On Monday, September 21, the Academy marked Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia with a special forum, Climate Change: A New Dialogue.
The forum, in response to Pope Francis’ call for a “new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet,” brought together environmental advocates, scientists, and community members for a critical conversation about climate change and the future.
The panel of prominent thought leaders featured keynote speaker Jeffrey D. Sachs, a leading advisor to the Vatican on climate change and sustainable development. Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Sachs is the 2015 co-recipient of the Blue Planet Prize, the highest international prize for environmental sustainability. He is widely considered to be the world’s leading expert on economic development and the fight against poverty.
For the panel discussion, Sachs was be joined by Michael Oppenheimer, a highly respected climate change researcher at Princeton University and science advisor to the Environmental Defense Fund; Jacqui Patterson, director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program and coordinator and co-founder of Women of Color United; and Katherine Gajewski, who heads the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability and is responsible for implementing the City’s pioneering Greenworks plan. Shannon Márquez, director of Global Public Health Initiatives at Drexel University, served as the panel’s moderator.
Since its founding in 1812, the Academy has explored the remarkable diversity of our natural world. Our scientists have built a collection of 18 million specimens that record the diversity of life on Earth and preserve a long-term record of environmental change.
Today, Academy scientists focus on critical global issues in biodiversity, evolution, and environmental science, from sampling wild bird populations in Vietnam for emerging diseases such as avian influenza and measuring the impacts of climate change in Mongolia to studying the health of our local watersheds. We regularly advise local, regional, and national-level managers and policymakers on how environmental science can be used to help guide future land and water use. Our research efforts also enable us to provide accurate, real-time scientific information to the public on environmental and sustainability matters.
Read the Academy’s climate change op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer from September, 23, 2015: “Papal visit helps bring climate message home”
Video from the Event