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UW Symposium Focuses on Climate Change, Wyoming Energy Issues

January 24, 2008

The potential impacts of climate change in the Rocky Mountain region and their connection with energy-related opportunities in Wyoming will be key points of discussion Thursday, Jan. 31, at a University of Wyoming symposium.

The free symposium is the second in a series of events presented by the UW Climate Change Committee (C3), a faculty group that works with the UW Research Office and the Office of the President to coordinate a campus-wide initiative on climate change. There will be a student-led kickoff event on Wednesday, Jan. 30, in the Wyoming Union Gardens. All of the other symposium events will take place in the east and center sections of the Wyoming Union ballroom. The day concludes with a "World Cafe" dinner and group discussion from 7-9:30 p.m., for which a limited number of free tickets will be available at the other sessions.

"The first symposium, held Nov. 1 of last year, introduced the issue of climate change as a global problem with international solutions. This symposium will engage the problems and opportunities of climate change at the national and state levels," says Sarah Strauss, C3 co-chair and professor in the UW Department of anthropology.

She adds, "This event is coordinated with more than 1,200 other universities and institutions across the country that are participating in a movement called ‘Focus the Nation.' The goal of this national effort is to educate the public about significant aspects of climate change, with special attention to ways that we can mitigate and adapt to anticipated environmental changes at a national and state level."

The symposium opens at 12:30 p.m. with a panel discussion featuring Mary Byrnes, Wyoming Public Service Commission; Gary Collins, Wyoming Governor's Office, Arapaho Tribal Liaison; Mike Purcell, Wyoming Water Development Commission; Rob Hurless, Wyoming Governor's Office, Energy and Telecommunications adviser; and John Corra, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

At 2:30 p.m., Denise Stephenson Hawk of the National Center for Atmospheric Research will present "Climate Change and its Sphere of Influence: Pathways to Societal Resilience."

A 4:30 p.m. workshop on lobbying skills, led by Sarah Gorin of the Equality State Policy Center, will be followed at 6 p.m. with another keynote presentation titled "Climate Change in the Rockies: Global Problems, Homegrown Solutions," by Michelle Nijhuis, a freelance journalist and contributing editor for the High Country News in Colorado.

A symposium launch party, featuring free food and live music from the bluegrass band "Head to the Hills," is Wednesday, Jan. 30, in the Wyoming Union Gardens. A live, interactive webcast of "The 2 Percent Solution," hosted by actor and clean energy advocate Edward Norton, begins at 6 p.m.

The symposium is sponsored by the UW Office of the President, School of Energy Resources, Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering and Applied Science, Health Sciences, Agriculture and various UW departments.

For more information, call Strauss at (307) 766-5310 or e-mail

For more information on the "Focus the Nation" movement, go to the Web site at 

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