Penn State will host the Climate Solutions Symposium on May 22 and 23 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center. The two-day event will feature plenaries, panel discussions, breakout sessions, an arts and communication session and a poster session, all focused on developing and elevating solutions to climate change.
The event is open to the public, and attendance is available in-person or virtually. The cost to attend is $80 for all attendees except students, who can attend at no cost. Registration is now open.
The Climate Solutions Symposium, organized by the Institutes of Energy and the Environment, will provide a unique view into Penn State’s strength in climate science and solutions, highlighting the University’s vast collection of expertise in a wide range of climate-relevant disciplines. It is also a deliberate effort to promote networking and discussion to facilitate the development of new partnerships and projects aimed at solving the climate challenge.
“There are countless opportunities to hear about individual solutions to pieces of the climate challenge, and plenty of places to hear about the problems, but very few opportunities to discuss solutions,” said Erica Smithwick, associate director of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment and one of the organizers of the symposium. “The Climate Solutions Symposium will provide opportunities to talk with collaborators and future partners who might be in other departments, colleges, or sectors about how, by coming together, we can identify tractable and durable solutions, or at least create a sense of shared commitment and pathways for future engagement.”
The symposium themes and breakout sessions will be centered on these topics: arts and communication; built environment; carbon emissions reduction; change and risk; climate security; energy; finance and business; health; justice and ethics; nature-based strategies; policy; and sustainable aviation and responsible travel. PRI associate Brian Thiede, associate professor of rural sociology, sociology, and demography, is leading the Breakout Session: Improving Health Outcomes in a Changing Climate on May 22 at 11 a.m.
The keynote speaker will be Mustafa Santiago Ali, executive vice president of conservation and justice for the National Wildlife Federation, former interim chief of programs at the Union of Concerned Scientists, instructor at American University and the founder and CEO of Revitalization Strategies. His talk is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. on Monday, May 22.
“Starting the symposium with Dr. Ali as the keynote speaker, I believe, will set the tone of the event and inspire attendees,” said Kaitlyn Spangler, a postdoc in the Department of Geography and an organizer of the symposium. “His tireless work and advocacy toward climate justice is both inspiring and contagious and is an invitation for us all to work toward a just and thriving planet."
Additionally, the Climate Solutions Symposium will feature a poster session on research that addresses climate change. It is open to all attendees, and students are highly encouraged to share their research at the symposium. All posters are welcome, including those used at past events.
“We have over 300 scientists and countless students actively working on climate solutions across Penn State’s network of colleges and campuses,” Smithwick said. “I am looking forward to many conversations, professional relationships and projects that develop at the symposium. The climate crisis is here, and we must move ahead as a united front, researchers, funders and implementers, to meet this challenge.”