Special Lectures

Drop in for some of these special events, from lunchtime lectures to focused workshops, and engage with new ideas or pick up unique skills.

Can't make it in person? Watch live with Vimeo Livestream. Look for the Vimeo logo and "Watch" links.

Feed Your Brain

Feed Your Brain — Lunchtime Enlightenment

Sunday, 22 Sept., noon–1:30 p.m.

Donald Siegel

I speak to climate disruption, a sweeping self-inflicted tragedy of the commons for humanity. It is improbable, if not impossible, that sufficient numbers of developed and undeveloped nations in the future will globally make the necessary economic and political decisions to avoid the worst of predicted climate disruption in the next 20 years. The ability to rapidly adapt to environmental disruptions as they evolve remains our best hope, coupled with successful transition to solar, wind, and modern nuclear energy as best we can. Junior and mid-career Earth Scientists in multiple GSA divisions should have unprecedented opportunities in the future to participate in well-funded large-scale adaptation ventures which necessarily will include multidisciplinary intellectual challenges. You and I, as individuals—indeed ALL geoscientists—have a role to play in these efforts to insure the future of humanity and what environments we choose to protect.

Watch Vimeo

Monday, 23 Sept., 12:15–1:15 p.m.

Scott Tinker

Energy underpins all aspects of modern life, and the lack of energy inhibits over 2.5 billion people from entering into modern life. Although many of us have strong opinions and beliefs, we really don’t understand energy. Are there actually clean and dirty options? Are some forms good and others bad? What kinds of energy will actually address climate change globally and at scale? What are the options to lift 1/3 of the world from energy poverty and the impacts of doing so? What is the “energy transition” and can it happen quickly? What are the unintended consequences of well-intended energy policies? How do we become educated enough to participate in meaningful, non-partisan, fact-based, and civil dialogs about energy?

That is the vision of the Switch Energy Alliance (SEA), a non-profit whose mission is to inspire an energy-educated future. Building on the global energy film Switch—viewed in over 50 countries by 15 million people and on thousands of campuses—SEA develops world class film and serves it via state-of-the-art web delivery. SEA has programs that reach K-12, higher education, professionals, and the public.

Join this Feed Your Brain session to see a clip from the new feature-length film Switch On, which travels the globe immersing in energy poverty and examining workable solutions. Hear Dr. Scott Tinker give a short talk on energy, carbon and poverty. And then engage in a meaningful conversation about how to frame the energy challenges and work together to move the dialog forward in a positive, outcome-based way.

Tuesday, 24 Sept., 12:15–1:15 p.m.

Katharine Hayhoe
Credit: Artie Limmer

For generations, human civilization has been building a climate debt, borrowing from the stability of the future to power the economic growth of the present. Through fossil fuel combustion and land use change we have disrupted the carbon cycle, overwhelming the influence of natural forcing on Earth's climate. As heat accumulates in the climate system, it drives long-term increases in temperature and sea level, and super-charges hurricanes, heat waves, and heavy precipitation events. These changes in turn exacerbate poverty, hunger, disease, refugee crises and more. Today, the choice is stark: can we do what it takes to avoid widespread dangerous change? Or will we remain mired in inaction until the full cost of this unprecedented experiment we’re conducting with our planet falls due?

Watch Vimeo

Wednesday, 25 Sept., 12:15–1:15 p.m.

Meghan Kish

Joining Meghan Kish for a panel discussion will be Don Weeks, Limaris Soto, and Amanda Lanik.

Beyond their draw as popular areas for recreation and the enjoyment of nature, the National Parks offer numerous opportunities to inspire and advance careers in the STEM fields – especially those areas pertaining to the Earth sciences and the environment. The National Parks offer ideal settings to observe Earth processes, including geologic and environmental responses to anthropogenic influences. For example, matters of global concern currently being evaluated and managed by the NPS include climate disruption impacts, water quantity and quality issues, stresses to the native ecosystems, and the management of resources exclusively set aside for the public. The NPS plays a crucial role in conveying these important issues to a larger audience and inspiring the next generation of scientific researchers who can address them. NPS collaborations with other organizations can enhance STEM interest and promote careers in STEM fields such as geology and environmental science. The Geological Society of America has an excellent partnership with the NPS through its Geoscientists-In-The Park intern program, which offers a number of opportunities for student members to garner practical experience while working on projects overseen by NPS staff. These interns conduct scientific research, develop exhibits to enhance the visitor experience, and serve as interpreters to the public. In 2018 the GSA awarded Ms. Behnaz Hosseini, a geoscience technician at Yellowstone National Park, an E-An Zen Outreach Grant to support her efforts to educate the public on hydrothermal systems through the hands on use of thermal imaging technology. The National Parks provide vast opportunities to learn science, enhance STEM literacy, and inspire science careers, however, there are challenges. Funding and staffing issues, park maintenance –particularly finding resources for future improvements and innovations, can limit the educational engagement that the NPS seeks to inspire. One solution is to increase partnerships with corporate entities, museums, colleges and universities.

Meghan Kish, the current superintendent for the Southern Arizona Office of the National Park Service, will be offering a noon-time session that focuses on how the National Parks, in collaboration with industry, academia, and other scientific organizations can serve to stimulate greater interest in STEM learning and careers in the National Parks. There will be a panel to include colleagues from across the service who have participated in or managed National Park STEM programs. The panel will engage the audience in discussions relating to the challenges the Park Service has in terms of promoting STEM and the environment, and what it does, and will do, to improve and enhance positive outcomes.

Watch Vimeo