Welcome to the website of Climate Change and the Common Good: Security, Sustainability, Policy. This site documents a 2013 conference that brought together students, faculty and staff of the University of Notre Dame, together with our speakers and guests from the community and around the world. The conference aimed to understand climate change and learn how to address it with an ethical, religious, and social lens. We invite you to peruse the conference videos, speaker bios, press coverage, and related resources. This conference represents the beginning on interdisciplinary conversation on climate change and social values at Notre Dame, and future activities on this topic will be posted on this site. So, please come back and visit us again soon.
Human-caused climate change is a complex and urgent problem. Since the Industrial Revolution we have been releasing ever-greater amounts of C02 and other greenhouse gases to the earth’s atmosphere. This is causing steady temperature increases. Polar ice is melting and sea levels are rising; storms and droughts have increased; and precious agriculture and species and ecosystems have declined.
To build well-informed and practical responses to this situation, we assembled a three-day conference to explore the science of climate change, the ethical requirement to respond to this complex situation, and the practical considerations of adaptability, sustainability and national and international security. Notre Dame is a university guided by Catholic principles that compel us to show concern for creation and suffering peoples. Global warming is hardest on the poor of the global south, and has begun already to displace communities least able to adapt to changing conditions. Pope Francis acknowledged this in his first homily: “Please, I would like to ask all those with positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: Let us be protectors of God’s creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”
This conference received the generous support of numerous colleges and institutes across the University. We are grateful for the support of the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values, the Environmental Change Initiative, and the Center for Social Concerns in particular. We hope that the conference impelled all participants, and subsequent viewers of conference materials, to defend and protect life on the planet.
2013 Conference Organizers:
Ani Aprahamian – Professor, Experimental Nuclear Physics
Heather Asiala – Program Associate, Environmental Change Initiative
Jessica Baron – Outreach and Communications Coordinator, Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values
Jessica Hellmann – Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
Rachel Novick – Education and Outreach Program Manager, Office of Sustainability
Suzi Spitzer – Notre Dame Class of 2013, Biological Sciences and Anthropology
Robin Darling Young – Associate Professor, Theology
Congratulations to our Poster Winner: Raymond Fung and Prashant Kamat