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Time to act is ‘now’ on Earth’s climate crisis

Time to act is ‘now’ on Earth’s climate crisis

October 26, 2020 at 11:19am

Earth is facing an unprecedented climate crisis.

At FIU’s 7th Geopolitical Summit, hosted by the College of Arts, Sciences & Education and Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs, keynote speaker David Wallace-Wells noted how conversations about climate change shifted significantly in just 30 years.

No longer is climate change talked about as a problem facing future generations. It is with us. Here and now. And it is getting worse, according to the New York Times bestselling author.

In 2020, record-breaking wildfires have ravaged the West, the hurricane season has led to the use of the Greek alphabet with 27 named storms so far, and Houston has seen its fifth 500-year storm in the past five years.

Still, the deputy editor and climate columnist at New York magazine and author of “The Uninhabitable Earth,” thinks there is reason for hope. Governments are taking action. People are much more aware of the problem. And they’re demanding change.

“At what speed we will make those choices is very much an open question even though public opinion is incredibly on the side of climate action, our politics and more particularly, our policy, doesn’t yet reflect it,” Wallace-Wells said. “We need to move even faster, even more urgently and the time to do that is now.”

A panel of FIU experts featuring environmental anthropologist Simone Athayde, Institute of Environment Director Todd Crowl, public administration expert Emel Ganapati, geographer Kevin Grove, political scientist Sara Moats, environmental economist Pallab Mozumder and Biological Sciences Chairman Steve Oberbauer joined Wallace-Wells for a discussion on the global and local impacts of climate change. FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg, Green School Dean John Stack and Arts, Sciences & Education Dean Mike Heithaus provided welcome remarks. Mireya Mayor, director of the Science Communication Initiative in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education, moderated the panel discussion.