McCourt student Will Hackman traveled to Bonn, Germany earlier this month to attend the United Nations climate conference, COP 23. Hackman, a MPP candidate, is very passionate about energy and environmental policy. COP 23 is the third climate conference Hackman has attended with the support of Professor Joanna Lewis at Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

“I'm very passionate about public policy’s role in finding solutions to the many challenges climate change poses to society. New and stronger policies are needed to meet our Paris Agreement goals and ensure we don't exceed 2 degrees of warming,” Hackman said. “McCourt has given me a whole new depth of policy understanding and analytical skills that I’ve applied in my day-to-day already and will continue to apply throughout my career to take my work to higher levels.”

One of the most important things that Hackman has learned from attending these conferences is that governments alone can’t solve the challenges that climate change poses. He recalled COP 22 when then-Secretary of State John Kerry said that the private sector would be a critical player, working alongside the public sector.

This year’s conference featured the “We Are Still In” coalition, a group of U.S. mayors, governors, business leaders, and other actors that pledged their commitment to advancing the Paris Agreement, after President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw from the accord.

Sustainability on the Hilltop

In 2015, Hackman founded the McCourt Energy & Environmental Policy group (McCourt E&E), whose mission is to build a community of engaged energy and environmental policy students, academics and professionals who can share ideas and brainstorm solutions.

“This is the most important challenge our generation, and all generations face. Our future sustainability is riding on the actions we all take right now and there is a lot of work to be done in the United States,” Hackman said.

Recently, McCourt E&E started the #ClimateChangeMeans social media campaign with the goal of sharing individual stories from people at Georgetown and around the world about what climate change personally means to them. “It's incredibly important to utilize  storytelling to make large issues like climate change more understandable for people and to connect them to the issue,” he said.

You can find these stories by following McCourt E&E on Instagram, Facebook , Twitter, and Medium. Hackman said that anyone is welcome to share their own story. Just include #ClimateChangeMeans in your post