On Wednesday, October 19, faculty and researchers from across all of Dartmouth's schools attended the Symposium on Climate, Energy and Society, an all-day opportunity to learn about the breadth and depth of current Dartmouth work on climate and energy ranging from climate change modeling, mitigation and adaptation strategies, messaging, diplomacy, and social and health impacts.
Organized by the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society, the symposium was developed to facilitate cross-campus connections among researchers who are working on related or complementary problems but who may not yet be aware of each other's work. By seeding collaboration in this space, noted Vice-Provost and A and R Newberry Professor of English Barbara Will in her opening remarks, the College can "mobilize resources, academic knowledge, and technical expertise to avoid the worst impacts of climate change" in the critical years to come.
Short Talks on Big Problems
The morning session offered nearly 40 "lightning talks" – three-minute presentations accompanied by two slides — that offered a high-level overview of a researcher project or problem in the climate, energy, and/or health space. Topics ran the gamut of disciplines, from engineering, medicine, environmental studies, earth sciences, policy and more. Over the course of the morning, audience members learned about the role of cyanobacteria in the development of ALS clusters; the problem of relaying climate urgency without cultivating hopelessness; the future of sustainable biofuels; the environmental impact of endoscopic procedures; machine learning in messaging; regenerative agriculture; the importance of working with indigenous communities; financial implications of climate change; and more.
A Range of Approaches
The afternoon sessions featured five longer-form presentations, with faculty members offering 15-minute presentations followed by a five-minute audience Q&A. Featuring faculty from the Earth Sciences, Sociology, Speech, the Tuck School of Business, the Geisel School of Medicine, and the Institute for Artic Studies, these longer talks shone a similarly bright light on the range of disciplinary approaches to the climate crisis.
Just the Beginning
"The breadth of faculty research in climate, energy, and society is truly remarkable," said Irving Institute Executive Director April Salas. "I think the symposium really underscored just how much work is being done around these critical challenges across the disciplines at Dartmouth." And, she noted, "this is just the beginning."
"The climate challenge is urgent and requires sustained, focused, and innovative collaboration, across academic disciplines, industries, governments, and societies. The Irving Institute's role is to operate as a 'big tent,' at Dartmouth, helping connect and convene experts to contribute to global efforts to meet this challenge," said Salas.
In the coming months, the Institute will offer a range of opportunities for Dartmouth faculty to build upon the momentum of the symposium. The newly re-launched Faculty Affiliates Program will provide an on-campus network for researchers in this space; grant-writing and funding workshops and support can help faculty identify and marshal the resources needed to rapidly deploy their solutions; and three strategic research, education, and engagement hubs will provide a flexible and supportive framework for collaborations and innovations and implementations of solutions around climate, energy and society.
"My biggest takeaway from the symposium," said Salas, "is how clear it is that Dartmouth is a climate and energy powerhouse. Incredible work is being done, and the Institute is so excited to be a part of catalyzing, supporting, and amplifying that work."
You can find a complete list of talk titles and presenters at the Dartmouth Symposium for Climate, Energy and Society here.
A recording of many of the day's presentations is available here.