Students at graduation


Jeff Willis

Climate Change Research in New Zealand & the Pacific

After completing my Bachelors degree at UMF I moved to Christchurch, New Zealand to do research at the University of Canterbury on climate change in the Pacific islands. I'm currently in the third year of writing a PhD. thesis which examines how the Governments of the Pacific Island states of Kiribati and Tuvalu communicate about climate change internationally and regionally. Since moving to New Zealand I've also been involved in a number of non-academic climate change projects. In 2015 I acted as social media director for the international NGO Pole to Paris. Pole to Paris was created by two recent PhD. Graduates, Dr. Daniel Price and Dr. Erlend Moster Knudsen, who were alarmed at the disjunct between the popular and scientific discourses surrounding climate change. In the lead-up to COP21 in Paris, Dr. Price cycled from the South Pole to Paris while Dr. Knudsen ran from the North. Along the way they collected stories of climate change, held events promoting climate change action, and much more. During this period I traveled to Samoa and briefly acted as a consultant for the UNDP field office in Apia as they shot several short films regarding their climate change adaptation projects. After Pole to Paris I acted as Associate Producer of the documentary Thirty Million, which examines the impact of climate change induced sea level rise in Bangladesh. I also took the role of social media lead for TEDxScottBase, the first ever TEDx event held on a government base in Antarctica. A major component of that project was telling the story of climate change in Antarctica. Currently I am holding the position of social media director for Trump Forest, an initiative to plant enough trees to offset the increased carbon emissions that will be caused by the Trump Administration's dismantling of the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan.

Jeff Willis graduated Summa Cum Lade majoring Political Science with a minor in Geography.

More stories to come.

Last Updated August 2020 University of Maine Farmington - Office of Experiential & Global Education

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