University of Minnesota Duluth

Alworth Institute Memorial Lecture Series

Royal D. Alworth, Jr. Memorial Lecture

This annual lecture, named in honor of the late Royal D. Alworth, Jr.'s life and interests, is designed to raise public understanding of a significant international topic.

2014-2015 Royal D. Alworth, Jr. Memorial Lecture

Taking Action: Facing the Challenge of Global Climate Change

Presented by Steve Curwood
Executive Producer and and Host of National Public Radio's, Living on Earth
Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
7:00 p.m.
Bohannon Hall 90, UMD

Steve Curwood's lecture will air on KUMD on October 20, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. In addition, KUWS will
air an interview with Mr. Curwood on an upcoming airing of People of Color with Henry Banks.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently reported that the impact of climate change will be "severe and pervasive" across the globe, and we are ill-prepared to adapt to the changes we already face, not to mention the effects of future global warming. The authors of the report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from Working Group II of the IPCC, call for action to increase sustainability and restore ecosystems. What can we do here in the U.S., and what global efforts should we support? These questions will be examined in the course of the Alworth Institute's year-long programmatic focus on what to do about climate change. In this keynote lecture, Steve Curwood will advocate the fact that our relationship to our environment, and what we do to it, is as important as any other part of our lives. He will address what we can do today to limit climate change and to adapt to our lives given our new environmental realities.

As an African American growing up in a single-mother-led household during the Civil Rights Movement, Curwood had much more on his mind than the environment. "Let the white guys march for the environment," he remembers thinking. By Earth Day 1990 however, when his young son insisted that the environment was the most important issue of the day, Curwood revised his thinking. "Of all the issues Americans marched about in 1970, only the environment has gotten worse. Population has almost doubled since the first Earth Day. Species are going extinct faster and faster. Open space and wilderness are disappearing. Evidence is mounting that pollution not only causes cancer but a host of other disorders, including asthma, heart attacks, immune system breakdowns, reproductive problems, and even criminal behavior," Curwood said on "Living on Earth."

Today "Living on Earth" is aired on more than 300 stations nationwide and is heard in Pacific nations over the Armed Forces Radio Network. It has been awarded the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association, the New York Festivals Award, a CINDY Award, and the National Federation of Community Broadcasters Community Program Awards.

Curwood's relationship with NPR goes back to 1979 when he began working as a reporter and host of "Weekend All Things Considered." He has also worked as a print and television journalist and is the recipient of a shared Pulitzer Prize for Public Service as part of the Boston Globe's education team. He has worked as an editor and reporter for the Bay State Banner and as contributing editor at Black Enterprise magazine and the Boston Phoenix. Curwood is also the recipient of the 2003 Global Greens Award and the 2003 David Brower Award given by the Sierra Club for his creation of "Living on Earth." He also received a 1992 New England Environmental Leadership Award for his work on promoting environmental awareness. The president of the World Media Foundation, Inc., he is also a lecturer in environmental science and public policy at Harvard University.

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