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Texas state climatologist to speak at Marfa Dialogues

August 23rd, 2012 under Arts

By CORY W. LOVELL

As a part of the upcoming Marfa Dialogues symposium on climate change hosted by Ballroom Marfa and The Washington Spectator, Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon will speak at the Crowley Theater.

Discussion: Climate Change and Adapting Environments with Nielsen-Gammon and Diana Liverman (University of Arizona Institute of the Environment) will be held at 3pm on Saturday, September 1 at the Crowley Theater.

Nielsen-Gammon was appointed to the position in 2000, simultaneously assuming the role of professor of Meteorology at Texas A&M University.  With the increasing attention to the climate change debate and challenges faced by one of the worst droughts in recent state history, Nielsen-Gammon has had his work cut out for him.

“At first the job occupied about 5-10 percent of my work time. Now, with a high level of concern throughout the state about the drought and water supplies, it’s more like 50 percent, but meanwhile the rest of my job hasn’t shrunk to make up for it!”

Nielsen-Gammon brings a refreshingly unbiased and fact-based perspective to the discussion of climate change and its myriad effects on the local community.

“My mission is to help Texans make the best possible use of climate information.  If I stake out a political position, then instantly half of my potential audience is inaccessible to me… I have to focus on adaptation.”

The philosophical quandaries of environmental adaptation will be the focus of his discussion.

“I started thinking seriously about this in the context of discussion of restoration of the Rio Grande riparian ecosystem” Nielsen-Gammon explained.

“Do you restore it to its natural state? Which natural state? Do you plan for a future climate-changed state by trying to maintain the current ecosystem or trying to encourage the establishment of a new ecosystem suitable for the future climate?”

The Marfa Dialogues symposium will be held Friday, August 31 through Sunday, September 2.

All events relating to Marfa Dialogues are free and open to the community.

Please visit www.ballroommarfa.org for a full schedule of events.

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