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Humanists, scientists team up to examine climate change

Scientists are not alone in the quest for climate change solutions: Humanists, too, are making important contributions to the problem. On Nov. 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Cornell's A.D. White House, humanists and scientists will join forces to examine some of the issues and implications of climate change in a gathering titled "Climate Change, Critical Thought, Design: A Forum."

"The community at Cornell is in a unique position to address climate change, because we have people working here in so many different areas," says forum organizer Karen Pinkus, professor of Romance studies and comparative literature. "Humanists here are very interested in talking to engineers and scientists about climate change ideas. As humanists, we don't solve problems, but we have a role to play in thinking about the larger context and the broader implications."

The forum will bring together invited guests and members of the Cornell community to discuss a number of key terms, such as sharing/mutualism and recycling, and climate-change designs, from Masdar City in Abu Dhabi as a globalized university campus and zero-carbon utopia to global seed banks and from do-it-yourself flood-relief projects to gleaning (collecting leftover crops). Ideally, the forum will result in future collaborations between the "two cultures."

Cornell participants include Ying Hua, assistant professor of design and environmental analysis; Sheila Danko, the J.T. Clark Professor of Entrepreneurial and Personal Enterprise; and Natalie Mahowald, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences. Other participants include Cameron Tonkinwise, associate dean for sustainability at Parsons The New School for Design; Clive Dilnot, professor of design studies at New York's New School University; Damian F. White, associate professor of sociology at the Rhode Island School of Design; and Alan Stokel, professor of French and comparative literature at Penn State University.

The forum is sponsored by the Society for the Humanities and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

Linda B. Glaser is staff writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.


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