Recent News from Campuses
“Climate change is not a belief system,” said Dr. Gabriele Hegerl to a sold-out campus crowd and more online around the world. A Fellow of the Royal Society who published some of the first studies detecting the influence of humans on surface temperatures, her sentiment permeated throughout as scientists and experts gathered for the Nobel Conference 55, Climate Changed: Facing Our Future.
What is climate change, then? In the manner in which the Nobel Conference considers a topic, climate change was examined in multitudinous, multidisciplinary ways—as scientific fact, human-created phenomenon, current humanitarian crisis, future cause of wars, the result of Western imperialism and consumerism, and evidence of our lost connection with our Earth and with our souls. It was explored through music (from the Gustavus’ Wind Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, and Jazz Ensemble), dance (including a student-created piece performed on a melting block of ice), visual art (works from the Dustbowl era, works with fungi and plastic as mediums, and a piece about glaciers that engaged all five senses), small group and self-guided learning, and a student-planned, carbon-friendly menu prepared by Gustavus Dining Service.
A variety of voices across countries, continents, disciplines, generations, and world views weighed in on the science of climate change and its ethical concerns. Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh opened the Conference with a lecture on the rhetorical “war on climate change.” “What migrants know is that climate change already is a war. And that what leaders do is more important than what they say in public.” The speakers all agreed that the ethics of geopolitics around climate change currently present a dizzying web of complexity. Dr. Richard Alley, professor of geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University whose work focuses on climate reconstructions through polar ice, delivered a pithy long view: “What keeps screaming at us from history, if you were to compress it down to a couple of tweets, is that carbon dioxide is a big deal,” he said. “The next big tipping point comes from us humans.” Dr. Diana Liverman, Regents Professor of Geography and Development at University of Arizona, showed how progress that has eradicated world poverty has led to an increase in C02 emissions. “In many areas, rising incomes correlate with a rise in consumption,” she said. But, she notes, “There are synergies” that are good for both people and climate. For instance, more plant-based diets and resilient, sustainable food systems.
On day two, Canadian Inuit activist and author Sheila Watt-Cloutier, raised within an Arctic food and culture system that is rapidly melting away, spoke of the connection between environment, economy, human rights, and foreign policy. These interlocked forces shape who wins and who loses as our climate changes via human action. Her people are losing—with the highest rate of suicide in North America, a dramatic increase in diabetes and substance abuse, and increased reliance on imports instead of the Arctic itself. “At issue is our very ability and right to exist as indigenous people,” she says. “We, the Inuit, are the collateral damage.” Dr. Gabriele Hegerl followed up Watt-Cloutier’s human experience with explanations of how climate modeling makes accurate predictions about how our climate will respond to certain factors. The climate models have shown and continue to show what the Inuit experience and will continue to experience.
Climate engineer Dr. David Keith, professor of applied physics at the Harvard School of Engineering and applied sciences and professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, opened his talk with some good news: “The sudden decrease in the cost of solar power is unexpected and fantastic,” he said. Then, the dark news: “If we just bring fossil fuel emissions to zero, we stop the problem from getting worse. That’s an unusual definition of ‘solved.’” He has an unorthodox solution: solar geoengineering through capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide to make carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels. It is, he admits, potentially dangerous—and full of possibility.
“We live in a Kafka-esque world,” said Dr. Mike Hulme. Climate change conversation is complex, disorienting, and often menacing. The professor of human geography and Fellow of Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, offered the humanities as ways to get to the heart of it all. The powers of narrative and metaphor, he says, are as equally important as the power of metrics. “Science on its own offers no moral vision. A well-ordered physical climate is deeply contingent on a well-ordered social world,” he said. The speakers debated this point with fervor as the conference closed: Metrics are the only thing governments listen to in Western and global culture. Lack of conversation on values when presenting climate change science has been detrimental to the science. If we have to build a moral understanding before we take action, are we too late?
“It all now rests on the young people,” said novelist Amitav Ghosh.
“I want to stop dumping this on youth,” said Dr. Diana Liverman. “I’m still alive and I should be doing something.”
Watch the archive video of the lectures and panel discussions, at the Nobel Conference website.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Augsburg University student Elan Quezada organized a rally on campus for the Global Climate Strike where Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told students he stood behind their efforts.
“We want and we acknowledge that this is our fight – this will be our burden to carry,” Quezada told WCCO’s Bill Hudson.
After the rally in Oren Gateway Center’s lobby on Friday, September 20, Augsburg students traveled together via light rail to rally with others at the state Capitol.
Augsburg students joined thousands worldwide who walked out of offices and schools to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.
The post WCCO: Augsburg Student Leads Global Climate Strike Rally appeared first on News and Media.
A national order of France, the honor is bestowed upon distinguished academics who “contribute actively to the expansion of French culture in the world.”
Why scientist Dr. Jaye Gardiner draws comics to encourage diversity in STEM fields | Technically Philly | September 18, 2019
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University has been awarded a Collaborative Urban and Greater Minnesota Educators of Color Grant. Through the grant, Saint Mary’s will receive $187,926, which will be used primarily to fund tuition scholarships for a new cohort of diverse teacher licensure students at the university. The cohort, scheduled to begin in summer 2020, represents the second cohort of the community-engaged teacher pathway program developed in collaboration with The Sanneh Foundation’s Dreamline coaching program.
According to Shannon Tanghe, Ph.D., program director in the M.A. in English as a Second Language, these grants help Saint Mary’s prepare educators for a growing population of diverse students. “Promoting diversity in educators is also important, because research has shown that students benefit when teachers share their race or gender,” she said. “As we work to close the achievement gap in education, it’s crucial we support racially diverse teachers. Students of all racial backgrounds can benefit from a diverse teacher workforce that represents the nation’s overall demographics.”
These scholarships will benefit adult learners in the M.A. in English as a Second Language and Special Education programs.
WINONA, Minn. — Christine Beech, executive director of Saint Mary’s University’s Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, has been named to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s advisory board for Launch Minnesota. This new statewide collaboration supports technology startups.
Each of the board’s 10 members come from unique backgrounds in technology and entrepreneurship.
Launch Minnesota will provide financial incentives, training, and grants to people starting scalable innovative businesses in sectors such as aerospace, agricultural processing, nanotechnology, and medical devices. The program provides special consideration for startups in Greater Minnesota, as well as businesses started by women, veterans and people of color. The program has an annual budget of $2.5 million.
A key goal of Launch Minnesota is to make the risks related to starting a high technology company a little more manageable for entrepreneurs through:
- Grants to assist in attracting federal research and development funding
- Business operation grants to help entrepreneurs with capital constraints
- Child care and housing assistance
- Training in areas focused on scalable innovative businesses
- An Angel Tax Credit that incentivizes venture investment in early stage startups.
Beyond providing incentives, Launch Minnesota seeks to bring the statewide startup industry together to create a stronger network of innovators in Minnesota, and to tell the story of the state’s startup growth to the rest of the country and the world.
Christine Beech is also an assistant professor of business at Saint Mary’s. She is active in the Southeast Minnesota entrepreneurial community, co-founding a Women Entrepreneur’s Forum in Rochester, helping to launch a co-work space and bring 1 Million Cups to Winona, and partnering with other local universities to create new cross-disciplinary student entrepreneurial events. Her research areas have included the examination of gender, faith, and military service as predictors of entrepreneurial activity. Prior to joining Saint Mary’s University, Christine engaged in several entrepreneurial ventures, ranging from building a management consulting business line with over $21 million in annual revenue, to operating a boutique consulting practice serving federal government clients. She is also a military veteran, having retired after serving 20 years in the Army as a military intelligence warrant officer.