The 2014 Bahá'í Chair for World Peace Second Spring Symposium
The 2014 Bahá'I Chair for World Peace Second Spring Symposium is the first in a series on Overcoming Challenges in Globalization of the Environment and is co-sponsored by the Program for Society and the Environment.
The distinguished panel of speakers:
Dr. Patricia Romero-Lankao
Interdisciplinary Sociologist and Research Scientist
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
"Urbanization and climate change: what are the threats and the opportunities to overcome them?"
Currently, the world faces a dangerous threat. Fueled by two powerful, human-induced forces that have been unleashed by development and manipulation of the environment in the industrial age, urbanization and climate change are converging in a dangerous synchronicity that will be explored in this presentation. Urban areas, with their high concentrations of populations, industries and infrastructures are both major sources of greenhouse gases and, certainly, hotspots of vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Alongside these threats, however, is an equally compelling set of opportunities that will be explored in this talk. These same concentrations of people, industries, culture and innovations make cities crucibles of innovation, where strategies are catalyzed to promote reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) and to enhance urbanites’ capacities by improving disaster risk management systems, social and economic equity, and empower urbanites to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts (adaptation). Still, urban mitigation and adaptation are faced with challenges that will be briefly discussed.
Dr. Debra Davidson
Associate Professor, Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
"Climate change and food security: What are the linkages, who is at risk, and how can we respond?"
According to the latest Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, climate change impacts on agricultural productivity are already being observed, and projections of future impacts are foreboding, with direct implications for food security. Climate change is by no means the only driver affecting current and future food security, however; food security is affected by population growth, urbanization, poverty, and the structure of our global agri-food systems, among other things. We will untangle this morass of interacting climatic and non-climatic drivers to offer a systemic picture of food security, and identify those people who are most vulnerable. Finally and most importantly, we will discuss response options, highlighting two areas of adaptation in particular: empowering farmers to adopt climate-smart management strategies, and revitalizing urban-regional food systems with innovations in urban agriculture.