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Former EPA Administrator McCarthy to Speak at Penn State

on April 03, 2019 4:30 AM

UNIVERSITY PARK — Gina McCarthy, the 13th administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will give the "Future of Science and the World" lecture at 6 p.m. on Wednesday (April 3) in Freeman Auditorium of Penn State's HUB-Robeson Center. An American environmental health and air quality expert, she continues to discuss the importance of science communication and advocacy.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is hosted by the Penn State Science Policy Society.

“In a time period where scientific reports and news outlets mention the increasing intensity and frequency of wildfires, floods, and blizzards, U.S. citizens often become overwhelmed or discouraged about the idea that we can turn it all around. Gina’s message to us is a solid slap upside the head saying, ‘Get your head out of the sand and do something,’ and I think every one of us should hear that message,” Thomas Nigl, president of the Science Policy Society, said.

Serving as EPA administrator from 2013-2017 under President Barack Obama, McCarthy signed the Clean Power Plan, setting the first-ever national standards for carbon emissions from power plants.

“As faculty advisor to the Penn State Science Policy Society graduate student organization, I couldn’t be more proud of how SPS is bringing leading experts at the interface of science and policy like former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to our campus, vibrantly contributing to the intellectual environment here at Penn State,” said Michael Mann, a climatologist professor of atmospheric science at Penn State

McCarthy is the director of C-CHANGE, Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, an institute in the Harvard School of Public Health. C-CHANGE aims to conduct research in various environmental areas and present results of climate change research in ways that are accessible to the common person.

“Communication is the most critical aspect of moving forward on climate change,” Nigl said. “Every citizen in this country wants clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment to live in and raise their children if they have them. Every citizen doesn’t want to wear a face mask so they can go outside; they don’t want their hometown to be flooded. When we communicate and speak with one another, instead of at one another, we find our common ground and from there we discuss the best solutions to move forward.

"What Gina’s message conveys is that we have reason to be optimistic in solving this problem, because we’re all human beings that want the same healthy and prosperous life, and that when we sit down to hammer out the details on how to solve it, we’re having the right conversations.”

After the keynote lecture, a reception will be held in the lounge outside the Freeman Auditorium to continue the discussion.

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