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URI Metcalf Institute Public Lectures Explore Science and Journalism

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Narragansett, R.I. -- June 10, 2004 -- The connections between science and journalism are the focus of the sixth annual Metcalf Institute public lecture series. This year's lectures look at the politicizing of science and an historic statement signed by the Union of Concerned Scientists; how stories that progress incrementally, such as climate change, can be made compelling through film and narrative; shrinking freshwater resources and the impact on our nation and the world; abrupt climate change; and, finally, the latest recommendations for ocean policy management. The Metcalf Institute will hold its sixth annual workshop for journalists June 21-25 and, as part of the workshop, five public lectures 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 21 3:30 p.m.

Combating Global Yawning: Overcoming Public Indifference to the Environment
Jon Palfreman, President, Palfreman Film Group, Inc.

While many profess to care about the environment, people usually prefer news of celebrity scandals over investigations into clean air. What can be done to encourage interest in environmental stories like global climate change? Palfreman, award-winning documentary producer for FRONTLINE and NOVA, considers solutions.

Tuesday, June 22 3:30 p.m.

Abrupt Climate Change: Global Warming, Climate Cooling?
Dr. Bruce Peterson, Senior Scientist, Marine Biological Laboratory

Scientists theorize that global warming could set off changes in ocean circulation in the North Atlantic region within the next several decades. Extreme temperature changes could result. What do the climate models tell us about how fast we are moving toward a threshold for rapid climate change?

Wednesday, June 23 3:30 p.m.

Ocean Policy in the 21st Century: What's Next?
Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, Professor, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, UNH

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy is calling for a major shift toward ecosystem-based management in the oceans. Rosenberg, who served as an ocean commissioner, will summarize the next steps for making changes in U.S. ocean policy.

Thursday, June 24 3:30 p.m.

The Global Future of Freshwater
Dr. Charles Vörösmarty, Director, Water Systems Analysis Group, UNH

As demand for freshwater increases, so do the impacts on nature and society. While climate change is a critical focus for international policy, the state of freshwater supplies is gaining importance as a worldwide concern. Vörösmarty will describe how a broad array of human activities may be altering the future of water on earth.

Friday, June 25 11 a.m.

Science, Government, and the Public Interest
Dr. George M. Woodwell, Director, Woods Hole Research Center

Sixty scientists recently signed a letter, prepared under the auspices of the Union of Concerned Scientists, to the Bush Administration presenting scientific facts warning against environmental hazards. Woodwell will talk about worldwide environmental concerns and the responsibilities of the scientific community to help the public and government, which must operate in the public interest.

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