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Mark Twain once said, “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.”

But what happens when the climate we expect is not the climate we get, when climate change accelerates at rates far faster than ever before? How are humans affected if average temperatures rise? How are greenhouse gases involved in rising temperatures and shifting climates? How is this most recent shift in climate similar and different to other historical climate changes?

During the 2016-2017 school year, the Pace community considered CLIMATE, the Isdell Center for Global Leadership’s (ICGL) third annual global theme. Students, faculty, staff, parents, and friends of the school explored climate as it relates to science and technology, culture and arts, social entrepreneurship and business, service and environmental sustainability, public policy and international relations—and our individual lives.

Teachers incorporated climate issues and study into their curriculum with the goal of building awareness, fostering understanding and encouraging engagement. We heard from experts; explored the interplay between CLIMATE and FOOD and WATER, our previous ICGL themes; traveled to destinations experiencing climate change to discuss its impact with those affected; and talked to skeptics and scientists to dive headfirst into the storm.

This Year’s Isdell Global Leaders

Following an extensive application process, Ross Cefalu, Max Irvine, Melanie Crawford and Jenny Luetters were selected to make up the Isdell Global Leaders (IGL) Class of 2017. These students spent the 2016-2017 school year exploring climate through research, travel and an independent-study course.

ICGL Director Trish Anderson and Upper School teachers Kevin Ballard and Caitlin Terry served as IGL advisors, traveling with students on two climate-related study tours, the first to Churchill, Manitoba, one of the few human settlements where polar bears can be observed in the wild.

On the second study tour, the IGLs journeyed to the Hawaiian Islands to study climate change’s impact on tropical environments. During their visit, the IGLs partnered with the University of Hawaii’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.

Visiting Scholar Robert Swan

Sir Robert Swan, one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers and environmental leaders, is Pace Academy’s 2016-2017 ICGL Visiting Scholar. At age 33, Swan became the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles, and his 900-mile journey to the South Pole stands as the longest unassisted walk ever made.
During his expeditions, Swan experienced the effects of global warming at both Poles. In Antarctica, his eyes forever changed color after prolonged exposure under the ozone layer’s hole. In the Arctic, his team survived near-death encounters in a melting ocean, prematurely caused by global warming.
These experiences helped to shape and focus Swan’s life’s goal: working towards the preservation of Antarctica as the last great wilderness on earth. A lauded motivational speaker, Swan will share his experiences and environmental expertise with the Pace community, bringing a unique perspective to global climate issues.

ICGL Student Advisory Council

Donn Boddie
Gavin Guest
Avery Herman
Thomas Hoover
Jeremy Levin
Chris McCaffrey
Ethan Much
Annie Nottingham
Laura Shelton
Lex Trevelino