“Few contemporary challenges are as urgent or contested as climate change and its impact on our environment. The collective efforts of scientists, scholars, politicians, activists, indigenous communities, and concerned citizens are needed to gauge and mitigate environmental and social impacts.”

That excerpt is from SIT’s Critical Global Issues framework, where “Climate and Environment” is one of seven priority areas upon which all SIT programs are built. SIT recognizes these Critical Global Issues as the most pressing challenges of our time—challenges that transcend borders and cross continents to touch everyone on the planet.

In the past year, a new group of SIT students and alumni stepped courageously into a world in need of action and solutions. Their studies have inspired them to forge innovative paths to a more sustainable future.

One of those students is Gretta Marston-Lari, whose experiences on the SIT program Peru: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization inspired her to write and stage a hard-hitting theater production that tackles subjects like sexual assault, domestic and police violence, and exploitation of women. Como la Tierra (Like the Earth) is set against the real-world backdrop of an indigenous community fighting a multimillion-dollar mining company—a conflict that was playing out during Gretta’s 2019 semester in Peru.

“We had been learning a lot about how Indigenous bodies of knowledge exist in an oral tradition. To me, theater in a large way is an exchange of knowledge. … I thought this was the best way I could connect to what was happening and to contribute to … their struggle,” Gretta says.

Gretta hopes to return to Peru to stage her play, which was originally written in Spanish, in the community where it takes place. Meanwhile, the Lin Manuel Miranda Fellow is also working on an English-language version for the New York stage in 2022.

Marston-Lari performs onstage with other actors. (Photo by Amy Jeanchaiyaphum.)

Another SIT alumna ready to roll up her sleeves for the planet is Danielle Purvis, a 2021 graduate of the SIT MA in Climate Change & Global Sustainability. Danielle’s program took her to Iceland and Zanzibar to witness national and regional struggles for economic, environmental, and social survival.

"We get to be on the front lines of building new bridges and creating a new way of life.”

“I am completing this experience with a global lens of how we are inextricably connected to each other and to our natural environment,” she said during her commencement speech. “And I know, more than ever before, that the ways of this world are unsustainable and must change, and that we get to be on the front lines of building new bridges and creating a new way of life.”

At SIT, we recognize that environmental and social justice are inextricably linked. Solutions call for many voices at the table, from scientists to indigenous activists to scholars, to ensure that our path forward is ethical and inclusive.

Create connections. Transform the world.