change is essential to a growing number of careers in many professional realms.

“It is vitally important that business students are able to incorporate climate change into business models,” Woodworth said in a recent press release, “that urban planners understand the challenges of how to plan for changing conditions, that political science students understand the policy implications, that sociologists grasp the impacts of climate change on human societies; and that marine scientists grapple knowledgeably with the implications of climate change for our ocean economies.”

UNE’s minor in Climate Change Studies will help prepare students for a myriad of professions that directly or indirectly relate to understanding, combating and adapting to climate change.

Housed in UNE’s Department of Environmental Studies, the new minor in Climate Change Studies consists of both required courses and electives from the categories of policy, natural science and social science.