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Calendar Item: 12th Annual MU Life Sciences and Society Symposium to be Held March 11-19

Symposium to focus on climate change and its implications for future generations

March 19th, 2016

Story Contact: Jeff Sossamon, 573-882-3346,

By Molly Peterson

WHAT: The 12th Annual Life Sciences and Society Symposium (LSSP) will be held at the University of Missouri campus on March 11-19. This year’s theme, “Confronting Climate Change,” will focus on the complex and controversial topic of how we should confront climate change.

“Climate change is one of the key challenges facing the world today. Most scientists agree that climate change is happening and are focused on understanding it better and charting a way to lessen its effects” said Mary Shenk, chair of the LSSP committee. “Areas of scientific focus vary from implications of extreme weather to the impact climate change will have on our food systems, social institutions and health.”

Presenters at the LSSP will discuss how and why climate change is happening and what can and should be done with energy, technology and policy to mitigate climate change. They also will address the consequences climate change presents for weather, agriculture, health and society.

The symposium will be held in Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center, MU Campus. Interdisciplinary presenters at the symposium include:

  • Richard Alley, professor at The Pennsylvania State University, an environmental scientist, author and one of the contributors to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Alley will discuss “Big Challenges and Bigger Opportunities: Confronting Climate Change” and how effective use of research regarding energy and climate change can improve the economy. 10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 12.
  • Andrew Revkin, senior fellow at Pace University for environmental understanding, journalist, author and educator. Revkin will present “A Journalist’s Anthropocene Journey” where he will retrace his 30-year journey charting the dawn of this era – the Anthropocene: a proposed geological epoch in which Earth’s climate and environment is primarily being shaped by humans.  7 p.m., Thursday, March 17.
  • Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-chief of Science and its family of journals and the first female director of the U.S. Geological Survey. She currently is nominated to be the next president of the National Academy of Science. McNutt will discuss “Climate Intervention: Promise and Peril,” incorporating the recent Paris climate agreement and how other nations will rise to the challenge of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. 4 p.m., Friday, March 18.
  • Wes Jackson, founder and president of The Land Institute and author of several books, with Nature as Measure being his most recent publication. Jackson will present “Natural Systems Agriculture: New Discoveries, New Opportunities” and discuss how land use is faced with a moral-legal split since it is the number two source of greenhouse gases. 9 a.m., Saturday, March 19.
  • Marshall Shepard, professor of geography and director of the Atmospheric Science Program at the University of Georgia. He is well known for his TedXAtlanta Talk on “Slaying Climate Zombies” and is the author of the forthcoming book, The Urban Climate System. Shepard will present “Zombies, Sports, and Cola: Implications for Weather and Climate Communication” and discuss the challenges of communicating weather and climate. 10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 19.
  • George Luber, epidemiologist and associate director for climate change in the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects at the National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Luber will discuss “The Health Consequences for a Changing Climate” and how climate change will be a defining issue for public health in the 21st 2 p.m., Saturday, March 19.
  • Naomi Oreskes, professor at Harvard University and co-author of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming. Oreskes will present “Climate Change Denial: Where Do We Go from Here?” and discuss what actions need to be taken in order to control greenhouse emissions. 3:30 p.m., Saturday, March 19.

WHERE:  Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center, MU Campus

WHEN:  Friday, March 11 – Saturday, March 19

NOTE:  No tickets are required, but free online registration is encouraged at:

Symposium schedule can be found here:

Speaker information can be found here:

Affiliated Events:

  • Panel Discussion on Faith and Climate. Panel will discuss how technology, belief and/or faith-based practice shape perspectives on climate and environmental practice.12-1:30 p.m., Friday, March 11, Bond Life Sciences Center, Room 171 (Reading Room), MU Campus.
  • Film Screening: Merchants of Doubt, inspired by the book co-authored by speaker Naomi Oreskes. 5:30 p.m., Monday, March 14, Ragtag Cinema, 10 Hitt Street, Columbia, Mo.
  • Panel Discussion on Conservation in the Anthropocene. Panel will discuss how human-caused changes to the environment are fundamentally transforming the goals and practices of conservation. 12-1:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 16, Adams Conference Center, MU School of Veterinary Medicine.