The effects of climate change are becoming more and more manifest, raising questions of what we are morally obligated to do about such change, particularly in the face of skepticism and other forms of resistance. Strong environmental advocacy tends to polarize people and issues rather than bringing them together. Environmental pragmatism takes a different approach and focuses on environmental problems rather than ideologies, allowing people to become more unified around a common problem than an ideology. This raises questions about the nature of problems, what motivates people to solve them, and how we go about solving them. Looking to our own region, and using some lessons from other parts of the country–particularly the Pebble Mine issue in Alaska–how can this approach be applied to the Adirondacks?
We are entering a new period of Earth history in which humankind has become a force of nature of geologic scope. We have become so numerous, so interconnected, and so technologically powerful that we are changing the face of the planet, and our fossil fuel emissions alone will skew global climate for tens of thousands of years. What will life in that shockingly deep future be like? Exactly how the future plays out is ultimately up to us as we search for a sane, sustainable path forward in this new Anthropocene epoch, the “Age of Humans.”
Finding Common Ground – Andy Revkin
In nature, ecologists have found that the resilience of an ecosystem to environmental stresses is more a function of the diversity of responses in species than the number of species. In human societies facing such stresses, there’s been a tendency among environmental campaigners to reject diversity – seeking a common path to a better future. In his talk, Andrew Revkin – entering his fourth decade of environmental journalism – argues for the merits, on a complex and fast-changing planet, in embracing “the human way” – faults and all.
Using cartoons, humor and metaphor to engage people with Climate Change.
The North Country is endowed with a diverse array of renewable energy sources, from abundant wind to a plentiful supply of wood chips and other biomass resources. This presentation will provide attendees with a vision of how homeowners and business can meet their energy needs with the clean and abundant renewable sources of energy found within the region. A regionally appropriate energy strategy requires an assessment of current demand for energy and the opportunities to reduce energy consumption through efficiency and conservation. The presentation also covers the key economic and policy reforms necessary to accelerate the role that renewable sources of energy can play in reducing the region’s carbon footprint.
Hip hop developed out of the Bronx, NY into a global force whose reach can be found in just about every facet of modern society. Most relevant to future climate action is the fact that young people—the future leaders of our world—listen to its music, emulate its styles, and speak its language. Given this widespread influence, hip hop artists have the incredible opportunity to deliver positive messaging to the masses. Will hip hop become a conduit for “climate reality” and help guide the mainstream off of its perilous course? YES—and you will be part of the movement!
Education can build our capacity to develop innovative regional climate solutions. We are making progress, but much more needs to be done. Bill Throop will briefly describe achievements in higher education and will challenge institutions in the region with vision for deep sustainability learning at the collegiate level. Steve Danna will speak about the power of conversations and networking SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury has taken to educate, inform, and empower North Country community members to understand and address climate change. Tim Scherbatskoy will describe how SUNY Adirondack is implementing a college sustainability plan that develops educational programming, energy and waste management and agricultural initiatives that address regional climate issues.