Climate change education the focus of upcoming lecture, summit and family fun day

Three upcoming events this fall will each address climate change, providing fresh perspectives and all-ages learning about the pressing problems surrounding the issue.

Arnold C. Ott Lectureship in Chemistry

This fall's presentation features Daniel G. Nocera, the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University. Nocera, noted for his discoveries in renewable energy, is the inventor of the Artificial Leaf and the Bionic Leaf, which set the stage for large-scale deployment of distributed solar energy.

The community lecture, "The Global Energy Challenge," will be held September 28 at 6 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center's Grand River Room. 

The chemistry seminar, "Food and Fuel from Thin Air, Any Water and the Sun," will be held September 29 at 1 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center's Pere Marquette Room.

"I hope that attendees will enjoy the experience of hearing from an expert in the field of chemistry who is actively working to address the energy challenges our world faces," said Shannon Biros, professor of chemistry. "I hope that attendees will be inspired by these talks, and that they will recognize that change is possible and that science will help to solve these problems. 

"Lastly, I hope that everyone who attends these talks will learn something new about chemistry and will realize that science is not a scary thing but something that everyone can understand and relate to."

The tops of trees are seen from ground level. Parts of the sky are visible.

GVSU Climate Change Education Solutions Summit 2023

The theme for this year's annual summit is "Connecting Minds for a Sustainable Climate Future."

The summit is scheduled for October 17-18. The October 17 programming is in person at the DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The late afternoon and evening lineup features an expo and several presentations, including a keynote from Bryan Alexander, an acclaimed futurist, researcher and author in the field of how technology transforms education. (Alexander will also be part of the President's Forum, presented by President Philomena V. Mantella, on October 16).

On October 18, the programming is on Zoom starting at 10 a.m. That day will feature conversations and Q&As with a number of experts as well as showings of documentaries, including "Climate Sisu: the stories of climate resilience from Northern Michigan,” a recently released production involving Grand Valley faculty and recent alumni.

The summit is presented by the GVSU Climate Change Educations Solutions Network, which connects scholars, students, K-12 educators and community members for a solutions-oriented approach to climate change education.

"Our focus this year is on the responsibilities of higher education in leading development of climate solutions," said Elena Lioubimtseva, professor of geography and sustainable planning and a leader of the network. "We will highlight the power of media in climate action, including storytelling and filmmaking."

A bee hovers on a pink flower on a branch.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Energizing Our Weekend Family Fun Event

The Regional Math and Science Center is offering a free family fun event for students in grades K-8 and their families to engage in interactive renewable energy and sustainability sessions.

The event at the Padnos Hall of Science is on November 4 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. There will be a wide range of topics for the hands-on learning sessions, including solar panels, wind turbines and nuclear energy.

Programs such as this event are part of the Regional Math and Science Center's goal to provide meaningful, high-quality STEM experiences to enrich and inform the community, said Diane Miller, business and community outreach coordinator.

"This event is designed to increase STEM awareness and knowledge of today's learners of all ages," Miller said. "I hope that families will experience a wide range of interactive sessions to broaden their understanding of renewable energy and sustainability."


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