Countdown to Climate Catastrophe: Who Must Lead?

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Thursday, November 29, 2018 -

6:00pm to 7:30pm

Franklin Hall
Room 340 (FirstEnergy Auditorium)

The forecast is ominous.

In October 2018, the United Nations issued an urgent warning of impending climate change devastation if we do not significantly limit climate change within the next 12 years. The UN forecasts include worsening droughts, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

What is the threat? How can we take action to counter it? When the climate of the world is at stake, who should take the lead?

Please join us for a student-led discussion on the fate of our planet's climate and the roles we play in protecting the future of Earth with the following panelists.

Andrew Boateng is a senior geospatial analyst with the Davey Resource Group and a research assistant through a co-op with Kent State University. He is also an integral member in the development of Davey’s innovative solutions and the ad hoc committee – Kent Sustainability Commission, responsible for the creation of the City of Kent, Ohio, Climate Action Plan. Mr. Boateng was involved in the preparation of Ghana’s Climate Action Plan as part of the Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Also, he tutored Geography of Cultural Diversity at the University of Akron.

He is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in geography at Kent State with a dissertation focused on climate change mitigation. He received a Master of Arts degree in geography and urban planning and a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography and resource development, and philosophy from the University of Akron and the University of Ghana, respectively. He is a mentor with Life Builders and Character Development Program in collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and a soccer coach with Akron Inner City Soccer Club. He is also affiliated with the American Planners Association and the Urban Regional System Association.

Audra Gormley is a senior public relations major working for the University Communications and Marketing department as a PR intern for Flash Communications. She is also involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America here at Kent (PRSSA Kent). Currently, she holds a social media internship with the St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.

As a PR major, she believes it is important to uphold ethics in the workplace where spin and lies can be easy to come across. So, when talking about sustainable business practices, she has a special focus on making sure the organizations where she works are doing their best to reduce their negative impact on the earth. In the future, she hopes to work in environmental sectors of PR and social media. She also hopes to go to graduate school for sustainability or graphic design.

Michaela Judy is a senior business management major, human resources management minor and professional sales certificate candidate in the College of Business Administration at Kent State. She is a member of the Business Professionals’ Roundtable Organization, a student advisory board within the college of business. She is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the National Society of Leadership and Success. She currently runs her own startup company, focusing on military combat uniforms. In her startup company, she is finding ways of incorporating sustainability practices into her organizational framework as well as in her products.

Jessica Saralino is the current president of Net Impact, a sustainable business organization on campus. She is also the community service chair of the Business Professionals’ Roundtable. She completed her first Bachelor of Science degree in zoology and is now working on her second in environmental policy with a minor in sustainability.

She believes that though climate change is real and scary, young people may not know enough about it to become motivated to generate the change necessary to mitigate carbon emissions by 2030. In the future, she aspires to advise cities on sustainable initiatives and gain enough experience to run for political office. There, she hopes to advise the federal government on sustainability and climate change.

Erik T. Smith is currently a Ph.D. student at Kent State and works as a research assistant in the Department of Geography. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology and a master’s degree in climatology. His research focuses on interactions between the Arctic and mid-latitudes, how these interactions change through time and the resultant impacts on humans. He is also interested in improving climate-change related communication, particularly regarding the partisan divide on anthropogenic climate change. 

In the past, he worked as a forecaster at the Yellowberri Weather and Consulting Company in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he issued forecasts for the Warren County area, maintained the blog, gave school talks, assisted with NWS storm surveys and provided live updates during extreme weather events. He also worked as a climatologist intern at the Midwestern Regional Climate Center in Champaign, Illinois, where he managed the Service Climatologist office and assisted in the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index project (AWSSI).

Daniel Henderson will be the moderator.