“May You Live In Exciting Times …” Climate Change, Public Understanding, and Lessons From The Harriman Expedition Retraced Tom Litwin Smith College Northampton, MA [email protected] The 1899 Harriman Alaska Expedition Retraced: A Century of Change Two expeditions separated by a century … … A century as momentous as any 100-year period in human history Technical Advances, Environmental Implications Globalization of Environmental Issues 1899 Credit: www.duiops.net Credit: wallpapers.diq.ru Local/regional driver Local/regional response Local/regional impact Credit: Kim Heacox Credit: National Park Service Credit: NOAA Credit: NOAA Credit: Kim Heacox Globalization of Environmental Issues 2007 Credit: www.duiops.net Credit: wallpapers.diq.ru Local/regional driver Local/regional response Local/regional impact + Global driver Global response Local/regional impact Credit: Kim Heacox Credit: National Park Service Credit: NOAA Credit: NOAA Credit: Kim Heacox Public Understanding … Public Confusion “Global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” “False Alarm: Atlantic Conveyor Belt Hasn’t Slowed Down.” Science, November 2006 US Senator James Inhofe, July 28, 2003 “Ancient Ice Shelf Snaps and Breaks Free From Canadian Arctic.” Associated Press, December 28, 2006 “The climate crisis is, indeed, extremely dangerous. In Fact, is a true planetary emergency.” Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, May 2006 IPY 2007-2008 Concept ICSU and WMO are co-sponsoring: An intensive burst of internationally coordinated, interdisciplinary, scientific research and observations focussed on the Earth’s Polar regions starting in 2007 IPY Themes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Current Status of Polar Regions Change in the Polar Regions Global Linkages New Frontiers Polar Regions as Vantage Points The Human Dimension The Human Dimension also runs through the first five Themes. Data Management and Education, Outreach & Communication are present in all six themes IPY and Societal Benefits IPY can bring societal benefits to the polar regions in the form of new knowledge, in enhancements to the systems observing change and in understanding of natural and human processes there – Improving weather information, forecasting, and warnings – Improving predictions of climate variability and change – Reducing loss of life and property from natural and humaninduced disasters – Establishing how to mitigate or adapt to environmental factors affecting human health and well being IPY and Societal Benefits • Improving the sustainable management of fisheries/ agriculture • Improving the management of resources of water and energy • Improving the management and protection of terrestrial, coastal, and marine ecosystems • Understanding, monitoring, and conserving biodiversity • Providing indigenous people with the tools and capabilities to tackle these societal issues and build capacity IPY Objectives • Seek major advances in knowledge and understanding • Obtain a snapshot of the current state of the Polar regions • Establish a legacy of new or enhanced observational systems, facilities, infrastructure and research networks • Ensure unprecedented access to the data generated • Attract and develop the next generation of polar scientists and engineers • Capture the interest and involvement of polar residents and of schoolchildren, the public and decision-makers worldwide Photo credit: British Antarctic Survey Why Outreach? Outreach makes connections with people, who may think or act differently as a result of learning about your work. Outreach can influence the future! Jane Beitler (NSIDC), at Fall 2004 AGU The IPY Target Audience Photo credit: DCJ, US Outreach Workshop, July 2005 Photo credit: Paul Tate Map credit: World Wildlife Fund Themes • Humans as integral and powerful players within the ecosystems and earth systems that sustain them. • The Bering Sea as one of the Earth’s most interesting and productive ecosystems. • The cultures, religions, lifestyles, and economic models that depend on Bering Sea resources. • The Bering Sea as a laboratory for understanding the science and social science of climate and environmental change. • The Bering Sea as an interdisciplinary, educational gateway for helping the public tease apart and understand the increasingly complex issues at the interface of society and the environment. Educational Outcomes Following the successful Harriman Retraced model (www.pbs.org/harriman), Thin Ice educational products and outcomes will include: • A two-hour PBS documentary film co-produced by Florentine Films/Hot Productions. • An extensive educational web site targeted to PBS Online, including real-time ship’s log postings. • Ship-based radio expedition intended to bring the public onboard in real-time. • A book that celebrates the Bering Sea and its people, and integrates our science and social science knowledge into the global conversation about climate change. Thank You!