Organizers of an upcoming event in Birmingham hope those who attend – climate scientists, business and faith leaders, energy sector representatives and the public alike – will engage one another on climate change and discuss what each can do to help.
“People have been reluctant to look carefully at solutions, because they’ve been too busy questioning the problem,” said Joyce Lanning, former assistant professor in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a founding member of the Birmingham chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby/Education, which is hosting the event. “But I think that it is so evident now that folks aren’t questioning whether or not we have a problem. Now we’re looking at what can we do about it.”
Entitled “Faith Meets Business: Climate Solutions for the Common Good,” the event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 8 from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m (with the option to remain and network until 4 p.m.), at the McWayne Science Center in Birmingham.
Speakers include atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe, a political science professor and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech and lead author of the second, third and fourth U.S. National Climate Assessments, and James McClintock, professor of polar and marine biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who has spent decades researching sea life and climate change impacts in the Antarctic.
There is also to be a panel discussion on climate solutions to include:
- John Northrop, Birmingham leader of Citizens’ Climate Lobby/Education
- Jack West, vice president and counsel at EnPower Solutions
- Bambi Ingram, interim director of Sustainability at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
- Seth Hammett, chair of Energy Institute of Alabama.
- Jonathan Belcher, president of Signature Homes.
An additional panel titled “For the Common Good” will feature:
- Michael Malcom, founder and executive director of Alabama Interfaith Power & Light and People’s Justice Council.
- Ivan Holloway, executive director of Urban Impact, a revitalization effort of the Birmingham Civil Rights District.
- Laszlo Juhasz, operations manager of the Vehicle Innovation Center at New Flyer in Anniston.
“What we really want is to get people to the table who come from different angles,” Lanning said. “What does it look like to me? What do I think would be a good solution? What can we do more of? What’s missing? What would I like to know more about? Just begin that kind of problem solving conversation.”
The event would be a success, Lanning said, if everyone who attended came away with new information and a personal decision about their next steps.
John Northrop, head of the Birmingham chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby/Education, retired director of the Alabama School of Fine Arts and a former environmental reporter for the Birmingham Post-Herald, told APR on Tuesday that organizers plan to continue holding these events into the future.
“We hope that this particular event will kind of catalyze an ongoing conversation and growing attention locally to this issue, and to the need for action,” Northrop said. “We see the climate issue as something that touches everybody, one way or the other.”
Tickets are $25 for the public, $15 for students, and attendees must register in advance by Feb. 4 by visiting climatesolutionsforall.org.
“We encourage and urge people to come join us, Lanning said of the upcoming event. “Because the more points of view we’ve got the better off we are.”