Social Justice Calendar
Community Forum on Climate Change
Sponsored by Community Forum, Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Friday, April 12, 2013
3327 Old Conejo Road, Newbury Park, CA
A Cal State Channel Islands educator will draw upon his research, travels and teaching to discuss why there is so much confusion about global warming at a Community Forum in Newbury Park on Friday, April 12. Brian Rasnow, who holds a Ph.D. in physics from Caltech and studied neurobiology there, teaches biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy and other classes as a lecturer at Cal State Channel Islands. He says science tells him that climate change and global warming pose the biggest threat that humanity faces. But in polling his students, he found that half believe global warming is a hoax, and a Gallup Poll released last month reported that 42 percent of Americans think the media exaggerate the seriousness of global warming. Rasnow will lay out what science has learned about global warming and the aspects of cognitive psychology that make it hard for people to wrap their minds around the threat. He will speak at the 7:30 p.m. forum at the Conejo Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, where he is a member. A moderated discussion will follow. Rasnow says the architecture of the human brain, honed by evolution, is attuned to react to the most subtle of imminent physical threats. But the brain is not as well suited to respond emotionally to the gradually emerging threats of global warming, understood through abstract thinking about complicated concepts, he says. “The problem in a nutshell is not a problem of chemistry or a problem of atmospheric science,” he said in advance of the presentation. “It’s a problem of people and how we change our behaviors. How can we be sensitized to very real threats that are unconventional?” In his presentation, Rasnow will tell how he arrived at his conclusions about global warming and what the prospects are to deal with its likely consequences. “If we ignore our cognitive psychology we won’t be able to understand and resolve a great deal of this problem,” Rasnow said. Rasnow will also share perspectives from his work over 35 years on issues of ecological justice, from efforts to save tropical rain forests to helping the rural poor in Latin America. He is an organic farmer and an inventor who co- founded Etaluma, a company that seeks to bring inexpensive research-grade microscopes to a wider spectrum of users, including Developing World applications. The Community Forum is free and open to the public; donations will be accepted.
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