Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vatican Official to Speak at STU's First International Conference on Climate Change

Business leaders, innovators, leading experts, and academics will gather at St. Thomas University (STU) during its first international conference on climate, nature and society taking place Feb. 18-19. The two-day conference, spearheaded by STU’s Institute for Bioethics, will tackle the science and social impact of global climate change with talks from leading experts in the field.

Pope Francis's right-hand man on climate change, and President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson, will be at the conference speaking about our social responsibility to mobilize and curb climate change. Cardinal Turkson, who helped draft the eco-encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home,” will also be participating in panel discussions and Q&A sessions during the two days.

Laudato Si’ is the first papal encyclical in the 2,000 year history of the Catholic Church devoted solely to environmental issues highlighting the crisis posed by climate change, and our collective responsibility to pass along a clean and safe planet to future generations.

Father Alfred Cioffi, the Florida Blue endowed chair in bioethics and director of STU’s Institute for Bioethics, said he hopes this conference educates, but more importantly, unleashes actions and ideas to curb global climate change.

“Because we now have the capacity to destroy the environment – a capacity we’ve only begun to see on a global scale in the past three to four decades – we also have a new responsibility to care for it and prevent its destruction,” said Father Cioffi.

On Thursday, Feb. 18, speakers will be addressing what is scientifically known regarding global climate change. Speakers and their lecture topics include:
  • Dr. Richard Muller, astrophysicist from the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Berkeley Earth Institute. Muller will be discussing the big picture on climate change.
  • Dr. John Van Leer, physical oceanographer at University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Van Leer will be addressing the physical, chemical and geological aspects of climate change regarding the world’s oceans.
  • Dr. Chris Langdon, marine biologist at University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Langdon will be addressing oceanic biological and ecological effects of climate change.

On Friday, Feb. 19, speakers will be delivering keynote talks examining the potential social impact of global climate change. Speakers include:
  • Dr. Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, computational social scientist at George Mason University. Cioffi-Revilla will talk about the dynamic interaction between natural and social complexities.
  • Greg Hamra, South Florida entrepreneur, sustainability educator and environmental activist. Hamra will be discussing the socio-political and economic impacts of climate change.
  • Cardinal Peter Turkson, who will be addressing the role of human social conscience in our time.
While general admission costs $60 for both days and includes lunch, admission is free for full-time students presenting a photo ID.
For more information and details on the schedule of events, please visit: www.stu.edu/climateconference

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