Mount Union Professors Discuss Climate Change with Community

July 24, 2017

ALLIANCE – Three University of Mount Union professors presented at an engaging panel discussing climate change with the Alliance community in May.

Dr. Shehla Arif, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Jennifer Martin, assistant professor of education and Dr. Lori Kumler, assistant professor of political science and international studies, discussed the topic from each of their respective areas.

Arif began the night’s presentation with some scientific background on what global warming is, how it occurs, and what it means for the world. During her presentation, Arif introduced the term “Climate Justice” to refer to issues relating to climate change that have social as well as environmental ramifications. At the end of her presentation, Arif also discussed some potential solutions to prevent and even reverse the effects of global warming and addressed the current devaluing of the scientific community when it comes to global warming.

“It’s really unfortunate that this denial is going on,” Arif said. “…if you demand it, things will change.”

After Arif’s portion of the presentation, Martin began her segment by switching gears to talk about a “different kind of climate change and a different kind of environment,” referring to the current political and social climate.

Martin spoke from the point of view of an educator, talking about what she has seen and noticed in the schools while leading training sessions and working on her recently published book. Martin also expressed her worries about “how difficult social justice will become in this new climate of instability.” She concluded with a short video about culture (or brand) jamming as a way to affect political change, ending the presentation positively.

Kumler finished the presentation by looking at global warming from a social science point of view and discussed the policy surrounding climate change. She began with the various terminology surrounding the issue, including the differences between climate and weather by describing weather as what a person is wearing versus climate being what a person’s closet looks like, and the differences in meaning and use of the terms climate change and global warming.

Kumler also broke down the different levels of government and the effects that they can have on climate change policies. She finished by discussing the effects that collective action can have on policy, as well as the need to discuss issues like climate change within the social sciences.

“We don’t teach or talk about collective action,” Kumler said, “but it is important that we do.”

The presentation wrapped up with an open discussion between the attendees and the three Mount Union faculty members, giving community members the opportunity to ask questions and offer up their own thoughts and advice on the topics at hand.

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