A Climate Change Forum

UMaine experts to address climate change topics, questions in free webinar 

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    What is Maine doing to address climate change? How does climate change impact geopolitical unrest? Are the wildfires in the western United States related to climate change? 

    People interested in learning more about these and other topics are invited to the “A Climate Change Forum – Your chance to ask questions about climate change” webinar, Monday, Sept. 28., from 6 – 7 p.m. 

    The forum kicks off Maine Impact Week, a virtual celebration of the University of Maine’s research and creativity, from September 28 through October 2. 

    Five UMaine faculty members will address various aspects of climate change – including why it matters and how we respond to it, and the importance of messaging. After all of the individual 5-minute presentations, panelists will answer questions submitted by webinar attendees.

    Panelists and topics they’ll address are:

    Dr. Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute and Distinguished Maine Professor

    Mayewski will discuss “Why Climate Matters!” We are in the midst of many serious issues today: Climate change, COVID-19, inequality, geopolitical unrest, and a damaged economy. Climate change, on its own and interacting with the other issues, is an immediate and long-term threat to our health, wealth and security. 


    Dr. Cindy Isenhour, associate professor of anthropology and climate change

    Isenhour is particularly interested in cross-cultural analyses of climate risk perception and variable responses in public policy. The cultural anthropologist will highlight how many societies have responded to the dual crises of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic to pair economic recovery and a transition to a low-carbon future.  


    Dr. Sean Birkel, Maine State Climatologist and research assistant professor with the Climate Change Institute, with a joint appointment to the School of Earth and Climate Sciences

    Birkel will give an overview of the past century of climate change in Maine, recent extreme weather events, and note important linkages to the Arctic and elsewhere. He’ll also discuss how the changing climate impacts Maine's economy and health, and what changes we’re likely to see in the future.


    Dr. Ivan J. Fernandez, professor with the School of Forest Resources and Climate Change Institute, and Distinguished Maine Professor.

    Fernandez will focus on the Maine Climate Council’s ongoing work that addresses the urgent needs for a coordinated framework to address the unfolding climate crisis in Maine and on the planet. This work is timely and highly integrated into the simultaneous urgency for smart investments in economic recovery from the pandemic, and doing so with an unprecedented attention to social justice and sustainability.


    Dr. Laura Rickard, associate professor with the Department of Communication and Journalism and Climate Change Institute

    Public “engagement” in climate change can mean many things, but is often characterized by three general approaches: the cognitive (knowing facts about climate change); the affective (perceiving risk associated with climate change); and behavioral (supporting climate change policy). While much attention focuses on the importance of the cognitive and behavioral categories, Rickard will suggest how understanding affective reactions to the causes and impacts of climate change is likewise critical, and can help guide our creation of “effective” climate change communication messaging. 

    Registration is required for this free, public webinar. People can submit questions for panelists when they register.

    About the University of Maine:
    The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state's land grant, sea grant and space grant university. It is located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation. As Maine's flagship public university, UMaine has a statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community service. UMaine is the state's only public research university and among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast. It attracts students from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. UMaine currently enrolls 11,561 undergraduate and graduate students who have opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research with world-class scholars. UMaine offers more than 100 degree programs through which students can earn master's, doctoral or professional science master's degrees, as well as graduate certificates. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campuswide to conserve energy, recycle and adhere to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine, visit umaine.edu.

    Event Date: 

    Mon, 09/28/2020 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

    Event Location: