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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI Metcalf Institute Public Lectures Explore Science and Journalism

Narragansett, R.I. - June 11, 2002 - Sustainability of the world’s environment, fisheries management, lead-based paint poisoning, the human impact on global warming, and how filmmakers create science television are the subjects of Scientists and Journalists: Getting the Point Across, a lecture series sponsored by The Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting. The Metcalf Institute will hold its fourth annual workshop for journalists June 24-28 and, as part of the workshop, four public lectures and a panel debate will be held at the Coastal Institute Auditorium at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography’s Narragansett Bay Campus. All events are open to the public.

Monday, June 24 3:30-4:45 p.m.

The Price of Dominion: Managing Planet Earth
Andrew Revkin, Environment Reporter, The New York Times
Humans are at a threshold. The last century could be our exuberant adolescence when we flexed muscles, had an extraordinary growth spurt, and became a geological force. We changed the landscape, extinguished and introduced species, and altered the atmosphere in a way that appears to have nudged the global thermostat. Now we are considering ways to lighten human footsteps, cut emissions of heat-trapping gases and preserve biodiversity. The population curve is flattening, and there has been enormous progress in reducing pollution and habitat destruction. Are we poised to enter adulthood, to manage our environment sustainably?

Tuesday, June 25 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Panel Discussion: Science, Policy and Politics in Fisheries Management
Moderator: Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, Dean, College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, University of New Hampshire
Fisheries management is a complex political environment. While the scientific research is well developed, the public and industry view the science as weak. Even with clear scientific advice, it's difficult to apply conservation to fisheries management. While easily supported politically, conservation measures for fisheries are rarely popular. Ultimately, management comes down to the fishermen, making support for conservation measures hard to come by and often resulting in overfishing.

Wednesday, June 26 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Lead-Based Paint Poisoning: State and Local Responses
Sheldon Whitehouse, RI State Attorney General
Childhood lead poisoning is 2.5 times higher in Rhode Island and 4 times higher in Providence than the rest of the country. Lead paint has been repeatedly identified as the top environmental health issue facing the state's children. Families, individuals, activist groups, and every level of government are working and paying to clean up lead paint and educate poisoned children. RI Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse says the only major players who are not helping are the corporations that made and marketed the lead-based paints. Whitehouse will explain why he filed the first state lawsuit against the companies, scheduled to start next September, and how corporations, government and voters are reacting.

Thursday, June 27 3:30-4:45 p.m.

Trends in Human and Societal Development and Climate Change
Dr. James J. McCarthy, Professor of Biological Oceanography and Director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
Scientific evidence points to an unusual rate of global warming over the last century. The last few decades have been both warmer and more variable and climate is likely to continue to change for the next several generations. There are many unknowns in understanding the future of the climate system, but the greatest uncertainty is humans. How many of us will there be? What will be our standard of living in the developed and developing world? How dependent will we be on fossil fuel?

Friday, June 28 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

NOVA: Good Science, Good Television
Paula Apsell, Executive Producer, NOVA
How do filmmakers accurately represent the exacting work of scientists, inject an element of entertainment into their documentaries, and still create a credible and interesting depiction of science? Paula Apsell, executive producer, NOVA, will describe how filmmakers engage the public in science through award-winning science television about subjects as diverse as global warming, bioterrorism, and string theory. NOVA has won numerous awards including Emmys, Peabodys and the duPont-Columbia Award and is considered the best science documentary series in broadcasting. Apsell oversees many related science projects including the recently acclaimed miniseries Evolution, NOVA On-Line, and the large format (70mm) film Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure.

The public lecture series is sponsored by the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting. For information, call 401-874-6211 or visit the Metcalf Institute website at

Contact:Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642 ,

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