Las Vegas, N.M. – The second annual Climate Change Awareness Summit at Highlands University April 28 aims to raise awareness about slowing climate change and spark activism for environmental issues.
The day of free public events is a community collaboration that includes a Gallinas River cleanup, climate change awareness march, guest speakers, Highlands faculty and student research, hands-on learning for children, community resource tables, food, music and more.
“This climate change initiative is an engaging opportunity for people to learn more about this important topic including some proposed solutions already implemented in other countries,” said Linda LaGrange, Highlands University psychology professor and Psychology Department chair. “We’re approaching climate change with optimism about what can be done to slow it.”
The Climate Change Awareness Summit at Highlands is a sister event to the Smithsonian Institution’s Earth Optimum Day.
“There was a great deal of enthusiasm at our first climate change event last April that generated campuswide and community discussions. We’re building on this momentum,” LaGrange said.
She said the ongoing goal is to motivate people to become actively involved in advocating for the environmental health of planet Earth.
LaGrange is the lead organizer for Climate Awareness Tribes, or CATs, a grassroots group of Highlands faculty, staff and Las Vegas community members working on the climate change initiative for the second year.
“Our CATs committee believes that personal involvement is a powerful catalyst for change,” LaGrange said.
LaGrange said the community collaboration is strong for the Highlands climate initiative. For instance, the Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance is sponsoring the Gallinas River cleanup, with the City of Las Vegas Solid Waste Department providing support for the cleanup.
The daylong schedule for the Climate Change Awareness Summit April 28 includes:
9 – 11:30 a.m. – Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance 6th Annual Gallinas River Cleanup.
Meet at the north side parking lot at the Gallinas River bridge on Bridge Street. Snacks and drinks will be provided.
12:00 – 12:30 p.m. – Climate Change Awareness March. Meet at the Historic Las Vegas Plaza and march up Bridge Street to the Highlands Student Center Ballroom, 800 National Ave.
1:00 – 1:15 p.m. – Welcome by Highlands President Sam Minner at the Student Center Ballroom.
1:15 – 1:30 p.m. – Move to the Student Center Theater for keynote speakers; children move to the Kiddie Corner in the ballroom.
1:30 – 2:45 p.m. – Keynote speakers present on the topic, “Using Rural and Forest Lands to Slow Climate Change: How a ‘Good Thing’ in Global Policy Terms Interacts with Local Rights and Livelihoods.”
-Shirley Fiske – Is a University of Maryland Anthropology Department professor and chairs the Anthropological Association Task Force on Climate Change.
-Stephanie Paladino – Is an environmental anthropologist who is working on an interdisciplinary study of water management across the Rio Grande Basin.
Fiske and Paladino co-authored the 2017 book, The Carbon Fix: Forest Carbon, Social Justice, and Environmental Governance.
1:30 – 2:45 p.m. – Kiddie Corner activities include hands-on interactive learning.
2:45 – 3:15 p.m. – Break for refreshments from Sugar Bomb Catering; Highlands faculty and students present research posters, and community resources such as the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge staff information tables; and the Smooth Riders, a local jazz ensemble, performs.
3:30 – 4:45 p.m. – A panel discussion on climate change features Highlands faculty and others.
4:30 – 5 p.m. – There is more time to mingle and listen to the Smooth Riders. Beer and wine will be available for adults.
The sponsors for the Climate Change Awareness Summit include Highlands University, Las Vegas Sunshine Kiwanis Club, and private donors.
“I appreciate how supportive Highlands President Sam Minner and his administration are for this climate change initiative. The community support has also been invaluable,” LaGrange said.