Featured Faculty: Brian Kahn

Brian1We caught up with Brian Kahn, Wed Editor at Climate Central (and C+S alum!), who co-teaches Applications in Climate and Society to talk about Climate and Society, his work at Climate Central and much more.

Why did you come to the Climate and Society program?
I really believe in what the program is trying to do. The causes and solutions to a host or climate problems – from long-term climate change to year-to-year variability – are within the grasp of society, we just need folks who can connect the dots. That’s where the program comes in, and that’s why I enjoy working with students.

What do you hope students take away from the program, and your class?
From the program, that the climate system is wonderfully complex but understandable and that our understanding of it is an advantage that can yield big dividends for society. From the class I co-teach, Applications in Climate and Society, how to apply the knowledge they’ve learned over the year in the real world, where opportunities exist to make a difference and how be present their skills in an effective way to employers. The course also offers students the chance to author either a news article, policy brief or white paper for a real world organization. It’s a great chance to build your resume and show what you’ve learned to the world.

What projects are you working on at the moment?
I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you. Okay, I’ll give you a hint. In addition to the daily grind writing stories for Climate Central, a journalism and research nonprofit, I’m also working on a new project that will bring together weather and climate for the general public in a way they haven’t considered before. Our secret, okay?

What’s your favorite thing to do in NYC and why?
Do I really have to choose just one? I love biking and running in Central Park (outside the dead of summer of course), eating steamed pumpkin buns at Golden Steamer in Chinatown, and the occasional night (and sometimes early morning) out. The Staten Island Ferry is also a great way enjoy the beautiful blue space that surrounds city and take in the skyline from a different perspective. (And it’s free!)

Where’s your favorite place to travel and why?
Another tough one! If you twist my arm, I’d probably say southern Utah for its beauty, solitude and multitude of hikes. Basically it’s everything I need to reset when I hit New York overload. The Pacific Northwest is a close – though completely polar opposite – second for its rejuvenating qualities.

Any tips or words of wisdom for our current and potential new students?
Don’t be afraid to branch out from your interests. While you might feel like you need to go all climate, all the time during the program, there’s so much going on at Columbia and in New York in general, Don’t forget that, especially since you never know what kind of connections you’ll make.

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