2018-2019 Changing Climate, Changing Times
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.
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.
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.