Sixth annual Climate Conference links science and justice

Ocean scientists and activists will discuss challenges and opportunities of climate change during free public panel April 11

Gary Griggs
Vien Truong
Alvaro Sanchez
Tiffany Wise-West
Anne Kapuscinski

For the first time, the annual UC Santa Cruz Climate Conference will bring together prominent ocean scientists and leading social-justice advocates to discuss the environmental and equity dimensions of the crisis.

"Climate Justice: Linking Science to Just Action" will take place on Thursday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz. The event is free and open to the public; advance registration is required.

The conference will focus on local, state, and national efforts to pursue climate justice; the panel discussion will be followed by an interactive opportunity to learn about UC Santa Cruz research and opportunities for local action.

"Climate change is a threat to all of us, yet we also know it will have disproportionate impacts, particularly on those with the fewest economic, political, and social resources," said Katharyne Mitchell, professor of sociology and dean of the UC Santa Cruz Division of Social Sciences, which is co-sponsoring the event. "This year we are bringing together scientists, activists, and the public, because it will take all three working together to address this challenge."

Panelists will include:

Anne Kapuscinski, professor of environmental studies and director of the new Coastal Science and Policy Program at UCSC, will moderate the panel discussion.

"These panelists are at the forefront of science- and justice-based responses to climate change," said Kapuscinski. "It's an honor to bring them together to hear about their work and what we can do to help."

Griggs led the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz from 1991-2017 and is widely credited with building an interdisciplinary, conservation-focused program and establishing partnerships with state and federal agencies, policy makers, and nonprofit advocacy groups. He will provide an overview of climate change before the panelists address issues of climate justice.

Following the panel discussion, attendees will be invited to participate in a "Climate Conversations Showcase," during which speakers from the community and UC Santa Cruz will host small, informal group conversations on a variety of climate-change science and climate-justice topics, including opportunities for action.

"Santa Cruz is known for our commitment to the environment, to social justice, and to community action," said Mitchell. "Let's turn our collective attention to climate change and work together to be a model for other communities."

In addition to the Division of Social Sciences, the co-sponsors of this year's Climate Conference include the UC Santa Cruz academic divisions of the Arts, Graduate Studies, and Physical and Biological Sciences; the Coastal Science and Policy Program; and alum Peter Coha (Kresge College '78, mathematics).