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Free Urban Environmental Lectures and Exhibits on Governors Island Through September 1


Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services

(718) 997-5597

Maria Matteo
News Assistant
(718) 997-5593


-- Queens College and Other CUNY Faculty Will Explore Climate Changes
and Their Effect on 21st Century Life in New York City --

FLUSHING, N.Y., June 5, 2007 – Nor’easters, food security, and the city’s energy future are among the topics that Queens College and other City University of New York faculty experts will explore in a series of free public lectures and exhibits on Governors Island this summer. Visitors to this historic island on Saturdays during July and August can also take advantage of free concerts, self-guided tours, and a dazzling view of the Manhattan skyline.

This is CUNY’s second annual series of free urban environmental lectures and exhibits. The outreach is part of a nationwide effort, “Focus the Nation” ( ), to engage faculty and students at U.S. colleges, universities and high schools in discussion centered on the theme of “Stabilizing the Climate in the 21st Century.” A culminating conference will take place at Queens College and other colleges throughout the nation on January 31, 2008.

The science lectures with slide presentations will be given in Pershing Hall (Building 125) for 13 successive Saturdays from June 9 to September 1 at 12:30 pm. Additional topics include past, present, and future climate changes; the vulnerability of the New York metropolitan region to hurricane damage; oil dependence and its effect on the city’s energy future; and how to increase the energy efficiency of buildings.

An exhibition of cutting-edge research on the ecology of the city will be open every Friday and Saturday through September 1 in the eastern part of Building 110. The exhibits include three-dimensional and computer simulations, interactive displays, and posters that focus on current environmental issues of interest to New York residents. Among the exhibit subjects are the 7,000-year history of paleosalinity changes on the Hudson River and what it means for New York City; the effect of climate and carbon dioxide variations on food and water sustainability; and shellfish restoration in Brooklyn.

Here is the lineup of Governors Island lectures by Queens College professors:

June 9 Stephen Pekar, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
“Glaciers in Manhattan? Forests in Antarctica? Past Climate Change and
What It Means for Us”
In addition to his faculty position at Queens College, Dr. Pekar is also a research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. He has been involved in a multinational project at the South Pole called ANDRILL (Antarctic Drilling), which is trying to learn more about the earth’s history of extreme climate change by drilling into the polar ice. Dr. Pekar has been instrumental in organizing Focus the Nation events.

June 16 Leonard Rodberg, Department of Urban Studies
“Climate Change, Peak Oil, and Our Energy Future?”

Dr. Rodberg, chair of urban studies, has expertise in public policy and the social impact of technology. He developed the Infoshare system, a computerized database that gives community groups, nonprofit organizations and others access to demographic, health and socioeconomic information about New York City.

July 21 Nicholas Coch, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
“The Unique Vulnerability of the N.Y./N.J. Metropolitan Region to Hurricane Damage - A New Perspective Based on Recent Research”

Dr. Coch enjoys nationally renowned expertise in hurricane prediction and damage, storms, beach erosion, coastal problems and pollution.

Aug. 11 Cecilia McHugh, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
“Glacial to Interglacial Depositional History of Western Long Island Sound, New York”

Dr. McHugh is a professor of marine biology as well as a research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. She has expertise in marine geology, sedimentology, geomorphology, sedimentary petrology, and environmental geology. Through a National Science Foundation grant, she led college students on a science research expedition to study Long Island Sound last summer.

Sept. 1 Judith Kimerling, Department of Political Science
“Oil, Law, and Sustainability in the Amazon Rainforest”

Dr. Kimmerling has expertise in the politics of Amazon rain forest development, international development and human rights, environmental law and politics, and energy law.

Lectures by other CUNY professors:

Peter Marcotullio, Hunter College, “The Urban Environmental Transition:
Understanding Changing Environmental Conditions in Cities,” June 23;

William Solecki, Hunter College, “Environmental Change and Urban Sustainability - The Case of New York City,” on June 30;

Stan Gedzelman, City College, “Prime Movers in Saving the Planet,” July 7;

Deborah Popper, College of Staten Island, “A Full Plate: Food Sustainability, Food Security,” July 14;

Tria Case, Center for Sustainable Energy, Bronx Community College, “New York City's Renewable Energy Future,” July 28;

Michael Bobker, CUNY Institute for Urban Systems,“The Open Window: Getting to Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings,” August 4;

Frank Buonaiuto and Haydee Salmun, Hunter College, “New York Meets Nor'easters: Are Our Coasts Prepared?” August 18;

Deborah Balk, Baruch College, “The Rising Tide: Urban Population and Climate Change,” August 25.

The free ferry to Governors Island leaves from the Battery Maritime Building, Slip 7,
directly east of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal starting at 10 am. Governors Island is open every Friday and Saturday during the summer. The ferry ride takes approximately five minutes. By subway, take the 1 or 9 to South Ferry, the 4 or 5 to Bowling Green or the R or W to Whitehall. Visit for more information.


 Office Information

Deputy Director of News Services
(Position vacant)

(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services
Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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