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Gore-trained ‘climate change reality leader’ to speak at site

Jennifer Sprouse • Jan 27, 2014 at 10:05 AM

When it comes to extreme weather patterns –– such as the most recent polar vortex, flooding, fires caused by drought and the increasing amount of hurricanes over the past few years –– Dr. Audrey M. Depelteau believes there is a definite connection between the extreme weather and global warming.

Depelteau, director of the East Tennessee State University Innovation Lab, will present “Climate Change: Truth and Consequences, a Global Perspective” during the ETSU and General Shale Natural History Museum and Visitor Center at the Gray Fossil Site’s monthly lecture series Saturday at 1 p.m.

Preparing what she refers to as a general audience presentation, Depelteau said she’ll discuss what climate change is, give a bit of scientific evidence surrounding the global phenomenon and discuss its effects on the environment.

“Ninety-seven to 98 percent of the scientists that are in the field of climate and meteorology — we’re not talking about somebody who’s a psychiatrist, we’re not talking about someone who’s a nurse — we’re talking about people in the field in a research study, took over 12,000 articles from 1991-2011,” she said. “Over those 12,000 articles, the consensus in the scientific realm was 97-98 percent (of them) believed that we as humans contributed to the pollution that is causing some of this global warming at this time.”

Depelteau said she’ll show pictures of global weather phenomenons and give a brief history of the reports and research done on this topic as far back as the industrial revolution.

“I talk about the amount of carbon dioxide that has been put in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution,” she said. “Then I compare a graph to the increase of the carbon dioxide to the increase in temperature. In the past 12 years, we’ve had 10 of the warmest years on record. I give a little bit of background because I guarantee there are going to be deniers in the room and they are the people that don’t believe in the scientific consensus.”

Depelteau, who did graduate work in environmental toxicology at the Center for Environmental Toxicology and Pathology at Albany Medical College and at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, will also discuss how we as a global community can reduce our carbon footprint and reduce climate change.

“I am considered a climate change reality leader. It’s a program that you get trained (in), and one of the days of training we are totally trained by former Vice President Al Gore himself. There’s approximately 6,000 of us from around the globe,” Depelteau said. “If we don’t take care of our planet with the global warming that is occurring, then we’re not going to have a chance to make an impact on these other important issues. As a commitment to be a climate reality leader, my commitment is to do this at the grassroots level, to have people understand so they can make changes.”

Museum Marketing and Publications Manager Jennifer Barber said the speaker series is a free event for the public at the museum the first Saturday of each month.

“We invite different scientists to come and present about various topics,” Barber said. “Sometimes the scientists are from ETSU, sometimes they’re from the community, sometimes they’re visiting researchers. We don’t just keep it to paleontology, but we broaden it for other areas of science, like archaeology, climate change. We’ve had all kinds of interesting topics. We hope it will bring people in the doors who would not normally visit the museum, who may be interested in other aspects of science besides paleontology and we are also doing it just to broaden our horizons.”

The site is open for winter hours Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

For more information, call 439-3659 or visit www.etsu.edu/naturalhistorymuseum.

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