Environment lecture series launches at UW

The new Environment Lecture Series launched its first two-part lecture on climate change Friday, Jan. 24 in Environment 2. A variety of audiences attended the event, including faculty staff, graduate, and undergraduate students.

Presented by Dean André Roy, the new lecture series is to be held once a month (with reduced frequency in spring terms). During each lecture, two presenters will share their research and ideas on the same topic from different perspectives, which tries to inspire conversations between presenters and audiences.

The first lecture featured Prof. Vanessa Schweizer from the Centre for Knowledge Integration, and Prof. Chris Fletcher from the department of geography and environmental management.

Schweizer’s lecture was titled “Changing climate, choices, and consequences: Science as sentinel,” and she explained that multiple models based on past data were used to predict future temperature change  because our society is dynamic. After several decades, many things will change, including population, technology, and values. Besides greenhouse gases, these socio-economic conditions also highly influence the trend of climate change. She hopes the science community can do more than be a “watcher.” By implementing techniques in geo-engineering, science may be able to change the environment in a positive way.

Fletcher’s lecture was titled “Short-lived climate forcers: why global dimming could bite us in the behind,” where he showed figures and charts indicating the cooling effects of aerosols, which are small particles dominating polluted air. Thus, people should consider the trade-off between air pollution and global warming.