Aargh AGU!

OMG! Is that Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) at the American Geophysical Union (#AGU2014) Fall Meeting?  What is she doing with the 23,000 scientists, educators, and press at this extravaganza—think of a rave for geo-science geeks—at the Moscone Center in San Francisco?

Turns out it wasn’t Taylor but a young German plasma physicist named Aljona Bloecker who was attending AGU for the first time. She may have been overwhelmed but didn’t seem fazed in the least, looking as if she could grab a mike and rock the crowd if need be. 

This is my fourteenth AGU. My colleague Tamara Ledley, who has been organizing Climate Literacy sessions here, has been coming since 1983 when she was a graduate student at MIT.  

The first year I attended, a few months after 9/11, there were only a handful of education sessions and only a few that focused on climate change. This year there are several days of Climate Literacy sessions, with multiple talks and poster sessions, and a full day of workshops on Thursday. That’s a welcome change!

I’ve been spending time at our booth—#2515 if you happen to be in the neighborhood of the Moscone Center—but I did manage, before my talk on Monday about the Learning Pathways we developed for the National Climate Assessment, to hear Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs’s keynote talk that overviewed the causes, effects, and risks of, and possible responses to, global change caused by human activities. Unfortunately I missed Jim White’s talk on Abrupt Climate Change, Part, Present, and Future, but I’ve learned the hard way to pick my battles and pace myself to avoid meltdown. 

Another talk on Countering Climate Confusion tomorrow, the workshop Thursday, and a panel discussion on science denial on Friday: a full plate and then some. And then the weekend and upcoming holidays to catch our breath!

Short Bio

Mark McCaffrey is a former Programs and Policy Director at NCSE.