Spring Events


Naomi Oreskes
The Scientific Consensus On Climate Change:
How Do We Know We're Not Wrong?

Thursday, April 17th, 2014
4 p.m., Viking Union MPR

Her latest book, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, details how the dangers of many issues in science have been masked by “scientific” efforts to confuse the public and our policy leaders. “Naomi Oreskes has demonstrated what many of us have long suspected: that the ‘debate’ over the climate crisis--and many other environmental issues—was manufactured by the same people who brought you ‘safe cigarettes.’ “Anyone concerned about the state of democracy in America should read her book,” claims Al Gore.

Additionally, Oreskes has, for the past 20 years, studied the process of consensus and dissent in science: How do scientists decide when a fact is “established?” How do they judge how much evidence is sufficient to deem something scientifically demonstrated? And what happens when scientists can’t agree? Her work on climate science has been widely reviewed in the media and her expertise has been called on by the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board and the California State Senate.

Once working herself as a geologist for a mining company in Australia, Oreskes has become a world renowned expert on the history of science. She has received the Francis Bacon Award in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology and was a Teacher of the Year finalist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Recently, she also served as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was awarded the Lindgren Prize from the Society of Economic Geologists.

This program is made possible by the generous support of Western Reads, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, The Ethics Initiative, and the College of Sciences & Technology.


Western Reads Presents: Bill McKibben

Saturday, May 17th, 2014
3 p.m., PAC Main Stage

350: The Most Important Number in the World

In the summer of 2007, Arctic ice began to melt far more rapidly than scientists had expected. Before the season was out, they'd begun to conclude that the earth was already moving past tipping points -- that indicators, from the thawing of glaciers to the spread of droughts, showed global warming was a present crisis, not a future threat. Our leading climatologists even gave us a number for the red line: 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere. That's a tough number, since we're already past it.

Bill McKibben describes not only the science of the situation, but also the inspiring global movement that he's led to help change the world's understanding of its peril, and spur the reforms necessary to get the planet back to safety. The first big global grassroots effort to involve people from every nation, McKibben's 350.org has crossed the boundaries of language and faith, and even the great gulf between rich and poor. It's become a vibrant, powerful movement for real change, and the basis for an utterly fascinating and necessary talk.

Bill McKibben is one of America's best-known environmentalists. He has written books that, over the last quarter century, have shaped public perception--and public action--on climate change, alternative energy, and the need for more localized economies. McKibben is the founder of 350.org, the first large global grassroots climate change initiative.

McKibben's seminal books include The End of Nature, widely seen as the first book on climate change for a general audience, and Deep Economy, a bold challenge to move beyond "growth" as the paramount economic ideal and to pursue prosperity in a more local direction -- an idea that is the cornerstone of much sustainability discourse today. A former New Yorker staff writer and Guggenheim Fellow, he writes for various magazines, including Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, National Geographic and The New York Review of Books.

Tickets available at the Western Box Office April 1 2014
$10 WWU students, $12 general admission

This program is make possible by the generous support of Western Reads, the Institute for Energy Studies, Huxley College of the Environment, and North Cascades Institute.

Check back for updates and additional information about events taking place at WWU and in the Bellingham community.

Page Updated 03.28.2014