Education

Changing Skies, a CU Student-Curated Journal, Gets Creative About Climate Change

Changing Skies shares climate change stories from Boulder County and beyond.
Changing Skies shares climate change stories from Boulder County and beyond. YouTube file photo
“Climate change is a huge issue, and it's something that I think everyone should be talking about in some regard,” says Ian Hall, editor-in-chief of Changing Skies, a student-curated nonfiction journal focusing on climate change. “It was something that we definitely focused on in the past, but it wasn't really until last fall that the team kind of came up with the idea of, ‘Well, hey, why don't we run a separate title devoted entirely to all this good climate change work that we facilitate?’”

The journal is curated, designed and published by the University of Colorado Boulder students who also run Hindsight, another creative nonfiction journal without a specific climate bent; it was previously known as Journal Twenty Twenty.

Hall, a junior studying anthropology and media production, joined the staff after the concept for Changing Skies received a funding boost through Scott King and Mission Zero, the company King founded at CU to fund and support students working on climate action.

King started ReadyTalk, a communication services company, with his brother, then sold it and retired early before he realized that his anxiety about the state of the world was too high to let him sit still. He wanted to use some of the money he’d made to help students at his alma mater explore climate change and possible solutions.

Aside from helping the team with funding, Hall says, Mission Zero stays out of Changing Skies operations; all of the work in this first edition was selected by the students. The journal includes artwork, memoirs, poems, creative scholarship and narrative journalism; any non-fiction work about climate change was eligible, and anyone could apply.

The result is a journal that runs over 100 pages, with work from around the globe, including Central and South America.

But Changing Skies hits close to home, too. It includes a reflection on the Marshall fire by Lonnie Pearce, associate director for first-year writing at the university, whose home burned down in the devastating December 2021 blaze. Experts say that climate change contributed to the ferocity of the fire.

Hall is proud of this first edition, which conveys the personal nature behind a technical issue.

“A lot of the conversation on climate change skews more toward a dry and an academic preview, which there certainly is nothing wrong with,” he says. “However, a lot of the time, what is lost in that kind of communication is the urgency of what those numbers represent and the real impact that those numbers have if left untreated. ... The best thing we can do is show those people very real stories, and how those stories are affecting the person that wrote it and everyone around them.”

Copies of Changing Skies will be available at the launch event, where Scott King will be the featured speaker, 7 p.m. Friday, November 11, room 235, University Memorial Center, Boulder. Admission is free; find out more here.
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Catie Cheshire is a staff writer at Westword. After getting her undergraduate degree at Regis University, she went to Arizona State University for a master's degree. She missed everything about Denver -- from the less-intense sun to the food, the scenery and even the bus system. Now she's reunited with Denver and writing news for Westword.
Contact: Catie Cheshire

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