This October the University of Michigan directly addressed one of the most pressing issues of today at the Michigan and the Climate Crisis conference. This week-long celebration of the University’s bicentennial was aimed at confronting the present and future of the climate crisis. The Hot In Here team was able to track down some of the speakers throughout the week for interviews. Some of these speakers include Sandra Steingraber, Stephen Mulkey, Michael Mann, and Wege Lecture guest, internationally renowned environmentalist, and founder of 350.org Bill McKibben.
Dr. Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC).
Mann is the author of several books including his most recent work, The Madhouse Effect, which features cartoons by Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Tom Toles. Through satire, “The Madhouse Effect” portrays the intellectual pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the clear evidence that man-made activity has changed our climate.
From July 2011 through December 2015, Stephen Mulkey served as president of Unity College in Maine, a four-year liberal arts institution dedicated to sustainability science. He led Unity College to be the first institution of higher learning in the U.S. to divest its endowment from the top 200 fossil fuel companies and directed the creation of the College’s premier graduate program in sustainability science.
As a scholar of the interdisciplinary literature in environmental science, Dr. Mulkey is an active public interpreter of climate change and sustainability. His recent research focuses on the role of landscape carbon stocks in climate mitigation and on the academic structure of interdisciplinary programs in the environmental and sustainability sciences.
Throughout the interviews, a single message seemed to emerge as host Harry Rice pressed each speaker for answers. As you listen, you will hear that there was a feeling that more collaboration between disciplines must happen if we are to “get science off the shelf” as Sandra Steingraber put it. This is a direct call to action for members of not only the scientific community, but to politicians and activists alike.