‘We create changemakers’: the new UK college dedicated to climate crisis

Black Mountains College in Wales aims to prepare students for life during a planetary emergency

The lecture theatre was once a cowshed, the study centre is an old farmhouse living room and the classrooms are mostly outdoors: welcome to the newest higher educational college in Britain. The former farm that is Black Mountains College campus is a core part of an insurgent institution that is the first entirely dedicated to adapting to the climate emergency.

The college is this year offering a radical new degree course designed to prepare students for a career in times of climate breakdown, and build a generation with the innovative skills and ideas required to tackle the crisis.
The first students for its BA in sustainable futures: arts, ecology and systems change will arrive at the rural campus in September to take the three-year cross-disciplinary course, which features the latest climate science, neuroscience, environmental history and critical thinking, with Amitav Ghosh’s The Nutmeg’s Curse a key text.

“The idea of the degree is we create changemakers who become catalysts in organisations,” said Ben Rawlence, a writer and thinker who founded the college with a fellow writer, Owen Sheers, three years ago. “Every organisation is going to be desperate to hire climate-literate people. The demand for it is going to explode.”

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