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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI Metcalf Institute lecture series explores science and journalism June 13-17

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

Speakers include Wall St. Journal reporter, Yale dean, more

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. -- June 7, 2005 -- The connections between science and journalism are the focus of the seventh annual public lecture series sponsored by the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography.

The daily lectures run from June 13 to 16 at 3:30 p.m. and June 17 at 11 a.m. in the Coastal Institute Auditorium on URI’s Narragansett Bay Campus. All events are free and open to the public.

“This year’s lecture series looks at several key environmental issues – global warming, population growth, and overfishing are among them -- and how the media are covering those issues,” said Jackleen de La Harpe, executive director of the Metcalf Institute. “We’ll also be discussing the American political and popular response to these issues, and the future of print journalism. It’s an exciting series that I’m sure will raise some intriguing questions about how science is covered in the news.”

The complete schedule of speakers and their topics follows:

Monday, June 13, 3:30 p.m. – “Print Journalism on the Precipice,” Walter Shapiro, former USA Today political columnist and author of One-Car Caravan. What is the future of print journalism in an age of bloggers, combative cable TV, talk radio, and partisan polemics? Shapiro will describe the challenges facing the press as distrust of the media grows and circulation withers.

Tuesday, June 14, 3:30 p.m. – “Population Growth: The Forgotten Environmental Crisis,” Fred Meyerson, Georgetown University. The media reports global population as leveling off and declining within a few decades, yet each year the U.S. population grows by more than 3 million, increasing oil imports, greenhouse gases, and environmental and economic pressures. Meyerson will explain these complex issues and some population policy options.

Wednesday, June 15, 3:30 p.m. – “Some Say By Fire: Climate Change and the American Response,” James Gustave Speth, dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. A quarter century has passed since the National Academy of Sciences held the first panel on climate change, but the U.S. has yet to face this serious environmental problem. We have elected leaders in the Presidency and Congress who prefer to ignore this threat. What now?

Thursday, June 16, 3:30 p.m. – “The Market-Based Approach to Environment,” John Fialka, energy and environment reporter at the Wall Street Journal. Cap-and-trade emissions trading systems are designed to remove power plant pollutants from the air, but they’re unpopular with some environmentalists. Fialka will describe market incentives that successfully spur development of renewable energy.

Friday, June 17, 11 a.m. – “People and Fish: The Environmental Cost of Consumption,” Ellen K. Pikitch, director of the Pew Institute of Ocean Science. The oceans' productive capacity has been outstripped by consumers, and key marine fish populations, once the mainstay of coastal economies, are collapsing. Pikitch will discuss how the dynamics between fisheries and consumers may be altered.

For more information, call (401) 874-6211 or visit