Information

When: April 16, 2014

Where: Fir Room, EMU and the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History

Schedule Overview (Full Schedule and Abstracts Below):

Location: Fir Room, EMU

8:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Panel 1: Changing Climate, Changing Geography

10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Panel 2: Climate Politics & Institutional Responses

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Keynote lecture by Kate Larsen: "Climate Change Negotiations: An Insider’s Perspective"

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Panel 3: Legal Responses to Climate and Societal Changes

2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Panel 4: Climate Change, History, and the Philosophy of History

Location: University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History

4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Round Table Discussion: Promises and Pitfalls of Teaching Climate Change in the Classroom
6:00 p.m. Reception

Keynote Speaker: Kate Larsen

Kate Larsen is the Director for Climate Change at the NY-based Rhodium Group, a firm that combines policy experience and quantitative economic tools to analyze disruptive global trends. Previously, she served as Deputy Associate Director for Energy and Climate Change at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where she helped drive the President’s Climate Action Plan, and managed the interagency processes to implement it. Ms. Larsen also spent six years as a climate negotiator at the US Department of State where she was the lead negotiator on emission reduction commitments and a strategic advisor to the Special Envoy. She has also worked at the International Energy Agency in Paris, the World Resources Institute, and the Environmental Defense Fund. Ms. Larsen received a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University and a Masters of Public Policy from the LBJ School at UT Austin.

 

Full Schedule:

8:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. - Changing Climate, Changing Geography

Location: Fir Room, EMU

Moderator: Scott Bridgham

Name

Department

Title of Presentation

Addor, Nans

Geography, University of Zurich

Robust Changes and Sources of Uncertainty in the Projected Regimes of Swiss Catchments

Johnson, Bart

Landscape Architecture

Anticipating Surprise: Better Approximately Right Than Exactly Wrong

McLaughlin, Win

Geological Sciences

Hawk Rim; Central Oregon’s Changing Ecosystems

Muller, Brook

Architecture

Adaptive Architectures and Urban Wetland Ecologies

Peach, Morgan

Environmental Studies

Management Intensity Effects on Lawn Soil Carbon Pools in the Eugene-Springfield, Oregon Urban Area

Praskievicz, Sarah

Geography

A Hierarchical Modeling Approach to Simulating the Geomorphic Response of River Systems to Climate Change

 

10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - Climate Politics & Institutional Responses

Location: Fir Room, EMU

Moderator: Ronald Mitchell

Chen, Meian

Political Science

What Explains Climate Foreign Policy Change in BASIC countries?

Choi, Sena

Political Science

What factors explain climate change policy change in South Korea?

Kauffman, Craig

Political Science

Financing Watershed Conservation: Lessons from Ecuador's Evolving Water Trust Funds

Neafie, Jessica

Political Science

Fragmentation Within the G-77 and the Future of Climate Change Governance

Wood, Michelle

Institute of Ecology and Evolution, and Environmental Sciences Institute

The GOMECC-II Cruise: Exemplifying the Importance of Federal Science in Climate Change Research

 

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. - Keynote Lecture by Kate Larsen

Location: Fir Room, EMU

Climate Change Negotiations: An Insider’s Perspective

 

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. - Legal Responses to Climate and Societal Changes

Location: Fir Room, EMU

Moderator: Kathie Dello

Davidson, John

Political Science

Taking Posterity Seriously: Intergenerational Justice, the Constitution and Climate Change

Farset, Steven & Professor Nancy Shurtz

School of Law

U.S. Local Environmental Taxes: Laboratories for Innovative Climate Change Policy

Levitt, Gordon

Law, Conflict and Dispute Resolution

Addressing Climate Change in Oregon:  Challenges and Opportunities for Local Communities

Salehian, Ehsan

School of Law

Comparing Wetlands-Related Laws in Iran and USA

 

2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Climate Change, History, and the Philosophy of History

Location: Fir Room, EMU

Moderator: Stephanie LeMenager

Rochester, Rachel

English

We’re Alive: The Resurrection of the Audio Drama in the Anthropocene

Munger, Sean

History

But Greenland Used To Be Green: Early 19th Century Conceptions of Historic Climate Change

Baumeister, Anna-Lisa

Comparative Literature

The Tragicomedy of Climate Change: Environmentalism and the Question of Genre

Myers, Tim Christion

Philosophy

Climate Change Has Not Yet Taken Place: A Political Philosophy of History, Freedom, and Nature’s Absurdity

Craig, David Alexander

Philosophy

The Androcentric Dimension of the Anthropocene: Climate Change and the Oppression of Women in Irigaray’s Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of History

 

4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. - Roundtable Discussion: Promises and Pitfalls of Teaching Climate Change in the Classroom

Location: UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History

Moderator: Alan Dickman

Roundtable Participants

 

Crayne, Jenny

Environmental Studies

Hall, Shane

Environmental Studies

Jackson, M

Geography

Schreiner, Jason

Teaching Effectiveness Program

Siperstien, Stephen

English

 

6:00 p.m - Reception

 

Abstracts:

8:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.     Panel 1: Changing Climate, Changing Geography



Addor, Nans: Robust Changes and Sources of Uncertainty in the Projected Regimes of Swiss Catchments           

Projections of discharge are key for future water resources management. These projections are subject to uncertainties, which are difficult to handle in the decision process on adaptation strategies. Uncertainties arise from different sources such as the emission scenarios, the climate models and their post-processing, the hydrological models and natural variability. Here we present a detailed and quantitative uncertainty assessment, covering a range of catchments representative for mid-latitude alpine catchments. The uncertainties captured by our setup originate mainly from the climate models and natural climate variability, but the choice of emission scenario plays a large role by the end of the century. The respective contribution of the different sources of uncertainty varied strongly among the catchments. The discharge changes were compared to the estimated natural decadal variability, which revealed that a climate change signal emerges even under the lowest emission scenario (RCP2.6) by the end of the century. Limiting emissions to RCP2.6 levels would nevertheless reduce the largest regime changes at the end of the century by approximately a factor of two in comparison to impacts projected for the high emission scenario SRES A2. We finally show that robust regime changes emerge despite the projection uncertainty. These changes are significant and are consistent across a wide range of scenarios and catchments. We propose their identification as a way to aid decision-making under uncertainty.

Johnson, Bart: Anticipating Surprise: Better Approximately Right Than Exactly Wrong  

Landscape planners and designers typically derive a single “best” solution for every problem. But global change is proceeding at a pace that forces human societies to face conditions unlike those ever experienced before. Looking toward the 50-100 year future reveals key uncertainties about climate change impacts and people’s responses that make it impossible to identify the best solution to many problems. We developed an interactive simulation modeling system that allows planners and citizens to explore and test alternative approaches to local climate change adaptation. To do so, we simulate the interactions and feedbacks among climate change, wildfire, forest succession, urbanization, and land management in space and time within a GIS framework using an agent-based model of human decisions. Our approach allows users to explore large numbers of potential future landscapes so as to identify robust policy approaches that appear likely to perform well despite the uncertainties of global change impacts.

McLaughlin, Win:  Hawk Rim: Central Oregon’s Changing Ecosystems

The study is a paleontological, paleoecological, and paleopedological exploration of a new fossil bearing locality in Central Oregon. I have used the flora, fauna, and paleosols (fossil soils), to look at how climate and the resulting ecosystems present have changed during a period of climatic variability in Oregon's past. This is important for not only understanding how Oregon has geological and biologically evolved, but also lending predictive power to models of future change. Hawk Rim is a new fossil-bearing locality in Central Oregon. The site is approximately 16 million years old, placing it in the climatically dynamic Middle Miocene. During this time period Oregon changed from a warm and wet forested environment to a gradually cooler and dryer open habitat such as we are familiar with today. This ecosystem remodeling was heavily impacted by a changing climate, but the effects of other abiotic and biotic components must also be considered. The changing biologic composition in turn has a high impact on climate, with the grasslands creating a higher albedo and lower evapotraspiration than forests. The organisms inhabiting these ecosystems have a complex feedback with their ecosystem as both landscape engineers and bystanders to larger processes. Finally, the tectonics and volcanism regionally alter and drive microclimatic variations creating ecological heterogeneity. Hawk Rim offers a glimpse into the complex relationships of a changing climate, active tectonics and volcanism, and the evolution of Oregon’s flora and fauna. As the stratigraphically lowest outcrop of the Mascall formation, the locality documents a change from the broadleaf wet forests preserved through much of Hawk Rim into the dry woodlands and grasslands the rest of the Mascall Formation became. Some grassland-adapted organisms predate the ecosystem shift, while other woodland organisms have their last occurrences in the refuge represented by Hawk Rim.

Muller, Brook:  Adaptive Architectures and Urban Wetland Ecologies

Urban growth displaces wetlands adjacent to and associated with rivers and other water bodies. In many cases reduced presence of wetlands in urban landscapes is dramatic, with their loss affecting floodplain storage, water quality, aquifer recharge and riparian habitat. Impacts to wetlands are part of a larger transformation of the hydrology of watersheds due to urbanization and climate change. Increases in impervious surface area lower rates of infiltration and result in higher runoff volumes, which can lead to higher peak flows, higher nutrient and contaminant concentrations and reduced aquatic biotic richness.

This paper considers how a strategically located, ‘adaptive’ architectural intervention might support broader scale hydrological and ecological dynamics in urban contexts in an era of climate change. Architectures of adaptive response emphasize stellar performance at the project scale and positive benefits to the ‘parent’ systems within which developments participate in an ‘intelligent’ and temporally attuned manner. I offer as an example the design of a parking garage as a model for configuring the built environment at the site-scale to manipulate stormwater flow as a beneficial resource for urban wetland complexes and rivers at the landscape scale. As we hope to demonstrate, even building types that have significant impacts on environmental quality under ordinary circumstances can, if approached as adaptive interventions, contribute to larger urban watershed function.

Peach, Morgan: Management Intensity Effects on Lawn Soil Carbon Pools in the Eugene-Springfield, Oregon Urban Area

Prior research suggests that lawns can sequester large amounts of carbon, but the effects of different lawn management regimes on this is poorly known. The Mediterranean climate of the West Coast of the U.S. may also affect carbon sequestration differently than in other regions of the U.S. Within the Eugene-Springfield, OR urban area, lawn management ranges from intensive (high: weekly mowing, summer irrigation, herbicide and fertilizer application) to low input techniques (low: spring and fall mowing, clippings left on lawn, no other inputs). I examined if these two management regimes affect soil carbon pools and soil horizon development after at least 20 years of consistent management.

I interviewed homeowners in the Eugene-Springfield urban area to find suitable study sites. I sampled from 17 lawns in June 2013 and four remnant prairie sites in midsummer. At each site, I extracted three to five soil cores to one meter and determined species richness. Soils were separated by horizon (with horizon depth and volume measured), and assessed for their structural, textural, and biological features. Field sampling was followed by measurement of pH, soil mass, 'A' horizon root mass, texture, and soil carbon-nitrogen content. Results reveal differences in carbon and nitrogen distribution across lawn soil profiles, with low management practice storing more carbon in the A horizon, alongside a trend of increasing carbon with depth in high management lawns.
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Praskievicz, Sarah:  A Hierarchical Modeling Approach to Simulating the Geomorphic Response of River Systems to Climate Change 

This research investigates how future climate change may affect the fluvial geomorphology, or physical form, of rivers.  Climate change and variability is widely acknowledged as a major factor influencing river flow, particularly in mountainous watersheds in which snowmelt makes a large contribution to the annual discharge.   Potential climate change-driven changes in the hydrology of such rivers have been simulated by hydrologic models. This research contributes to better understanding of the geomorphic response of river systems to climate change through development of a hierarchical series of linked models to investigate how climate change influences hydrology, which in turn influences fluvial geomorphology.  This modeling framework was applied to three snowmelt-dominated watersheds in the interior Pacific Northwest, with the following objectives: 1) development of downscaled climate change scenarios, which are projections of future changes in climate variables such as temperature and precipitation that are locally specific to the study basins;  2) application of a watershed-scale hydrologic model to project how the study basins’ hydrology, including the magnitude and timing of river flow, may change in response to the downscaled climate change scenarios; and 3) examination of the impact of the modeled hydrologic changes on the study rivers’ morphology – sediment transport, channel geometry, and planform– using a reach-scale geomorphic model that can simulate an individual river segment in greater detail than that from a watershed model. This hierarchical modeling process is an innovative approach to linking physical processes that occur across multiple scales, from global and regional climate to watershed hydrology to local geomorphology.               

10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  Panel 2: Climate Politics & Institutional Responses



Chen, Meian:  What Explains Climate Foreign Policy Change in BASIC Countries?

As a new international constellation, BASIC group (Brazil, China, India, and South Africa) has taken the stage at Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009. At this conference, each of the BASICs announced their voluntary quantitative targets to mitigate emission, which is the first time in the history of climate change negotiations that these countries are willing to take further steps on climate change. Their foreign policy shift poses a puzzle to theories of international politics, because these countries are exempted from mandatory GHGs emission reduction based on Kyoto Protocol and have the institutionalized norm of common but differentiated responsibility (CDDR) to defend their original position in negotiations. This paper will try to explain the shift of climate foreign policy in these countries, and examine what factors drive their foreign policy response to global governance on climate change. It will argue that their policy shift is resulted from the interaction of international and domestic factors, and determined by their relative position in the international system based on their economic growth and carbon emission, together with policy makers' perception of domestic politics.



Choi, Sena:  What factors explain policy change on climate change in South Korea?                  

South Korea adopted a very aggressive climate change policy in Copenhagen in 2009 that represented a dramatic change from its prior foot-dragging, even as many other major participants including Canada, Russia and Japan backed away from their previous stances on climate change issue. Compared with 39 advanced countries which have made legally binding greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments by 2012, South Korea was a foot-dragger. As one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters, South Korea joined the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 without any binding responsibilities along with other developing countries. However, in 2009, South Korea declared Low Carbon, Green Growth as the national vision and pledged its mitigation goal of 30% below the 2009-based business as usual projection in 2020. Why did South Korea change climate change policy so drastically and quickly? What factors best explain the South Korea’s policy change on climate change? Increasing income, economic benefits and industrial structure can explain this phenomenon partly. Likewise, international institutions such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change can explain South Korea’s big step toward addressing climate change issue partly. However, in reality, it is changes in Korean identity a global leader and norms regarding environmental protection that have led South Korea to adopt stronger climate change policies. Korean norms changed from steady and old conflicts between growth and welfare to Green Growth..

Kauffman, Craig:  Financing Watershed Conservation: Lessons from Ecuador's evolving water trust funds          

In early 2000, the city of Quito, Ecuador, established the Water Protection Fund (FONAG) to provide sustainable financing for the management and conservation of surrounding watersheds. FONAG was innovative in that it pioneered the use of trust funds in a voluntary, decentralized mechanism for financing watershed conservation. Since then, at least 15 water trust funds have been created or are underdevelopment in the Northern Andes, seven of which are in Ecuador. Ecuador’s later water funds share many similarities with FONAG, but there are also important differences. This paper analyzes the evolution of Ecuador’s water trust funds since the creation of FONAG. It does so by comparing the development and effects-to-date of two of the most-recent Ecuadorian water funds: the Fund for Páramo Management and Fight Against Poverty in Tungurahua and the Regional Water Fund (FORAGUA). The paper compares these newer water trust funds with FONAG and early payment for environmental services programs to identify four lessons regarding the financing of watershed conservation and related changes in community-level watershed management within Ecuador. The evolution of Ecuador’s water trust funds highlights their ability to adapt to different socio-cultural and political conditions, including those that oppose the commodification of natural resources. As such, water funds provide an innovative model for providing sustainable financing for watershed conservation in countries like Ecuador where privatization is not possible for either legal or cultural reasons.

Neafie, Jessica:                Fragmentation within the G-77 and the Future of Climate Change Governance

Negotiations in the climate change regime have in more recent times failed to garner results. This issue can be linked to a dis-unity of the Group of 77 (G-77). The G-77 was the strong factor in past success of the climate change negotiations due to the strength of the coalition in creating greater concern and interest amongst nations. Recently a substantial weakening of G-77 coalition concerning climate change negotiations has been noticed, and this weakening can be attributed to change and disunity amongst the G-77 members. The literature tells us that coalitions are a major variable in understanding the reasons that negotiations turn out the way that they do, and when a coalition no longer has sufficient strength and/or cohesion it will no longer be able to be an impactful variable. Through examination of the most recent working papers to the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change I have been able to pinpoint the specific fractions within the G-77 that have weakened its ability to act as a strong coalition. This information will not only allow us to explore the weaknesses of the negotiations, but also make assessments of future situations in which there will impact cohesion, and/or force a need to be new governance in the climate change regime.

Wood, Michelle:  The GOMECC-II Cruise: Exemplifying the Importance of Federal Science in Climate Change Research

Assessing changes in the global carbon budget, particularly changes in the concentration of carbon in different reservoirs of the oceans and atmospheres requires vast amounts of data, global coverage, and repeated measurement over time. This type of enterprise, particularly for the oceans, where depth, areal extent, and difficulty of access make it extremely expensive and challenging, is difficult to maintain through the types of funding that support academic research. Working together, federal governments and academic scientists are, however, able to build the kinds of large data bases needed and ensure continuity and standardization of sampling. In the U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) acts as a key player in collecting data required to create a carbon and temperature budget for the ocean through programs like the Repeat Hydrography Program, ARGOS, SOOP, and other observing enterprises funded through the Climate Program Office. One recent cruise, the Gulf of Mexico/East Coast Carbon cruise (GOMECC-II), in August, 2012, represents an excellent example of the way that federal scientists and academic partners have been able to collect data on a wide range of parameters relating to the carbon budget and – by comparing with data collected along the same cruise track nearly a decade before – provide a metric for changing conditions along the coastal zone from New Orleans to New Hampshire

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Panel 3: Legal Responses to Climate and Societal Changes



Davidson, John: Taking Posterity Seriously: Intergenerational Justice, the Constitution and Climate Change

In this presentation, I will outline some of the constitutional underpinnings of the Reserved Powers and Public Trust Doctrines and explain their possible application to the twin problems of carbon emissions and carbon extraction. I will focus particularly on the potential for recognition of posterity rights under Article I’s vesting clause, the Equal Protection clause, and Fifth Amendment substantive due process -- all interpreted in light of the Preamble's posterity clause.

These arguments were recently used in an amicus brief offered to the D.C. Court of Appeals in the case of Alec L., et al. v.Gina McCarthy, et al. (No. 13-5192). The final brief was submitted by thirty-three professors of environmental and constitutional law in support of the claims of Plaintiff minors, who, in conjunction with environmental non-profits Earth Island Institute and WildEarth Guardians, assert that the federal government must protect the nation’s atmospheric resource by developing and implementing a comprehensive climate recovery plan. A comprehensive presentation of these arguments can be viewed at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2361780

Farset, Steven & Professor Nancy Shurtz:  U.S. Local Environmental Taxes: Laboratories for Innovative Climate Change Policy

The article we will be co-presenting is composed of six parts.

Part I of the article examines International and U.S. federal climate change initiatives and their failings.

Part II of the article explores state initiatives and their failings and then explores local government environmental initiatives.  This section specifically examines local climate change policies that focus on transportation and land use issues. 

Part III discusses how various U.S. cities have used tax initiatives creatively. 

Part IV makes conclusions and gives an overall assessment of the initiatives that were introduced in Part III. 

Part V makes conclusions and makes some suggestions for reform in the future. 

Lastly, Part VI of the article concludes with a call for the federal U.S. and international communities to take note of the innovative policies that have been implemented at the local level and to implement a large-scale environmental tax policy to put an end to global warming.

Lahneman, Brooke: Making Sense of Sustainability Via Environmental Standards: An organizational culture perspective of ECMS adoption

In this paper, I investigate whether and how there is an association between environmental certified management standards (ECMS) adoption and how organizations understand and practice sustainability.  Prior literature has focused on symbolic adoption of ECMS, however, we know little regarding substantive adoption of ECMS.  With the proliferation of ECMS being adopted by organizations across industries, stakeholders are calling for increased transparency in organizational practices, making substantive adoption an important topic to address.  In an inductive study in the wine industry, I analyze data from a survey and interviews conducted with vineyard organizations in the Pacific Northwest at various stages of adoption of various ECMS.  This study is currently underway.  This study seeks to contribute to enhancing our understanding of the cultural processes involved in ECMS adoption, and lay the groundwork for future research in this area.



Levitt, Gordon:  Re-localizing: The Path to Climate Recovery in Oregon

This research discusses the challenges and opportunities for local communities to address climate change in Oregon.  Using Eugene, Oregon as a case study, the city’s 2010 Community Climate and Energy Action Plan and related efforts are discussed as initial attempts to prepare for climate change within the confines of contemporary governance and natural resource management paradigms.  Innovative approaches to environmental governance – based upon the Public Trust Doctrine – are then presented as complementary extensions of Eugene’s existing plan, and as the building blocks of a new, local approach to climate action.  This research reflects on the Youth Climate Action Now (YouCAN) campaign, spearheaded by Our Children’s Trust, which advocates for the passage of a Climate Recovery Ordinance and envisions a sustainable future for Eugene.  Given the unprecedented nature of the proposed ordinance, the expected implementation challenges are discussed through an analysis of major stakeholders’ present and future interests in Eugene’s environmental governance strategy.  Finally, the proposed Climate Recovery Initiative in Eugene is compared with the State of Oregon’s plans to address climate change, assessing the areas of potential conflict and synergy, as well as the applicability of the initiative to other communities in Oregon.

Salehian, Ehsan:  Comparing Wetlands-related Laws in Iran and USA

Wetlands are one of the most important parts of the nature and they have significant roles in many aspects of natural life. Wetlands are the habitat of different kind of species and this is a good reason to preserve them. They also have outstanding functions from feeding fishes and mammals to degrading carbon dioxide emissions by keeping carbon in their soil. The purpose of this paper is to choose a sample and review the laws for this sample. This sample is a wetland located in Iran called “Lake Urmia”.In recent years; this lake is facing droughts. It is also one of the most important sites recognized by Ramsar Convention in 1971. Critical point is that Iran was the country that hosted the Ramsar Convention (that was a giant leap for conserving the wetlands around the world) but now Iran is losing one of its most important wetlands. Ramsar Convention recognized the Lake Urmia as a wetland of international importance and it was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reverse in 1976 as well. In this paper, we will briefly discuss the reasons that caused droughts for Lake Urmia and then we will look at relevant Iranian laws for preserving natural resources. After that, we will consider USA laws and entities.

It is also important to mention that there have been chain of factors that caused droughts in Lake Urmia such decreasing in average of rains and increasing the air temperature in the region. Purpose of this paper is to seek the fabricated changes in the ecological conditions of the lake by human being and then reviewing laws in Iranian legal system that is in charge of preserving the natural resources. We will also have a review of Public Trust doctrine in Iran and try to find out the ways of natural resources litigation in Iran. In this paper, we also seek the Iranian laws and organizations in charge for preserving wetlands and then we compare them to existing laws and regulations in USA.

               

2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.       Panel 4: Climate Change, History, and the Philosophy of History     

        

Rochester, Rachel: We’re Alive: The Resurrection of the Audio Drama in the Anthropocene.

In the age of the Anthropocene, in which many scientists believe that humanity has come to represent a biogeophysical force, the need for a public response to climate change is urgent. Despite this, however, wide-spread, systemic change has been slow in coming. Recent theorization seems to suggest that fomenting action in response to climate change will require multiple tools: adequate understanding of the issues, internalized concern, social and political support, and, perhaps most importantly, a forum in which members of the populace might begin to envision themselves in more sustainable scenarios. To this end, audio dramas seem uniquely suited to allow people to internalize (both physically and psychically) the issues confronting humanity in the age of climate change. As a case study, I delve into one of the most popular and enduring audio drama podcasts: We’re Alive. Set in more-or-less contemporary Los Angeles, We’re Alive begins as a conventional narrative of zombie apocalypse, but quickly mutates into a nuanced narrative of scarcity. If the spectacular violence enacted by the creatures is the catalyst for the dramatic reconfiguration of human society, it is the slow devastation of drought and depletion that seems most destructive to conventional models of modern human civilization. Examining aspects of place, temporality, the modeling of long-term, sustainable solutions to many of the same problems surrounding climate change, and the effects of a narrative that, largely played through in-ear headphones, is physically embodied by the listener, this paper seeks to show the potential potency of audio dramas as a means of fostering constructive dialogues around the issues of climate change.



Munger, Sean:  But Greenland Used To Be Green: Early 19th Century Conceptions of Historic Climate Change

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries in the United States and transnationally, a public debate occurred over Earth’s climate--whether the seasons were growing warmer or colder, the causes and implications of such changes. In an era before institutional science, this debate played out in newspapers, mass-market books and within loosely-defined associations of naturalists who were more enthusiastic amateurs than scientific professionals. On both sides of the debate, one key tactic was to invoke history: the way the Earth’s climate behaved in the past. This presentation examines how popular champions of global warming and global cooling invoked history, where they got their ideas about the climate of the past, and how they deployed them in the debate. Drawing upon the common source texts that served as the foundation of traditional education, people who wrote on climate change often tried to discern trends from mentions of weather or seasons in the Bible or in classical literature. They argued whether Gaul or other parts of the Roman Empire had harsher winters in the first century than in the 18th or what it meant that the Danube supposedly froze solid each winter. Similarly, they employed dueling portrayals of primitive tribes in parts of Scandinavia and Russia, and argued (or disputed) that “Greenland used to be green” and considered the meaning of the disappearance of Norse colonies that once flourished there. In wielding these tropes of Earth’s climatological past, the participants of the debate in the early 19th century over climate change presaged, in some ways, arguments made by partisans in the contentious public debate about climate change in the 21st century--a debate that more often views historical sources as arrows in an ideological quiver than a meaningful attempt to understand the environmental and historical past.

Baumeister, Anna-Lisa; Myers, Tim Christion; and Craig, David Alexander: Climate Change and the Philosophy of History

This panel presents three philosophical-historical perspectives on the phenomenon of climate change. While each paper employs a different method and discusses a distinct set of ideas, all are unified in their stress upon the importance of examining the historical narratives we construct around climate change, and in their claim that climate change can be better addressed and understood by challenging these narratives and by pushing them in new directions.

The first paper, by Anna-Lisa Baumeister, asks about the proper "genre" of representations of climate change. It will first introduce the contemporary criticism of comic representations of climate change, and, in a second step, contrast this criticism with a reevaluation of the relation of comedy to both "climate" and "change" as it is developed in literary history. Literary and philosophical figures touched upon include German poet Jakob Lenz, Hegel, Adorno, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Samuel Beckett. Ultimately the claim is that the genre of climate change, if it is to be "environmentalist", cannot be tragic, but must be tragicomic.

The second paper, by Tim Christion Myers, identifies two approaches that have become prominent in contemporary treatments of climate change (the “hard medicine” and “positive vision” approaches), and shows how neither approach has sufficiently situated human subjects within history—therefore calling for a third approach that balances the strengths and weaknesses of the two prominent approaches.

The third paper, by David Alexander Craig, argues that the conceptualization of climate change as marking a shift into the anthropocene must be accompanied by an account of the oppression of women that has characterized this shift simultaneously—an account that can be developed out of Luce Irigaray’s critique of G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophy of history.

4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Roundtable Discussion at the UO Museum of Natural and Cultural History



Crayne, Jenny; Hall, Shane; Jackson, M; Schreiner, Jason; Siperstien, Stephen: Promises and Pitfalls of Teaching Climate Change in the Classroom

We will each briefly reflect on a particular problem or question we as educators negotiate when incorporating climate change, and its social implications, into our classes. Following these short "position papers," we will address questions from a respondent faculty member before opening up the conversation to the audience in the question and answer session. While our group is interdisciplinary, we will focus on our experiences teaching students in social science, humanities, and cross-disciplinary courses. How to incorporate physical science of climate change into non-science courses? How does a teacher deal with climate denial or skepticism? What kinds of texts represent climate change most vividly and comprehensively to students? Do the kinds of assumptions and questions students have about climate change vary by major or department?  These are the kinds of questions our round table will pose and address through lively and collaborative dialogue.

 

 

About the Symposium:

Climate change is a multi-faceted global crisis.  Professors and students in the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences examine different facets of this important global challenge.  The UO Climate Change Research Symposium brings together individuals whose problem-driven research and works of art transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries.   The sharing of perspectives and exchange of ideas will produce a lasting dialogue that will enrich the depth of academic discourse at the University of Oregon.

Sponsored by:

The University of Oregon Climate Change Research Group and the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History