MD – 2015 GSA Annual Meeting, Monday AM

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November 2, 2015 by Dr. G

IMG_0684I spent this morning in the Exhibit Hall, an enormous room with 189 booth containing products and information that any geologist could be looking for – textbooks, field equipment (such as waterproof paper and rock hammers), x-ray diffractometers, rock soap, geologic jewelry, and more. In addition to walking around and picking up flyers and information from various organizations, I volunteered for two hours to represent the Council on Undergraduate Research – Geoscience Division (GeoCUR). I’ve been an elected councilor for GeoCUR for many years, and this organization has been so critical in my development as a faculty mentor to undergraduate student researchers. It is important to me to give my time back to an organization that has given me such a foundation for my career.

Here are other photos from the rows and rows of exhibits, as well as the booths of universities that were promoting their graduate programs in the geosciences (these were very popular rows for undergraduate students to go through and explore graduate program opportunities!).

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IMG_0701For lunch, I purchased a ticket to attend a lunchtime keynote given by James Hansen (Columbia University – Earth Institute). Titled “Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise & Superstorms: Finding a Realistic Pathway to Clean Energy and Stable Climate,” Dr. Hansen had much to say on this topic – here are some of the highlights I made note of:

  • Today’s emissions are not causing climate change, the change is due to the cumulative emissions over time
  • Emissions are going up rapidly in China and India, mostly due to coal – we need better energy sources
  • We have an emergency with the climate system
  • Climate impacts have resulted in species extermination, ice sheet disintegration, and climate extremes
  • Dr. Hansen believes that the Paris Conference (this Nov/Dec) is “certain to be ineffectual”
  • Problems and solutions include: fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, regulations also required, and technology development needed
  • We are currently engaged in intergenerational injustice – “Our parents did not know that their actions could harm future generations. We will only be able to pretend that we did not know.”

And Dr. Hansen ended his talk with one suggestion I have heard at just about every conference this year – read the book/watch the movie of Merchants of Doubt.

My afternoon was filled with additional meetings at the GSA meeting – stay tuned for the summaries!

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