Addressing global climate change and related socio-environmental disasters is among the most urgent challenges of the 21st century. A changing climate will affect all life on the planet, but the effects will not be shared equally. Some regions, nations, communities, individuals and natural ecosystems will likely experience greater or lesser levels of threat, and will have greater or lesser vulnerabilities. As one noted scholar has written: "[G]lobal warming is all about inequality, both who will suffer most of its effects and in who created the problem in the first place" (Roberts 2001). While we understand fairly well who is responsible for climate change (although its solutions are not), the more difficult and frankly demanding questions surround those who will suffer the most and how best to mitigate such threats and address the vulnerabilities of those most at risk.
Academic Year 2014-2015
On March 4, 2105, Rutgers Climate Institute in partnership with New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Rutgers Department of Agricultural and Resource Management Agents and the Rutgers Department of Plant Biology and Pathology hosted a workshop for Rutgers Agricultural Experiment Station Cooperative Extension Faculty and Staff on climate change and agriculture. The workshop was held at the Rutgers EcoComplex, Bordentown, NJ. Support for the Workshop was also provided by the USDA-Northeast Climate Hub. Presentations from the workshop are embedded in the agenda below. Although not on the original agenda, Dr. Norman Lalancette gave an impromptu presentation of peach blossom data he has been aggregating and as such his presentation is included as well.
On Tuesday February 3, 2015 at the Rutgers University Cook Student Center, New Brunswick, NJ, award-winning journalist Mark Schapiro spoke on the intersection between climate change, economics and politics to a crowd of over 175 students, faculty, staff and members of the public. Schapiro 's talk was based on his latest book Carbon Shock: A Tale of Risk and Calculus on the Front Lines of the Disrupted Global Economy. Schapiro also participated in two sessions prior to his evening lecture: one with Professor Cymie Payne's International Environmental Law and Policy Class and another with leaders from Rutgers student groups whose missions involve topics related to climate change. Along with the Rutgers Climate Institute, the evening lecture was sponsored by Office of the Cook Campus Dean, Rutgers Environmental Sciences Graduate Student Association, Rutgers Oceanography Graduate Student Association, Rutgers Fossil Fuel Divestment, and Students For Environmental Awareness.
On Friday November 21, 2014 Rutgers Climate Institute hosted a one-day symposium to stimulate interaction and collaboration among the community of natural and social science researchers and university students from institutions in the greater NJ, NY and Philadelphia region interested in climate change. The symposium theme was Climate Change and The Tropics: Implications and Adaptation.
George Marshall, one of Europe's leading experts on climate change communication, gave an engaging talk to a gathering of 200 Rutgers students, faculty, staff and members of the public in at Rutgers Cook Campus Center on its New Brunswick campus regarding his latest book, Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change. Marshall, a British citizen, has been on a quest to discover why people are inclined to ignore climate change even when presented with scientific facts. His research involved discussions with Nobel Prize-winning psychologists and the activists of the Texas Tea Party; the world’s leading climate scientists and the people who denounce them; liberal environmentalists and conservative evangelicals. One of his conclusions is that climate change is difficult to accept and that humans therefore construct a narrative that enables us to ignore it, reject it or shape it in our own image.