Unity College forum to examine ‘disruptive ideas’ on climate

Comparisons of intellectuals’ views on climate change examined in Fishbowl colloquium series

UNITY, Maine – Prominent public intellectuals and their views on climate change will form the basis for the next talk in the Fishbowl colloquium series at Unity College.

Dr. Matthew C. Nisbet of Northeastern University will present “Disruptive Ideas: Public Intellectuals and their Arguments for Action on Climate Change,” 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, April 21, in Room 204 of the Student Activities Center Parsons Wing at Unity College, 90 Quaker Hill Road in Unity. The talk includes free lunch and a coffee discussion in the student center immediately after the discussion.

Drawing from a recently published paper, this presentation evaluates the contrasting world views and arguments of prominent public intellectuals urging societal action to address climate change.

Popular writers and authors such as Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Jeffrey Sachs, Al Gore, and Andrew Revkin each tend to emphasize a unique discourse about climate change, reflecting diverging views of society, nature, technology, policy, and politics.

By reflecting on these differences and their implications, we can usefully think through the many ways that our own biases shape how we perceive the political conflict over climate change, who we blame, and what we prefer to be done.

The goal of the talk is not to choose among competing perspectives, but to constructively grapple with their tensions and uncertainties. Through this process, we can hold our own convictions and opinions more lightly, identifying what is of value among the ideas offered by those on the left, right, and in the center.

Dr. Nisbet is Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Affiliate Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. He is a Senior Editor at Oxford University Press’ Research Encyclopedia Climate Science and “The Age of Us” columnist at The Conversation.

Nisbet studies the role of communication, media, and public opinion in debates over science, technology, and the environment.

The author of more than 70 peer-reviewed studies, scholarly book chapters, and reports, at Northeastern University he teaches courses in Environmental and Risk Communication and Health Communication. Nisbet holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Communication from Cornell University and a BA in Government from Dartmouth College. He has served previously on the faculty at American University and The Ohio State University.

Unity Fishbowl Talks is a colloquium series for Unity College faculty and invited outside speakers to discuss ideas on pedagogy and to present their scholarly work.

About Unity College
Unity College proudly celebrates its 50th year in 2015. The first institution of higher education in the nation to divest from fossil fuel investments, Unity is committed to educating the next generation of environmental professionals. Sustainability science lies at the heart of its educational mission, with 16 environmentally focused undergraduate majors offered on campus, and launching online graduate degrees in Fall 2015. For more information, visit unity.edu.

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