‘Actionable Hope’ event celebrates successes in the fight against climate change

Author: Kanaga Rajan
April 21, 2022
Photo of the earth as taken from outer space

SF State students and faculty aim to bring hope to the climate change conversation with a celebration

Talking about climate change can leave many of us feeling grim. Between the environmental disasters in the news and people’s affinity for doom scrolling, it can be hard to see how we can make a difference. But an upcoming event called “Actionable Hope” promises to be a reminder that there is still reason to be optimistic, especially as a part of the San Francisco State University community.

On Tuesday, May 3, the on-campus event invites San Francisco State students, faculty and staff to come together to celebrate the successes in the work against climate change while learning how to keep up the momentum. Co-sponsored by Astronomers for Planet Earth (A4E) and Climate HQ, the four-hour event is packed with engaging speakers, informational tables, astronomy demonstrations and a giant inflatable “meatball” courtesy of NASA. (The “meatball” is the nickname for NASA’s insignia. The inflatable version is great for selfies, we hear.)

The climate change discussion can be overwhelming, admits SF State astrophysics graduate student Jessica Agnos, who is organizing the event. But she wants to remind the community that the future is not set in stone and that students and faculty are leaders in climate change and climate justice.

Agnos is one of the co-founders of A4E, an international community of astronomers using astronomy and our communal fascination with outer space to redirect our attention back to planet Earth. Meanwhile, co-sponsor Climate HQ is a campus-wide initiative that launched an interdisciplinary climate change certificate last year and will sponsor more webinars and events.

“As climate change disproportionately affects communities of color, our goal is to cultivate diverse climate change leaders. We aspire to have every student, staff and faculty member at SF State take active roles in mitigating and adapting to climate change,” said SF State Professor and Chair of Biology Laura Burrus, who is slated to speak at the event.

Several leaders in astronomy and climate change will also be coming to campus for Actionable Hope. Major participants include NASA, the SETI Institute, the California Academy of Sciences and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP). At the heart of the event will be speakers from all of these organizations talking about astronomy, climate change and how we can all get involved. Among the scheduled speakers is Laurie Rousseau-Nepton, the first Indigenous woman in Quebec to obtain her doctorate in astrophysics.

“It’s not going to be scientists presenting papers,” Agnos explained. “It’s going to be scientists who speak to the general public about cool things that they’re interested in.”

Along with a giant inflatable “meatball,” NASA will also bring a truck with solar-power capabilities. All of the participating organizations will also have tables during the event and share educational resources, and many plan to have astronomy demonstrations. Organizations like NASA are particularly excited to share internship opportunities with students.

“We really are doing wonderful work here [at SF State], and the student body should know about it, and they should know how they can get involved and be a part of it,” said Agnos. “We have the power to create our own future and we need to speak positively of it.”


  • What: Actionable Hope: An Interdisciplinary Discussion for a Thriving World
  • When: Tuesday, May 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Malcom X Plaza
  • Who’s invited: SF State students, faculty, staff and alumni


Visit Astronomers for Planet Earth and Climate HQ to learn more about how the SF State community is tackling climate change.