UMaine Schedules Three Climate Change Lectures

Contact: Betsy Arntzen, 581-4225; Gretchen Faulkner, (207) 581- 1904

ORONO — The University of Maine is presenting lectures by three renowned climate change experts March 29, March 31 and April 26 to offer pole-to-pole perspectives on the changing environment, the economy, foreign policy, global health, human rights and sustainability.

Nobel Peace Prize nominee and climate change activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier, a Canadian Arctic Inuk who grew up in the traditional Inuit lifestyle, will offer an afternoon seminar for students on March 29 and public presentation at 7 p.m. at Wells Conference Center. On Thursday, March 31, explorer and scientist Paul Mayewski, director of the University of Maine Climate Change Institute, will speak at the Collins Center for the Arts about “Climate Change and the Role of Humans” in one of two lectures being presented by the Hudson Museum and the Climate Change Institute at UMaine.

Watt-Cloutier, considered a world leader on global climate change and human rights, has worked with policymakers, testified and lectured at the international level for more than a decade to change public opinion into public policy. She is known for her advocacy of Inuit causes and changing the international discourse on climate change, which led to her nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Watt-Cloutier is credited with making climate change a human rights issue and putting “a human face” on its impacts.

Her evening discussion, “Everything is Connected: Environment, Economy, Foreign Policy, Sustainability, Human Rights and Leadership in the 21st Century,” will be followed by a question and answer period, and reception, according to UMaine’s Canadian-American Center, which is cosponsoring Watt-Clouter’s appearance.

The free event also is co-sponsored by the Climate Change Institute and the Hudson Museum. Details, including other supporting institutions and RSVP information, are on the center’s website.

Mayewski, one of the world’s foremost authorities on climate change research and discovery, has led more than 50 expeditions to collect and analyze snow and ice core samples from the Antarctic, the Arctic, the Andes, New Zealand, the Himalayas, the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Tibetan Plateau, reconstructing climate and atmospheric chemistry over thousands of years. He has created models for the behavior of abrupt climate change events in the atmosphere and developed an integrated understanding of multiple controls on climate and the unique role that humans play in climate change.

Mayewski has published extensively on the subject and has given more than 350 interviews with the major magazines, newspapers and television networks, including the BBC, NPR, 60 Minutes and Good Morning America. His latest book, “The Journey — Adventure, Exploration and the Unmasking of Human Innocence,” is forthcoming.

On Tuesday, April 26, Hudson Museum will present Michael McCormick, the Francis Goelet Professor of Medieval History at Harvard University, whose research and teaching focuses on the archaeology and history of the fall of the Roman Empire and the origins of medieval civilization.

In “Climate Change and the Fall of the Roman Empire,” McCormick will explore what bio-molecular evidence and climate change data suggest about the impact of volcanic events on the collapse of the Roman Empire and the rise of Carolingian Europe. Climate cooling caused by eight volcanic events resulted in nine major winter anomalies that affected food production and human survival, McCormick hypothesizes.

Both lectures, at 7 p.m. in Hutchins Hall, Collins Center for the Arts, are free and open to the public. Details about the Hudson Museum lectures, including sponsors, are available on the museum website.