October Al Stone lecture centers on climate change

Category:  News
Friday, October 25th, 2019 at 10:56 AM
October Al Stone lecture centers on climate change by Madi Gross
Photo: Pexels.com

On Thursday, Oct. 17, members of the community gathered in the basement of Diebold Center for the Performing Arts for another entry of the Al Stone Lecture Series. In this series, guest speakers are brought in to talk about various subjects.

John Vanco presented on “Climate Change.”

According to the Al Stone Lecture Series press release, Vanco led the Erie Art Museum for 49 years. He has also been the artistic director of the Erie Blues and Jazz Festival for 27 years.

He began the lecture by touching on what climate change is. He then went further on how climate change is affecting our world today.
“This is a big, big, big topic today,” began Vanco.

He continued: “There’s this concept which is coming into our consciousness: existential threats, these are things that threaten our existence.”
There are natural existential threats to be considered such as an asteroid and super volcanoes. The speaker explained that it is commonly thought that there is nothing we can do about existential threats.

“That’s not true. We can do something about all of these,” Vanco said. “The biggest one, the one that we have to do something about — if we want to survive as a species — is climate change.”

He explained the basics of greenhouse gasses and how they affect global warming, along with how we have contributed to the extra amount of greenhouse gasses.

Vanco then stated how close both the atmosphere and troposphere are to our planet and just how fragile the atmosphere truly is.
According to him, many people view the atmosphere as almost a suit of armor for the Earth, but in reality, it is much thinner than that.
“It’s not a comforter,” Vanco stated.

He then pulled up a picture of an apple and explained that if the apple was to grow to the size of the Earth, the skin of the apple would still be thicker than the actual atmosphere is on our planet.

“So, the atmosphere is not a blanket, let alone a comforter. It’s not even a sheet, it’s a film. The atmosphere is a film on the surface of the Earth,” he explained.

He went on to state that we, as humans, are part of the overall problem of climate change, touching on the history of and the effects climate change is having all over the world today. He used a PowerPoint to provide visuals for his audience, and he explained concepts as he moved through them.

Vanco listed off many statistics throughout his presentation that led to many wide eyes. One of these included: “The prediction is that if we continue to salt on the roads at the current rate...in 40 years most of our streams will not be able to support the species that they now support.”
Many images shown were of disasters: flooding, melting ice in the Antarctic areas, and wildfires. Vanco also explained that climate change can be seen in our everyday weather, noting the temperatures that various areas of the planet have reached in the last handful of years have been record-breaking.

This lecture was the second to last of the semester. The last will take place on Oct. 24 at 9:30 a.m. and will welcome speaker Don Sheehy.
The series plans to continue next semester but will move locations to Alexander Hall.

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