The event featured a panel of distinguished speakers, who shared their insights on how the climate crisis in the world’s most northerly region affects the earth as a whole.
The panel consisted of Dr. Julie Brigham-Grette, professor of geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and co-director of the Joseph Hartshorn Lab; John Englander, author of Moving to a Higher Ground and president of the Rising Seas Institute; and Dr. Thorsten Markus, program manager for cryospheric science at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. Ambassador David Balton, executive director at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Arctic Executive Steering Committee; and Kikki Kleiven, director and head of department at the Bjerknes Center for Climate Research, also offered remarks.
The panelists spent some time explaining the science behind climate change in the Arctic region and the way it will affect the world going forward. The albedo effect remains a grave concern. “We can see with our own eyes that the ice sheets are falling apart,” said Brigham-Grette. “It’s impacting whole ecosystems.”
As ice sheets melt, sea level rises at rates that will spell disaster if not dealt with. Markus explained, “What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. It determines our whole climate system as we know it.”
Englander added that one of the best ways to further climate efforts is to get others involved. “My challenge – my request to you – is to find ways of teaching this. Pick five people, and then get them to pick five people to teach the science simply.”