The concepts and theories behind the issue of climate change are complicated. Several University of Maine scientists and professors are hoping, however, to demystify, enlighten and perhaps even engage the public in the different ways they claim climate change affects our lives.
The UMaine-based Climate Change Institute will hold “Climate Change on Planet Earth,” a monthly lecture series that will feature specialists in areas related to climate change discussing their research as it relates to life in the 21st century.
The lectures will be held in the Bangor Public Library’s Lecture Hall and are free and open to the public. The talks start at 6:30 p.m. and usually wrap up by 7:45 p.m. The library is at 145 Harlow St.
Next up is a Jan. 14 talk by the coordinator of the series, Gregory Zaro, an assistant professor in the Climate Change Institute and anthropology department. Zaro will talk about his research in a lecture titled, “Ancient Civilizations, Archaeology and Environmental Change in South America.”
Zaro, who spends several months of the year in remote spots in Bolivia and southern Peru, will discuss how archaeology can reveal long-term ecological change and humans’ role in that change.
“[There is] so much focus on industrial nations and pollution, but people don’t understand there are thousands of years of human history before the industrialized era when people have had huge impacts on landscape and environment,” Zaro said.
While Zaro will transport his audience to South and Central America, the February lecture will hit much closer to home next month when Joe Kelley, an earth sciences and Climate Change Institute professor, will deliver a lecture called “The Rise and Fall of the Maine Coast: People and a Drowning Shoreline.” The date has not yet been set.
Paul Mayewski, a UMaine professor and the Climate Change Institute director, gave the opening lecture. He was followed by Steve Norton, a professor of geological sciences who is a specialist in atmospheric pollution.
Although several of the lecture topics are very specific, the goal is to get the public interested in a complex issue.
“We hear all these competing ideas and arguments about climate change,” Zaro said. “I don’t think the general public really understands what climate change is about and how we measure it. This presents an opportunity for people to come hear thoughts about particular subjects, ask questions and hear responses.”
For information on the lecture series, call 581-1857 or e-mail Gregory.Zaro@umit.maine.edu.