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USF global sustainability conference to draw leading scientists

The University of South Florida will introduce its new School of Global Sustainability with its first major conference Thursday and Friday.

Some of the world's leading researchers in climate change, the environment and health will lead discussions on the future of the planet and its inhabitants.

All events — which will be powered through the purchase of renewable energy and whose carbon impact will be offset — will be held in the Oval Theater at the Marshall Student Center. The program is free and open to the public.

The conference program will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday with a presentation from Ohio State University researcher Lonnie Thompson, whose studies on retreating glaciers and the demise of the famed snows of Mount Kilimanjaro provided some of science's most dramatic evidence of climate change. Thompson, the director of the Byrd Polar Research Center, served as an adviser for the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

Thompson's lecture will be followed by a panel discussion on climate change and rising sea levels featuring USF researchers at 11:30 a.m.

At 2 p.m., Ewha Womans University president Bae-Yong Lee of South Korea will be presented with the President's Global Leadership Award in recognition of her efforts to foster international research, solutions and discussions of issues of global concern.

The day's program will continue with a conversation with Tampa Bay area leaders at 3 p.m. and a faculty panel on local and regional environmental policy at 4.

Friday's events will feature a 10 a.m. lecture by George Luber, an epidemiologist and the associate director for global climate change for the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Luber's research has focused on the health effects of climate change. His lecture will be followed by a faculty panel discussing climate change and health and questions from the audience.

At 2 p.m., Jerry Schnoor, co-director of global and regional environmental research at the University of Iowa, will discuss his work using mathematical models in science policy decisions and the use of plants to clean the environment. A panel of USF researchers who study environmental issues will conclude with an audience discussion.

The event is the first major conference sponsored by USF's new School of Global Sustainability, the first of its kind in the nation designed to take a global perspective on sustainability. It will admit its first students this year.

Also attending the conference will be representatives from USF's global academic partners: Nankai University, China; University of Exeter, U.K.; and University of Ghana and University of the Cape Coast in Ghana.

The public is invited to attend, but seating is limited. RSVP to skay@usf.edu or (813) 974-5534.

USF global sustainability conference to draw leading scientists 02/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 3:42pm]
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