Friday, February 1, 2013 - 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Bren Hall 1414


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climateGemThis program on Interactive Visioning is being convened to further the environmental media approach of the 2012-13 “Figuring Sea Level Rise” theme of UC Santa Barbara’s annual Critical Issues in America series.  Invited speakers, together with the audience, will consider how research on the rising oceans is both conducted and disseminated to the public through sophisticated, visually rich, and often interactive techniques of measuring and modeling.  With a focus on tools for depicting current and future sea level rise--for example, interactive sites that enable the user to toggle up the sea height across a certain area of the earth’s surface--the day’s speakers will lead and inspire us to take cognizance of how humans are remaking the geography of our planet, and how we might intervene in that process, creatively, and in the interest of climate justice. 

The practical questions are urgent:  How much will the seas rise in any given spot?  When will it happen?  What impacts will be felt? Who will be obliged to move out of harm's way? What can be done to mitigate or adapt to these circumstances?  To begin to address these questions while broaching others as well, this program will concentrate on issues of mediation and remediation:  What does it mean that interactive visioning tools are proliferating in research labs, government agencies such as NOAA and the USGS, and activist organizations?  What are the differences among the various tools in terms of information, graphics, and user interface?  Where are the interfaces between embodied arts platforms or concepts such as relational aesthetics and the high-tech visioning tools created by engineers?  How effective are these tools in communicating climate change science?  How might we compare the affective experience of being physically present in a coastal area where the sea level is rising with the experience of reading an extrapolative map or manipulating an online toggle switch?

The first half of the program will be devoted to two talks by invited speakers, each followed by a brief question and answer period.  The second half of the program will consist of a panel presentation of six “lightning” or Pechakucha-style talks (20 slides in 6:40 minutes) and a discussion with the audience. The Pechakucha format itself encourages a non-hierarchal, interactive mode of collaborative visioning and learning, limiting the lecture form of a traditional academic conference so that panelists might begin to ask each other questions and build dialogue with audience members.


1:00 Welcome

1:15 Michael Lemonick - Communicating The Science and Threat of Sea Level Rise

2:00 Doug Marcy - Visualizing Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts

2:50 Break

3:15 Panel Discussion

5:00 Wrap-up


Michael Lemonick, Senior Science Writer/Senior Staff Writer at Climate Central
Title:  Communicating The Science and Threat of Sea Level Rise

Scientists think about the potential impact of rising seas all the time, but unless their thought are conveyed accurately to the policymakers and the general public, there's no hope of timely, effective action to anticipate and even prevent disasters. Michael Lemonick will talk about the role of journalists in trying to bridge that gap--and where the pitfalls lie in attempting to do so.

Mr. Lemonick covered science and the environment for TIME magazine for nearly 21 years, where he wrote more than 50 cover stories, and has also written for Discover, Scientific American, Wired, New Scientist and The Washington Post. Lemonick is the author of four books, and his cover story for TIME was featured in the anthology “Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007.” He has taught science and environmental journalism at Princeton, Columbia, Johns Hopkins and New York Universities. He holds a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University.

Doug Marcy, Coastal Hazards Specialist, NOAA Coastal Services Center
Title:  Visualizing Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts

It is one thing to have a discussion or write about a one or two foot rise in the ocean surface and potential impacts to a local community, it is another to show someone a map, highlighting the areas that will potentially be impacted.  The ability to visualize the potential height and inland extent of water gives us a better understanding of the corresponding impacts and consequences.  The presentation will touch on the critical elements needed to accurately portray coastal inundation, show an example web based visualization tool, and discuss sea level change guidance for community sea level change planning strategies.

Mr. Marcy is a Coastal Hazards Specialist at the NOAA National Ocean Service / Coastal Services Center (CSC), in Charleston, SC.  He has been with the CSC for over 10 years working on enhancing coastal inundation products and GIS capability, storm surge assessments, and coastal hazards assessment projects contributing to more disaster resilient communities. Before coming to NOAA, Doug worked as a Hydraulic Engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where he focused on flood control projects, hydrology and hydraulic modeling, flood inundation mapping, shoreline change analysis, and coastal engineering.


Moderator:  Lisa Jevbratt, Professor, Department of Art, UCSB

Jeremy Weiss, Senior Research Specialist, Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona

Marko Peljhan, Professor, Department of Art, UCSB

Bruce Caron, Executive Director, New Media Studio, Santa Barbara

James Frew, Professor, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, UC Santa Barbara


The Carsey-Wolf Center, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, Arthur N. Rupe Chair in the Social Effects of Mass Communication in the Department of Communication, Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, Department of Film and Media Studies, Department of Anthropology, Environmental Studies Program,  Center for Information Technology and Society, Center for Nanotechnology in Society, and Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research.