URI’s Metcalf Institute to host Annual Public Lecture Series

Extreme weather and climate change are focus of weeklong series

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KINGSTON, R.I.- May 31, 2018- The University of Rhode Island’s Metcalf Institute is celebrating 20 years of bringing journalists to URI from around the globe for its internationally recognized Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists. Metcalf is marking the milestone by inviting the general public to receptions following each session of its 2018 Annual Public Lecture Series, which runs concurrently with the workshop.

All lectures are free and open to the public and will be held from June 11 through 15 in the Corless Auditorium on URI’s Bay Campus, 215 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, R.I.

Featured speakers include the former chair of a federal climate change advisory committee that was eliminated by the current administration in Washington and a demonstration of cutting-edge, virtual reality tools that allow journalists to immerse their audiences in complex stories in compelling ways.

“This year’s Annual Public Lecture Series is especially timely given recent flash floods, the early launch of hurricane season and record high temperatures around the world,” said Sunshine Menezes, executive director of the Metcalf Institute. “We hope that people come away from the Metcalf lectures with a deeper understanding of the connections between climate change and extreme weather, as well as the steps we can take to deal with climate risks.”

The lecturers and their topics are as follows:

Monday, June 11, 3:30 p.m., Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux, professor and chair of the Department of Geography at the University of Vermont, will deliver a lecture titled “Extreme Weather and Climate Change: What’s the connection?” Her talk will explore the impact of record heat waves and unusually large hurricanes on people and infrastructure.

Tuesday, June 12, 3:30 p.m., Amir Jina, assistant professor in the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago will deliver a lecture titled “The Bottom Line: Climate Change and the American Economy.” His talk will include the work of the Climate Impact Lab, which uses big data to forecast future damages from these impacts and inform fiscal policies.

Wednesday, June 13, 3:30 p.m., Jean Yves Chainon, chief executive officer of JYC (an augmented and virtual reality and 360-video production and development studio) and founder of OOAworld (a website where Chainon records and shares his work) will deliver a lecture titled “Is Immersive Storytelling the Future of Journalism?” During his lecture, he will explore how virtual and augmented reality are transforming the way storytellers and journalists engage news audiences and how these tools can be used to bring audiences closer to complex issues like climate change.

Thursday, June 14, 3:30 p.m., Amy Snover, director of the Climate Impacts Group and assistant dean of applied research with the College of the Environment at the University of Washington, will deliver a lecture titled “How Will We Handle a World with No ‘Normal’? Preparing for a Changing Climate.” Her lecture will discuss new collaborations between scientists and local decision-makers that will help communities thrive in this era of uncertainty.

Friday, June 15, 11 a.m., Richard Moss, visiting senior research scientist at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, will deliver a lecture titled “Sparking a Transition to Local Leadership for Climate Action.” Moss, the former chair of the disbanded Federal Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment, will preview innovations in climate science.

Learn more about the Metcalf Institute, the 2018 Public Lecture Series and the 20th annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists.

Olivia Ross, an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at URI and public relations major, wrote this press release.