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Posted 11.01.06

Global Warming Topic of Schumann Symposium

When it comes to global warming, where on earth are we going?

That is the question scholars hope to answer during the 3rd Annual Robert Schumann Environmental Studies Symposium titled: “Where on Earth Are We Going? Global Climate Change and Vulnerabilities: A Perspective for the Future.”

The event is open to the public and takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 11 at Exley Science Center Room 150.

“Given the trend of global warming, we need to think about these issues and prepare for them and adapt,” says Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies and event coordinator. “

The symposium will begin with a welcome message by Wesleyan President Douglas Bennet and a perspective by Sally Smyth '07.

Four internationally-recognized speakers will conduct presentations at the symposium and answer audience questions.

“The speakers will be addressing everything from food and energy to extreme weather to human health to global interactions,” Chernoff says. “Global warming affects not only the sea level but human health. Hopefully this will make a big difference to all of us and change how the way we act as a community.”

“Failed and Failing States: A Growing Threat to Social Stability and Economic Progress” will be presented by Lester Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, a nonprofit, interdisciplinary research organization based in Washington, DC. Brown has authored or coauthored 50 books and is the recipient of many awards, including 23 honorary degrees, a MacArthur Fellowship, the 1987 United Nations’ Environment Prize and the Borgström Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, and has been appointed an honorary professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“Healthy People 2100: Climate Change and Human Health” will be presented by Kristie Ebi, an independent consultant based in Alexandria, Va. Ebi is an epidemiologist who has worked in the field of global climate change for 10 years. Her research focuses on potential impacts of climate variability and change, including impacts associated with extreme events, thermal stress, food-borne diseases, and vector-borne diseases, and on the design of adaptation response options to reduce current and projected future negative impacts. Her scientific training includes a master’s degree in toxicology and a Ph.D. and MPH in epidemiology.

“Global Climate Change and Hurricanes” will be presented by Judith Curry, professor and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Curry received a Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of Chicago and currently serves on the National Academies Climate Research Committee and the Space Studies Board, and the NOAA Climate Working Group. She has published over 130 refereed journal articles. Curry is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. She is a recipient of the Henry Houghton Award from the American Meteorological Society.

“Apocalypse Now or Brave New World? Two Scenarios for Social and Cultural Responses to Global Warming” will be presented by Alaka Wali, curator and director at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Wali has a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University. She is responsible for coordinating a range of programs designed to enhance interdisciplinary work at the museum, strengthening public programming on cultural issues and promoting efforts to link the museum closer to the Chicago community. She is the author of two books, several monographs and over 30 articles.

John Hall, from the Jonah Center for Earth and Art, will have concluding remarks.

Chernoff anticipates an audience of more than 400 people, including college and high school students who are bussed in for the event. Audio tapes from last year’s symposium were donated to five area high schools and implemented into their curriculum.

“We invite Wesleyan students, faculty and staff, but we encourage the local community to come and ask questions and meet the speakers,” Chernoff says. “This is an opportunity to meet these scholars and learn from them first hand.”

“Where on Earth Are We Going” is sponsored by the Robert Schumann Fund for Wesleyan’s Environmental Studies Program. Funding for the Environmental Studies Program also provides funding for the Long Lane Farm Annual Pumpkin Festival run by Wesleyan students and the Earth Day keynote address at Wesleyan.

For more information on the symposium contact Valerie Marinelli, administrative assistant, at 860-685-3733. More information and video clips from former symposiums, go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/escp/.
 
By Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection editor