Climate & Sustainability

Sort by: title, date.

Bills and Billions: Policymaking in an Era of Transformation for U.S. Cities and States
Jan/30 Tue 09:00AM–01:00PM

Bills and Billions: Policymaking in an Era of Transformation for U.S. Cities and States

J. Phillip Thompson, Elisabeth Beck Reynolds

This IAP session will provide a high level overview of the key themes, policy topics and project/internship opportunities of the DUSP course, Bills and Billions, which will be taught in spring of 2024. The course engages with the theory and practice of public policy making and planning in the context of the U.S. political economy and changing national and global policy priorities and frameworks. These changes are driven in part by the passage of historic legislation of unprecedented federal funding in the U.S. along with billions in private sector investment which will flow to cities and states to fund physical infrastructure, digital infrastructure and clean energy over the next 10 years. The session will review recent changes to dominant policy paradigms and practice related to neoliberalism, globalization and industrial strategy in the context of race, equity, sustainability, technology and innovation among other topics. The class involves semester-long student projects with cities and states related to physical and climate infrastructure, particularly those communities that have been left behind, as well as opportunities for paid summer internships. 

Buddhist Meditation
Jan/19 Fri 09:30AM–11:00AM
Jan/19 Fri 01:30PM–03:00PM
Jan/19 Fri 05:00PM–06:30PM
Jan/20 Sat 09:30AM–11:00AM
Jan/20 Sat 01:30PM–03:00PM
Jan/20 Sat 05:00PM–06:30PM
Jan/21 Sun 09:30AM–11:00AM
Jan/21 Sun 01:30PM–03:00PM
Jan/21 Sun 05:00PM–06:30PM

Buddhist Meditation IAP


Dates: January 19 - 21 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

Location: SPXCE Room (W31-110)

There will be 3 drop-in sessions each day for 3 different meditation traditions.

Mind (9:30-11:00 AM): Vipassana meditation - Learn how to focus through contemplative meditation

Hand (1:30-3:00 PM): Yogic meditation - Learn to prepare the body for meditation focused on bodily harmony

Heart (5:00-6:30 PM): Metta meditation - Learn to spread love with mantras intended to open the heart <3

Some of the guest meditation leaders are listed below!  Tea will be served.

  • Ven. Dorjey Dolma (Tibetan)
  • Ven. Deung Myoung Sunim (Korean)
  • Ven. Tenzin Gyurmey (Tibetan)
  • Ven. Nedagamuwe Samitha Thero (Bhante Samitha) (Sri Lankan)
  • Saly Sirothphiphat (Thai)
  • Prahlad Iyengar (Hindu)
  • Dr. Santoshkumar Raut (Indian Buddhist)
  • Kyle Saisakorn Sandberg HDS MDiv student with IMS experiences
Call to action! Addressing Urban Vulnerable Territories in Latin America and the Caribbean
Jan/26 Fri 08:45AM–04:30PM

One-day workshop leading to a holistic interdisciplinary discussion on urban vulnerable territories in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), with the aim of building a regional vision and advocating for systemic change. By analyzing common challenges in the LAC region—migration, climate, and urban inequality—we will examine specific cases and recent programs, such as the urbanization program of informal neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Blocks of Care in Bogotá, Colombia; the Utopías in Iztapalapa, Mexico; and the National Urban Upgrading Program in Mexico.

This workshop seeks to bridge academia, think tanks, and practical applications, ultimately inspiring new utopian visions for the LAC region.

This event is open to the public and welcomes individuals with an interest in urban and environmental topics or a curiosity about the challenges faced by the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region. We extend the invitation to MIT students, alumni, faculty, as well as communities from other universities, and members of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and its network.

This workshop is the result of the collaboration between the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy; the Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies at DUSP, MIT; fellows (former and current) from the LOEB Fellowship at Harvard Graduate School of Design; and faculty members from The City College of New York, Columbia University and University of Texas.

To register: 

Campus Decarbonization Forum
Jan/24 Wed 12:00PM–01:00PM

Are you interested in the exploration of existing and emerging decarbonization technologies, climate action, and how to plan for a carbon-free future? Do you want to know more about how MIT is working to decarbonize its own campus?

Join us for an IAP event to learn about the pathways to MIT’s campus decarbonization, including planning for the next energy era on campus, accelerating actions to reduce emissions today, and evaluating new technologies and strategies for the campus’s district energy system. This community event is open to students, staff, and faculty and will cover the topics of campus renewable energy, electrification, microgrids, resiliency, and more. Featuring in-depth presentations from Vice President for Campus Services and Stewardship Joe Higgins, Director of Sustainability Julie Newman, Professor Christoph Reinhart, and Senior Campus Planner Vasso Mathes, the forum concludes with a questions and answer session. Lunch will be provided. 

Please RSVP here.


Facing Climate Change and Cultivating Hope
Jan/29 Mon 04:00PM–05:30AM

Facing Climate Change and Cultivating Hope 

A Workshop for Graduate and Undergraduate Students

Facing Our Grief

Coping with Anxiety

Finding Hope

This workshop is for students recognizing the effects of the deepening climate change crisis on our mental health. We will meet in person and create a safe environment where students can share their feelings, connect with others, and contemplate their place in the climate work. We will talk about climate related grief, worry, anger and fear and will discuss ways to cope. There will be a combination of psychoeducation and sharing. We will also use materials from the books Under the Sky We Create by Kimberly Nicholas, PhD and Active Hope, by Joanna Macy, PhD and Chris Johnstone.

Free book copies will be provided to all participants.   Free dinner will be served at 5:30

Talking about your climate related distress and listening to others can be upsetting and can trigger memories of previous traumas and losses. The hope is that such conversations will also be healing and affirming.

When: 1/29 at 4-5:30pm

Where: TBD

To sign up please email:

The group is limited to 15 participants. Both undergraduate and graduate students are welcomed.

Sign-up deadline: January 24th, 2024

About the workshop facilitator: Maria Minkova, PsyD is a clinical psychologist who has been providing psychotherapy for over 20 years. Supporting people struggling with climate related psychological distress is a high priority in her work. She is a member and contributor to Climate Psychology Alliance.

Jan/09 Tue 10:00AM–12:30PM
Jan/11 Thu 10:00AM–12:30PM
Jan/16 Tue 10:00AM–12:30PM
Jan/18 Thu 10:00AM–12:30PM
Jan/23 Tue 10:00AM–12:30PM
Jan/25 Thu 10:00AM–12:30PM
Jan/30 Tue 10:00AM–12:30PM

What is CERT?
CERT training covers basic skills that are important to know in a disaster when emergency services are not available. With training and practice, and by working as a team, you will be able to protect yourself and maximize your capability to help for the greatest number of people after a disaster.

CERT Training Covers:

  • Disaster Preparation
  • Emergency Operations Organizational Structure
  • Disaster Medical Operations
  • Disaster Psychology
  • Fire Safety
  • Light Search and Rescue
  • Terrorism and CERT Response

At the conclusion of the 20 hours of training, scheduled in eight class sessions, most of them in-person, a new MIT CERT member will be active to participate in emergency response and large-scale activities hosted on campus as a part of MIT's emergency operations.


IAP: Global Agencies and Urban Challenges – keeping an eye on the World Bank
Jan/29 Mon 10:00AM–12:00PM
Jan/30 Tue 10:00AM–12:00PM

Global Agencies and Urban Challenges – keeping an eye on the World Bank

January 29, 10:00 to 12:00
De-mystifying the evaluation of World Bank financed urban projects. How is it done and what do they mean? – really!

The World Bank carries out a self-evaluation of each project it finances, and these evaluations are validated by the Independent Evaluations Group of the World Bank.  There is a systematic approach to assess the relevance, efficacy, and effectiveness of the operations resulting in project ratings.  The session will examine the evaluation process using several cases to exemplify the strengths and weakness of the approach.  These evaluations are in the public domain and are a rich source of information, data, and knowledge.


January 30, 10:00 to 12:00
Is the World Bank doing the right thing and is it doing it right? Urban Growth, Urban Resilience and Urban Waste Management

The session will discuss the findings and recommendations of three major Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) evaluations:  (i)  Managing Urban Spatial Growth: World Bank Support to Land Administration, Planning and Development; (ii) Building Urban Resilience: An Evaluation of the World Bank’s evolving approach, and (iii)  and Transitioning to a Circular Economy: An Evaluation of the World Bank Group Support for Municipal Solid Waste Management  (2010-2020).

Laser Engraving Utensils Maker Social
Jan/18 Thu 11:00AM–01:00PM

Come join some laser engraving fun and add your name to a set of reusable bamboo utensils you can use across campus in place of single use plastics.  We will have lunch available for you to test your new utensils (after washing them first).

When: Thursday, January 18th from 11am-1pm
Where: Metropolis Makerspace – 6C-006B

Show up when you can – we’ll be running the lasers throughout the event and engraving until we run out of utensil sets or time

Factoid: Approximately 100 million plastic utensils are discarded in the US every day

no pre-registration required

MITdesignX Climate Solutions Ideathon
Jan/23 Tue 04:00PM–07:00PM
Jan/24 Wed 04:00PM–07:00PM
Jan/25 Thu 04:00PM–07:00PM

Join us during IAP for our Climate Solutions Ideathon! Learn how to effectively define a problem and develop a needs-driven solution in the complex world of climate change. We will use our problem framing methodology at MITdesignX to hone in on specific climate-related issues that can actually be solved. Join us all three days and work in teams, building ideas together.

Register here-->

Small Cities in America: A Key to Sustainable Growth
Jan/18 Thu 08:00AM–09:00PM

Come for a day-long visit to learn about planning issues and efforts in the Forest City with the former Planning & Urban Development Director for Portland. We will travel by transit to experience how an innovative transit system works in a small city, and meet with city planning officials working on economic, housing, climate resilience and transportation issues.

Well known for its great architecture and food, Portland is rapidly becoming a place where climate migrants, affluent retirees, and those seeking urban amenities at a smaller scale are relocating. As a result, housing prices are up – as is homelessness. How does a Small City make sure any success is equitable? How do you make transit and walkability work in a place with relatively little traffic congestion? We will learn about how this small city by the ocean is trying to guide growth and change sustainably and justly. We will close out the day with a visit to a redevelopment district and one of the many tasting rooms in town, before taking the Downeaster train back to Boston.

This session will use this visit to learn about an emerging trend in urban development – the rise of the Small City. More than previous generations, Millennials are choosing to locate in these second- and third-tier cities as a way of balancing quality of life, employment opportunities, and the benefits of city amenities. The pandemic and increases in working “wherever” appear to be driving this trend even more quickly. How do we make sure current residents can stay when new residents inevitably drive up the cost of housing and create competition for employment? What about social services and the opportunity faced by New Americans, who are also living in Small Cities?

Be prepared for a long but interesting day, starting around 7 am. and returning to the Boston area around 8 pm. You should plan to dress for a Maine winter, including proper footwear, warm socks, and layers, as we will be walking outdoors for parts of the day.

Enrollment is limited to 12. Please send a short email of interest to Jeff Levine at before 12/15/23.  Given limited spots and likely strong interest, admitted students must commit to attending, except in case of illnesses or other serious issues. Preference given to DUSP students.

The Big Dig: What Can We Learn from Boston’s Last 20th Century Mega-Project?
Jan/16 Tue 01:30PM–03:00PM
Jan/17 Wed 01:30PM–03:00PM
Jan/18 Thu 01:30PM–03:00PM

The completion of Interstate Highways 93, 95 and 90 in Boston - known as the Central; Artery/Tunnel Project or the “Big Dig” - is a multi-faceted story of urban transportation policy and planning, citizen activism and its impacts on how transportation systems were built in the last decades of the 20th century through the present day, the resolution of extraordinary design and engineering complexities, and the politics of paying for such a massive infrastructure intervention. It is also a story about urban renewal - not in the classic mid-1950s sense but in a more modern sense of knitting communities together following the neglectful planning of mid-century America.

This IAP offering requires participants to listen to each of the 9 episodes of the recently released WGBH news podcast, “The Big Dig.”  Each 90 minute session will require participants to offer reaction, reflection and insights from the podcast, and provide an opportunity to I ask questions of two MIT lecturers and former state transportation secretaries: the architect of the Big Dig, Fred Salvucci, and the architect of the Metropolitan Highway System operating and funding legislation, Jim Aloisi.  Fred and Jim will facilitate the conversation and attempt to link lessons learned from the Big Dig to the planning and policy context that informs our thinking today.

Open to MIT community only (students, staff, faculty, DUSP alums).  To resister, email Jim Aloisi (

The Creature: Walking Garbage
Jan/10 Wed 09:00AM–12:00PM
Jan/11 Thu 09:00AM–12:00PM
Jan/12 Fri 09:00AM–12:00PM

The Creature: Walking Garbage

Non-Credit IAP 2024 Workshop

January 10th to 12th, WRF 9:00-12:00; @3-415 

The garbage needs more attention! 

In “Purity and Danger," Mary Douglas claimed that waste is not a static group of items but rather the outcome of classification and relationships1. This concept extends beyond mere physical attributes, also encompassing how the self is molded and identified through interactions with waste. Consequently, our waste disposal methods are intimately connected to our individual styles, emphasizing the influence of waste management on shaping cultural identities and subjectivity. The way we do it reflects an ethos, a manner of being2.

This three-day workshop explores trash as a useful material to be crafted, digitalized, and animated. Through tutorials to digital tools, hands-on making, and interactive exercises, participants will be introduced to the importance of materials, representation, and data in evaluating the impact of waste as resources and ultimately propose effective measures to redesign the matter out of place.

Tools and materials are ALL provided (also food). We also would love to see your personal touch if you want to bring your garbage piece that speaks to you. :) 


1. Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1966). 

2. Hawkins, Gay. The Ethics of Waste: How We Relate to Rubbish. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006.  


Yiqing WANG, March; Biru CAO, SMArchS Computation 


MindHandHeart Innovation Fund

Please sign up here or scan the QR code in the attached poster if you are interested in participating in the workshop.

If you have questions, don't hesitate to email


How do we transform garbage into a living creature? We are introducing a new workflow combining hands-on artwork-making and digitalization techniques from 3D scanning to AI-generated rigging will be introduced.

Day one: Gather your chosen discarded items—desired or otherwise. We'll guide you through using the 3D scanning tool.

Day two: Paper mache creation. Shape your trash into a mesh, both manually and through 3D scanning.

Day three: Animate your paper mache with generative AI!


What you can learn:

Matter to Data via 3D-scan

Modeling skills and building paper mache

Basic Rigging and Animation

Dynamics of Waste


Your work will be announced in the Trash-to-Treasure competition project sponsored by the MindHandHeart Innovation Fund next semester.

Looking forward to having you!

The greenest building can be... the one that is already built: an interactive energy house model
Jan/29 Mon 02:00PM–04:00PM

The presentation will showcase an interactive house model, with a series of features and measuring technologies (thermal imaging, temperature, humidity, due point, indoor air quality measurement).

The model is operated (with regulating it's temperature, moisture, indoor air quality, air movement) to show in an interactive way how existing homes' performance can be understood, measured and and with weatherization/home improvement programs.  

The context in which the presenters work are lower-income existing homes in Latin America which when weatherized improve their energy efficiency, reduce emisions and energy poverty, and also improve health, safety and quality of life of families.


Theravāda Buddhist Traditions
Jan/24 Wed 07:00PM–09:00PM
Jan/25 Thu 07:00PM–09:00PM
Jan/30 Tue 06:00PM–08:00PM


Not all Buddhists meditate, in fact, some do not meditate at all!... Then, what do the Buddhists do and what do the Buddhists believe in? Can we really generalize their practices and beliefs? What comes with the tradition do we lose when focusing mostly and heavily on meditation alone? 

This three day introductory IAP takes you into the fun, vibrant, ornamented, messy, breathing, controversial Theravāda Buddhism, one of the earliest kinds of Buddhism, which is still practiced in some parts of Southeast Asia and in Sri Lanka. The course focuses on Thailand and Myanmar through the eyes of Theravāda Buddhists. 

You will learn basic knowledge and vocabs to talk about the tradition like scriptures, teachings, and practices. You will be introduced to some complex issues and questions regarding the tradition. Comments, questions, concerns, and dialogues are welcome. On the last day, there will be home-cooked Thai food for everyone while the conversation focusing on food and faith. 

No background in anything is needed! Just be ready to step into the world of the unseens, animals, ghosts, relics, flowers, dust, and magics where time doesn't work the same way you're familiar with. 

Session 1: January 24 (Wednesday) 7-9 pm W11-155  Theme: The Pāli Canon and the Theravāda World through the eyes of Theravāda Buddhists

Session 2: January 25 (Thursday) 7-9 pm W11-155 Theme: Theravāda Buddhism and its relationship with other traditions in present days Thailand

Session 3: January 30 (Thursday) 6-8pm + home-cooked Thai food will be provided W11-190 Theme: Food and Faith

All sections are led by Saly Sirothphiphat an MDiv II student at Harvard Divinity School, a Thai Theravāda Buddhist and Win Kyaw Harvard Divinity School MTS '22 who studies Myanmar and Theravāda Buddhism. 

Hosted by the Addir Interfaith Dialogue Program

Water Reuse Workshop (Introductory)
Jan/22 Mon 10:00AM–12:00PM
Jan/23 Tue 10:00AM–12:00PM
Jan/24 Wed 10:00AM–12:00PM
Jan/25 Thu 10:00AM–12:00PM

Participants will explore topics and unit operations of wastewater and water treatment in this hands-on wet lab workshop. Students are introduced to various constituents of water and processes for characterizing and measuring these components. Individual treatment unit operations include: pH adjustment, screening/filtration, solids settling/clarification, activated sludge treatment, ion exchange, reverse osmosis, disinfection, and activated carbon adsorption. Students will attemp to assemble a complete treatment train to recycle a simulated industrial wastewater stream. Limited to 6 participants. Must attend all three sessions. For more information, please email To register, please visit