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Making Waves and Bringing Hope: Our Role in Charting the Future of the Ocean

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
5:30 – 7 p.m.
Flom Auditorium, Walsh Library
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
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Sapientia et Doctrina Lecture Series

Unprecedented changes in the ocean due to human activities on land and in the ocean present significant challenges to sustainability. Reports worldwide of collapsing fisheries, dead zones, acidification, coral bleaching and plastic pollution paint a grim picture of an ocean in jeopardy. As we ponder possible solutions, ethical dilemmas abound, including debates about intrinsic rights of nature versus utilitarian uses of nature for people and considerations of whether policies should benefit people of today or tomorrow. The good news is that innovative solutions to these challenges are bubbling up around the world. Community-driven, holistic, and science-based efforts are providing new hope to energize tackling these big, wicked problems. A major question is whether these solutions can be replicated and scaled to the point where they are globally impactful. What lessons can we learn from efforts to date? What are the enabling conditions for these solutions to become the norm? Can they work in light of climate change and ocean acidification? How do ethical issues guide the answers? This talk will address these and other questions in a discussion of how holistic and ethical approaches can bring hope for ocean sustainability.

Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., a University Distinguished Professor at Oregon State University, is a marine ecologist with expertise in the ocean, climate change, and interactions between the environment and human well- being. She served as undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of President Barack Obama’s Science Team (2009–2013), and as the first U.S. science envoy for the ocean, a pro bono position with the State Department (2014–2016). Lubchenco, who earned her Ph.D. in ecology from Harvard University, is one of the most highly cited ecologists in the world—eight of her publications are considered Science Citation Classics. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences among other distinguished academies. She has also received numerous awards, including 20 honorary doctorates and the Public Welfare Medal, the highest honor given by the National Academy of Sciences. Lubchenco co-founded three organizations that train scientists to be better communicators and engage more effectively with the public, policy makers, media, and industry: the Leopold Leadership Program, COMPASS, and Climate Central. She is passionate about scientists engaging with citizens to create knowledge and craft durable solutions to enable vibrant communities, strong economies, and a healthy planet.