Saul O Sidore Lecture Series Fall 2018

2018-2019 Changing Climate, Changing Times

Climate change will affect multiple dimensions of our lives and is causing mass extinction. While the impacts will be felt by all, human challenges will be faced most by the youngest generations. How does climate information and disinformation affect needed lifestyle changes? What is technology’s role? What are the challenges and possibilities in the realm of education? How do politicians respond to challenges on longer time scales? What cultural media can be leveraged to effect needed change? What underlying aspects of the human psyche affect how people grapple with the issue? This year’s Sidore lectures will address these issues from local, national, and global perspectives.
All Sidore lectures are at the Silver Center for the Arts, in Smith Recital Hall. Lectures are free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended.
For reservations or to arrange special accommodations, call (603) 535-ARTS.

Thursday, September 13, 2018, 7 p.m.
Changing the Conversation: Improving Public Discourse on Climate Change

Social discourse is important for people to make sense of and develop solutions to social threats such as that posed by anthropogenic climate change. Yet, most Americans tend to avoid talking about climate change with people they know. This presentation discusses recent research on why people are hesitant to talk about climate change and how these barriers to discussion can be overcome. I will include an overview of findings from a national-scale, five-year effort to change societal discourse on climate change through improving climate change communication at informal science learning centers (such as aquariums and zoos), which are places where adults can remain engaged with scientific topics.

Dr. Nathaniel Geiger is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Communication at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He grew up in Austin, Texas, where the effects of global climate change have already begun to manifest themselves, with a record-setting 90 days of extreme summer heat over 100F and severe wildfires the last summer that he spent there. He got a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S in Biology from Texas Tech in 2010 and a PhD in Social Psychology from Penn State University in 2018. He joined the faculty of the Media School at Indiana University in the Fall of 2018.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018, 7 p.m.
Pedagogy and the “Point of No Return”:
The Difficult Knowledge of Climate Change

The realities of our changing climate press upon our capacity to internalize and actualize knowledge. Problems of imagination, political will, and civic action are exposed through the continued deferral of recognizing and confronting these realities. As we reach and surpass what climate scientists call the “point of no return”, climate change exposes a multitude of challenges for teaching and learning. In this talk, Jim Garrett explores the idea of difficult knowledge in relation to the challenges of learning about climate change and the ways in which those challenges impede our confronting an imminently precarious future.

Dr. H. James Garrett received his PhD in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education from Michigan State University, and is currently associate professor of social studies education at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA.  His research is about the ways that learning situations, both in and out of classrooms, are complicated by dynamic emotional realities. Currently, he is studying the circulation of affect and emotion during classroom discussions of current socio/political issues such as gun violence, race, and immigration. His book, Learning to be in the World with Others: Difficult Knowledge & Social Studies Education, was published in 2017 by Peter Lang.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 7 p.m.
Looking Back, Peering Ahead—From the Middle of Colliding, Imperceptible Events: Climate Change and Mass Extinction

The linkages between climate change and species extinctions seem obvious; yet climate change in the Anthropocene may not be what we think it is, and the relevant changes may be imperceptible to us. Attributing past and present shifts in flora and fauna to climate change is problematic, because its effects are predominantly indirect. At present, a 6th great extinction event is likely in progress, but it is very difficult to quantify due to the constraints of documenting extinction, and even more difficult to attribute extinctions to climate change. The path to extinction is typically long and begins with declining abundance and spatial distribution. Evidence of such change is pervasive. Whether species can adapt and whether communities will be resilient to climate change is largely unknown. Dr. Rodenhouse will explore how the concepts of climate and extinction shape and constrain how we relate climate change to mass extinction, and he will use local data to address whether climate change is driving some species along the path to extinction.


Dr. Nicholas L. Rodenhouse is professor emeritus of Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, where he taught ecology and conservation biology from 1988 – 2017. His primary research focus is on how weather and climate affect forest songbirds; however, his research activities range more broadly than this.  He became interested in climate change in 1987 when doing a postdoc in sustainable agriculture at Miami University, Ohio and contributed to the first US EPA sponsored assessment of the potential effects of climate change on Midwestern agriculture. He has been conducting research on climate change since then, including work with the Union of Concerned Scientists on the New England Climate Impact Assessment. He re-joined the avian ecology research group at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest as a principal investigator in 1996 with a specific focus on the processes and drivers of population regulation. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, and Wellesley College.