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The Heat is On: Climate Science, Sustainability April Talks At The Nyack Center

by Bill Batson
When 16 year old Greta Thunberg was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for organizing a global student climate strike, an epic challenge was set. Will the generation that allowed our planet to get to the brink of climate catastrophe rise to the occasion? How do we convince every adult on the planet how urgent the moment truly is? What can an individual or a community do to reverse the direction of an eco-system? If you live in Nyack, New York, you are lucky because some of your neighbors are on the front lines of this fight for survival.

“Since my grandmother was born, sea levels have risen one foot. In the worst case scenario, the oceans could rise another foot in the next three decades, which means adapting to what we had seen since my grandmother was born a little quicker.” — Senior Lamont-Doherty researcher Professsor Dr. Robin Bell

We are lucky to be sharing a community with some of the most significant scientific and legal minds fighting to save our planet for the generation that protested at the Main Street gazebo in March 15.  Faculty of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Pace University School of Law will participate at two forums at the Nyack Center to answer questions that are literally burning. The Knowledge Market was launched to facilitate neighbor-to-neighbor information transfer like these. And like you would with your neighbors, stay after the presentations to have a bite and chat with the men and women whose work is impacting all of our futures.

Scientists, authors and experts from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Pace University come to the Nyack Center on April 2 and 16 to talk about climate change — and what we can do about it…today. These talks are open to the public and sponsored by the Earth Institute at Columbia University, The Nyack Center and Nyack News And Views. To reserve a ticket for these events, visit

April 2: How Urgent is the Moment: Facts on Climate from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Robin Bell, Professor and Polar Researcher, President of the American Geophysical Union moderates a discussion on the fragile state of our planet’s climatic system. Antarctic explorer and president of the American Geophysical Union, Bell is a Palisades Geophysical Institute (PGI) Lamont professor, directing research programs in Antarctica and Greenland. The Bell Buttress, a mile-long Antarctic ridge, has been named in honor of her scientific discoveries.

“My research is geared toward understanding global climate change, including current anthropogenic driven changes and past changes to the Earth System. I investigate the natural modes and underlying forcing mechanisms of past climate variability. Lake sediments are comprehensive archives of changes that have taken place through time, and they allow valuable and quantitative reconstructions of past environmental parameters. I use organic compounds and the stable isotope ratios of hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen found in them, to reconstruct paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental parameters.” — Dr. William D’Andrea, Lamont Associate Research Professor, Biology and Paleo Environment

Panel members include: Nicole Davi, Adjunct Associate Scientist at Lamont Doherty and Associate Professor, William Paterson University who is a paleoclimatologist and tree-ring expert, and William D’Andrea, professor of biology and paleo environment, who is an expert on natural and human-induced climate change.

“The field of tree-ring science, or dendrochronology, uses the annual growth variation of long-lived trees to better understand what the climate was like over hundreds, even thousands of years. I have spent many summers traveling to remote regions around the world in search of undisturbed, climate-sensitive, old-aged trees. The tree-ring based climate records that I create can be used to reveal the full range of past climate variability.” — Nicole K. Davi, LDEO Adjunct Associate Scientist & Associate Professor, William Paterson University


April 16: Living Sustainably Now

Pace Law School Professor Karl S. Coplan is director of Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic and principal outside counsel for Riverkeeper, Inc. After graduating from Columbia Law School in 1984, he clerked for The Honorable Warren E. Burger, chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Coplan will give practical advice on how everyone can reduce their carbon footprint from how you travel to how you manage your home. Coplan leads by example, having commuted to work across the Hudson River via kayak until new bridge construction restricted his access.
Each evening is followed by meet-and-greet receptions with the presenters.A definitive source on climate change, scientists from Lamont-Doherty coordinate a global infrastructure that includes laboratories at the North Pole and Antarctica, and a world-ranging, 235-foot research ship.

Karl S. Coplan
I think that an individual direct footprint of four tons per year is defensible as sustainable for a middle class citizen of a developed nation during the phaseout of all fossil fuels over the next few decades.” — Pace Law School Professor Karl S. Coplan

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Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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