Climate Week at Penn: Penn Engineering’s Contributions to Fighting Climate Change

Ocek Eke
Ocek Eke is Penn Engineering’s Director for Global and Local Service Learning Programs and a member of the Penn Climate Week planning committee.

Penn Climate Week kicks off on Monday, September 21. Alongside dozens of virtual events from around the University, Penn Engineering is offering five events with a common message: Whether we choose to act as individuals or as a collective, we have a responsibility address the effects of climate change.

The effects of climate change on our planet can be seen all around us today. From the raging wildfires in the western United States to intensified hurricanes in the U.S. Gulf Coast, these impacts are devastating and will continue to worsen unless critical steps are taken by all of us to mitigate them.

When I was approached to serve on the Penn Climate Week planning committee, I immediately accepted the invitation. I have seen firsthand the effects of climate change in places like Guatemala and Rwanda where our Penn Engineering students performed service learning projects in renewable energy and clean water. Their work and projects mitigated droughts caused by climate change and provided water for people in these communities.

But even here in the United States, the effects of climate change are unmistakable. Climate events predicted to happen 100 years into the future are happening now. Take a look at the fires in California, Washington and Oregon, and hurricane impacts on Louisiana. Climate change is an existential threat to humankind and other species of plants and animals on the planet.

For Penn Climate Week, thanks to the help of the Penn Engineering Green Team, we invited interdisciplinary experts to discuss different approaches to combating the effects of climate change locally and globally.

The events organized by Penn Engineering for Climate Week include:

Monday, 9/21, 11a–12p
Africa and Climate Change in a Globalized World

Tuesday, 9/22, 1p–2p
Advancing Technology to Ensure Food, Energy, and Water Security

Wednesday, 9/23, 11a–12p
Carbon Offsets Should Make a Difference: Connecting Offsets for University-Sponsored Air Travel to a Vision for an Energy and Climate Partnership with West Philadelphia

Thursday, 9/24, 11a–12p
Embodied Carbon and the Built Environment: A Focus on Mass Timber

Friday, 9/25, 11a–12p
A Case for Carbon Removal from Air

Penn Climate Week is for everyone. We hope you can find an event from those listed above and participate. Climate Change will impact all of us; in fact, it is impacting many on our planet and has the potential to cause more damage to us if we choose not to act. Through these programs we can learn how, and work toward other possible solutions to climate change.

To see a full schedule of events and to register, please visit