Established in 2019, the Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability (3CS) at Ashoka University makes use of interdisciplinary approaches to tackle the wicked problem of climate change.
The Centre brings together members of the Ashoka community across disciplines with a shared interest in studying, communicating, and mitigating the effects of future climate change on our society, health, and environment.
With 25 members from nine departments ─ English, Biology, History, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology, Environmental Science, Physics, Computer Science, and Economics ─ it is the most cross-disciplinary center at Ashoka University. The Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability (3CS) seeks to provide the next generation of Ashoka-educated researchers and leaders with a comprehensive interdisciplinary education in the problems posed by human-induced climate change and possible ways of addressing them.
The first inaugural conference organised by 3CS in February 2021 ─ the Healing Earth Conference ─ combined rigorous academic methodologies with approaches to sustainability that emphasised broader aspects of ecological health. The conference brought together researchers, practitioners, and faculty to collectively explore the links, trade-offs, and tensions at the nexus of climate change, health, and ecosystems.
The Centre’s first project also began in 2021, jointly funded with the Mphasis Lab at Ashoka University. Led by Prof. Anirban Mondal, the project aims to create a cost-effective and scalable one-stop system to monitor and assess air quality. It will provide users real-time local information, helping them make informed decisions regarding their exposure. It will also allow the public to make their concerns known to decision makers at various levels.
In November 2021, Prof. Iain Stewart, the Joint Director of 3CS, chaired a session on ‘Building a Climate Resilient Future’ at COP26, where he hosted a global showcase of how countries and communities are rising to the challenge of climate change. This was followed by a panel discussion on how these pockets of innovation can become multipliers of change.
The coming year of 2022 will be one of many experiments for the Centre. Other than research projects taken up by faculty members of 3CS, a key focus area will be projects communicating the urgency of issues surrounding climate change and sustainability through the imaginative use of social media, blogs, art, music, podcasts, and targeted advocacy campaigns. 3CS will build partnerships with departments and other Centres of Ashoka University, and with external partners, with the aim to expand the reach and scope of work. In addition to the annual Healing Earth Conference, 3CS will launch a second conference and a curated seminar series to bring together Indian and international speakers from various disciplines.
As campus reopens and students return, we look forward to engaging with them at the Centre. 3CS welcomes student initiatives aligned with the Centre's vision, and we are eager to see what Ashoka students come up with as they make the Centre their own.
Written by Prof. Gautam Menon, Professor of Physics and Biology and the Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability (3CS) at Ashoka University.