By Jeffery Bash
Ray Beiersdorfer, professor of geological and environmental sciences at Youngstown State University, has chosen a diverse field of speakers to discuss the importance of environmental efficiency for his spring 2016 lecture series on energy and the environment.
The series has been running since 2012, and previous talks have invited an array of political and societal figures to give lectures on the environment and provide knowledge for those interested in helping prevent global warming. This semester is no different.
“This is the most diverse lecture series of the four; I have scientists, medical doctors and even priests speaking on the topic,” Beiersdorfer said.
The lecture series covers a wide range of issues from the sustainability of fossil fuels to the threats of global warming and even the potential dangers of fracking. The James Dale Ethics Center has helped Beiersdorfer collect a wider and stronger series of speakers.
Allowing lecturers to hold conferences via Skype has also helped Beiersdorfer attract speakers.
“If I wanted to just have Dr. [Richard] Wolff and Chris Hedges speak here for these events, it would have cost around $10k apiece,” Beiersdorfer said.
Richard Wolff is an economics professor at the New School in New York, and Chris Hedges is a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and an activist.
“Asking these professionals for just a little bit of their time from the comfort of their home gives us a special opportunity,” Beiersdorfer said.
Last week, Patricia DeMarco, a professor from Carnegie Mellon University, spoke about the pathway to a sustainable future. DeMarco, who has authored the book “Halfway to Our Sustainable Future,” lectured on environmental sustainability, green energy and the politics to move society forward.
“It’s important to be informed about decisions that affect your future. This is the most critical issue of your time,” DeMarco said.
She urged students to involve themselves in the fight for a sustainable future.
“Students are tremendous stakeholders, and it’s their future that is involved,” DeMarco said. “Those same futures are being determined by individuals in office who may not have their best interest.”
DeMarco said democracy is not a passive sport.
Chad Torres, a YSU freshman, said he enjoyed the lecture.
“I was invited to attend, but decided to attend more for my own curiosity on the subject,” Torres said.
Torres said he plans to attend the upcoming functions.
“I made sure to get registered on an email list and keep informed about future lectures in the series,” Torres said.
He said DeMarco made the topic approachable.
“The speaker was able to make a technical topic more understandable for people who are not completely invested in science,” Torres said.