UC Santa Barbara's Critical Issues in America lecture series focusing on climate change and human rights begins next month with presentations by a distinguished researcher and international advisor on global change and public policy and a prominent Inuit political activist.
The first event on Thursday, Feb. 9, will be a presentation by Robert Corell, a senior fellow of the Atmospheric Policy Program of the American Meteorological Society. The colloquium is the first of several free public events designed to contribute to the global dialog on "Equity and the Environment." It will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Buchanan Hall, room 1910.
Corell serves as chair of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, which produced an international report on the impact of climate variability, change, and ultraviolet increases in the Arctic region. He is currently exploring methods, models, and conceptual frameworks for vulnerability research, analysis, and assessment-the focus of which is on the vulnerabilities of indigenous communities in the Arctic. His lecture is titled "Climate Change: An Equity Issue."
On Monday, Feb. 13, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), an international nongovernmental organization representing the Inuit across the Arctic, will lecture on "Climate Change and Human Rights: Inuit Perspectives on a Global Issue." Her lecture will be held at 5:30 p.m. in room 1414 at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. Watt-Cloutier is a permanent participant on the Arctic Council and was instrumental in establishing the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants that bans the generation and use of persistent organic pollutants, such as DDT and PCBs, which contaminate the Arctic food web.
Watt-Cloutier is engaged in climate change initiatives with the aim of persuading states to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. Her vision for her final term as Chair of ICC is to put a human/Inuit face on the global map. She believes that if people can "connect with the challenges the Arctic and its people are facing, it will lead to better understanding of how the planet and its people are one." The message she delivers throughout the world is "Protect the Arctic-Save the Planet."
The Critical Issues in America series examines a specific social issue each year through public lectures, panel discussions, and student course work. The events are sponsored by the College of Letters and Science, the Bren School, and the Environmental Studies Program.