In his 1862 masterpiece Les Miserables, novelist Victor Hugo described life as “absolute uncertainty within an impenetrable fog.”

Today, almost 160 years later, Hugo’s words ring truer than ever. Faced with COVID, climate change, resurgent racism, divisive political leadership, mounting attacks on science and a rollercoaster economy, it’s hard to know what tomorrow will bring.

Which is why what we do at the Nicholas School, and what our more than 5,000 alumni are doing worldwide, is more important than ever.

These may not be the surest conditions for making environmental progress, but as the following stories illustrate, we’re doing it – helping cut through the impenetrable fog of uncertainty – with timely and innovative scholarship in renewable energy, climate modeling, marine conservation and other critical fields.