2022 Summer Reading Program​

Climate Conversations: Women at the Forefront

Meredith’s 2022 Summer Reading Program will focus on one of the most pressing issues of our time: climate change. In particular, we will consider its impact on women, who are both disproportionately affected by climate change and actively working to alleviate its effects in powerful and creative ways.

First-year students and other program participants will read, listen, and watch the resources below – and then engage in discussions, service projects, and other activities during the fall semester.

Contact Information
Chrissie Bumgardner
Co-Director, First Year Experience

Lisa Brown 
Co-Director, First Year Experience

Discussion Questions

Why do you think Meredith is focusing on climate change in its summer reading program with first year students?

Can you describe a place or a person important to you that has been or might be impacted by climate change?

Please bring a quote or a highlight from one of the resources on the website that resonated with you to your discussion group and be prepared to share why it was meaningful.
Based on what you’ve learned, what is something you can do right now to help combat climate change?

Resource-Specific Questions

  • Bee City
    What is the relationship between the bees in cities and human urbanization of rural lands? Could bees flourish in urban environments without human intervention?
  • The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Fight Climate Change: Talk About It
    Katherine Hayhoe states the most important thing we can do to battle climate change is “talk about it.” Using the guidelines she suggests, what are some ideas for ways we can have positive and fruitful conversations at Meredith about this issue?
  • How Empowering Women and Girls Can Stop Global Warming
    Katherine Wilkinson believes that boosting climate leadership among women is essential to improving the ecological health of our planet. How does increasing the productivity of female owned farms and increasing women/girl’s access to education underpin the effort to increase female climate leadership?
  • The Climate Crisis Is Worse for Women. Here’s Why.
    Katherine Wilkinson argues that both the root causes and impacts of climate change are not gender-neutral, and that it’s rooted in patriarchy, among other things. Do you agree with her assessment? Why or why not?
  • Growing Bricks, Not Another Brick in the Wall
    Ginger Krieg Dosier describes developing a process for growing concrete using bacteria, instead of traditional methods.  How could this new process make a difference with climate change?  What problems or challenges might Ms. Dosier and her company encounter in trying to change the way bricks and concrete are made? This video was recorded in 2013– how might you investigate what progress has been made since then?
  • Earthrise
    How would you summarize Gorman’s central message in this poem? How does Gorman use language, rhythm, imagery and other poetic devices to communicate her message
  • When You Walk Over the Earth
    How is the relationship between humans and the natural world characterized in this poem? Does this characterization match your own experience with the natural world? Why or why not?
  • Hope is the Legacy We Build Together for a Better World
    Based on the Hopecast conversation between Jane Goodall and Margaret Atwood, it is clear that both women view hope as individually centered but communally impactful. Talk about a community effort that represents hope in your county/city/town/neighborhood/school.

10 Tips to Help Address Climate Change

  1. Buy fewer clothes
  2. Hold on to your cell phone (and other electronics) longer
  3. Bring your own mug or water bottle
  4. Walk or bike instead of driving
  5. Check your personal care items for toxic chemicals
  6. Use LED light bulbs
  7. Eat more plant-based foods, less meat
  8. Plant something
  9. Use slower shipping methods when online shopping
  10. Vote! 

Get more tips and ideas for steps you can take to help address climate change.

"It's time to change our mindset toward implementing solutions. A vibrant, fair, and regenerative future is possible – not when thousands of people do climate justice activism perfectly but when millions of people do the best they can."

– Xiye Bastida