Distinguished Lecture Series, Global Change Center

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  • Global Change Lecture Series: How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate
    Hoffman, Andrew (Virginia Tech. University Libraries, 2019-03-22)
    Andrew Hoffman, the Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise for University of Michigan and author, visited Virginia Tech on Friday, March 22, as part of The Global Change Center at Virginia Tech’s Distinguished Lecture Series. In this lecture, Hoffman will discuss the sociology and psychology of why people reject climate change and how to address this issue. He offers suggestions for building trust and effectively communicating despite opposing viewpoints, arguing that culture is the barrier to acting on climate change.
  • Global Change Center 2018 Distinguished Lecture: Dr. Kirk Johnson
    Johnson, Kirk (Virginia Tech. University Libraries, 2018-03-16)
    Dr. Kirk Johnson is a paleontologist who has led expeditions that have resulted in the discovery of more than 1,400 fossil sites. His research focuses on fossil plants and the extinction of dinosaurs. He is known for his scientific articles, popular books, museum exhibitions, documentaries, and collaborations with artists.
  • Chasing Water in a Rapidly Changing World
    Richter, Brian D. (Virginia Tech. University Libraries, 2017-04-07)
    Water shortages are now affecting half the world’s population, disrupting food and energy security as well as urban water supplies in many cities. The overuse of water and associated drying of rivers, lakes, and aquifers has become a leading cause of freshwater species imperilment. Climate change forecasts foretell even greater challenges in many water-scarce regions. These threats to our water future can be ameliorated, but it will require bold and concerted action on the part of governments, city leaders, and farmers. This presentation will highlight the key solutions that must be implemented. “Brian Richter has been a global leader in water science and conservation for more than 25 years. He is the Chief Scientist for the Global Water Program of The Nature Conservancy, an international conservation organization, where he promotes sustainable water use and management with governments, corporations, and local communities. He is also the President of Sustainable Waters, a global water education organization. Brian has consulted on more than 120 water projects worldwide. He serves as a water advisor to some of the world’s largest corporations, investment banks, and the United Nations, and has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions. He also teaches a course on Water Sustainability at the University of Virginia. Brian has developed numerous scientific tools and methods to support river protection and restoration efforts, including the Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration software that is being used by water managers and scientists worldwide. Brian was featured in a BBC documentary with David Attenborough on “How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?” He has published many scientific papers on the importance of ecologically sustainable water management in international science journals, and co-authored a book with Sandra Postel entitled Rivers for Life: Managing Water for People and Nature (Island Press, 2003). His new book, Chasing Water: A Guide for Moving from Scarcity to Sustainability, was published by Island Press in June 2014.” - National Geographic, http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/author/brichter/
  • Living in the Anthropocene: Science, Sustainability and Society
    Tewksbury, Joshua (Virginia Tech. University Libraries, 2016-04-21)
    Dr. Joshua Tewksbury is an ecologist, conservation biologist, and planetary health scientist with experience both in academia and in civil society. In addition to his appointment at Future Earth, Tewksbury is also a research professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a senior scholar in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University. During his visit, Tewksbury met with students in the Interfaces of Global Change Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program. "Dr. Tewksbury is leading the charge to advance conservation and sustainability initiatives on a global scale," said William A. Hopkins, director of the Global Change Center. As director of the U.S. office of Future Earth, he is working with a broad international coalition of groups like the United Nations to pursue what has been called "possibly the largest, most ambitious international research program ever undertaken. As Virginia Tech is poised to advance its collective strengths in the environmental sciences, we are thrilled to have such an outstanding leader visit Blacksburg to engage in a community-wide discussion about critical issues facing our planet." Tewksbury was previously the Walker Professor of Natural History at the University of Washington, with appointments both in the department of biology and the College of the Environment, where his work focused on major global change issues, including the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, the potential of landscape connectivity to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and the impacts of species loss on ecosystem function. In addition to more than a decade of academic work, Tewksbury also served as the founding director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute at WWF, a global research center based in Switzerland focused on the co-creation of multi-disciplinary research. As director, Tewksbury launched over a dozen research projects, including work on the Food-Energy-Water nexus in South-East Asia, development corridors in East Africa, global mapping of threats to biodiversity, and the development of regionally-appropriate low-carbon sustainability targets for urban areas. Tewksbury's current research interests include studies of direct and indirect effects of climate change on food security at large spatial scales, the potential of large-scale restoration to serve multiple human and biodiversity goals, and the contribution of science to large scale planetary health issues.
  • Should We Trust Science? Perspectives from the History and Philosophy of Science
    Oreskes, Naomi (Virginia Tech. University Libraries, 2015-09-02)
    The Global Change Center at Virginia Tech welcomed Dr. Naomi Oreskes, Harvard historian and author, for a Distinguished Lecture on September 2, 2015, at 4:00 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, VA. Dr. Oreskes is a professor of the history of science and affiliated professor of Earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the earth and environmental sciences, with a particular interest in understanding scientific consensus and dissent. Dr. Oreskes has received international acclaim for her 2010 book, "Merchants of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming," co-authored with Erik M. Conway. It was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Time Book Prize, received the 2011 Watson-Davis Prize from the History of Science Society, and was recently adapted into a documentary film. Dr. Oreskes' visit represents the second in a Public Distinguished Lecture Series sponsored by the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech. The lecture series is designed to bring some of the world's leading scholars to the Blacksburg community to discuss critical environmental and societal issues in an open forum.
  • The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars
    Mann, Michael E. (2015-03-20)
    The Interfaces of Global Change Program at Virginia Tech is proud to host Dr. Michael Mann for a science communication workshop and public lecture on Friday, March 20, 2015. Dr. Mann is an award-winning climate scientist and central figure in the political debate over climate change. His lecture at the Lyric Theatre will be followed by a brief Q&A session and book signing. Dr. Michael E. Mann is a Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC). Dr. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. His research involves the use of theoretical models and observational data to better understand Earth’s climate system. Dr. Mann was a Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 and was organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. He has received a number of honors and awards including NOAA’s outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. He contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2012 and was awarded the National Conservation Achievement Award for science by the National Wildlife Federation in 2013. He made Bloomberg News’ list of fifty most influential people in 2013. In 2014, he was named Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and received the Friend of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education. He is a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society. Dr. Mann is author of more than 170 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published two books including Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming in 2008 and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines in 2012. He is also a co-founder and avid contributor to the award-winning science website RealClimate.org.