First Climate Awareness Summit at HU April 29

Las Vegas, N.M. – The first Climate Awareness Summit at Highlands University April 29 aims to raise awareness about climate change and spark activism for environmental issues.

“While some people continue to deny climate change, many years of scientific evidence and published data show there is a significant change in global climate due to human activities like burning fossil fuel,” said Linda LaGrange, Highlands University psychology professor. “We want to raise awareness about climate change and its impacts and also 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 University faculty, staff and Las Vegas community members working on the Climate Awareness Summit.

“Our CATs committee believes that personal involvement is a powerful catalyst for change. We want to establish an ongoing collaboration between Highlands and the Las Vegas community on environmental issues,” LaGrange said.

The daylong schedule of public events for April 29 includes:

  • Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance 5th Annual Gallinas River Clean-Up ­– 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Meet at the north-side parking lot at the Gallinas River bridge, Las Vegas. Snacks and drinks will be provided. The Highlands University Geology Society (HUGS) is helping with the event.
  • Climate Awareness March – 1 – 1:45 p.m. Meet at the Plaza Hotel on the historic Las Vegas Plaza. The march begins at the plaza and ends at the university’s Student Center Ballroom, 800 National Ave.

“Our local march is a sister march to the ones the nonprofit Climate Awareness Movement is organizing across the nation April 29 to bring awareness to the issue,” LaGrange said.

  • Climate Awareness Summit – 2 p.m. Student Center Ballroom, 8oo National Ave.

Welcome – Highlands University President Sam Minner

-Keynote Speaker Michael Soulé – 2 – 2:50 p.m.

Soulé helped found the Society for Conservation Biology and the Wildlands Project. He is a professor emeritus in environmental studies at the University of California – Santa Cruz. A prolific writer and researcher, Soulé wrote and edited nine books on biology, conservation biology, and the social context of contemporary conservation and published more than 150 research papers. He has earned numerous honors such as being elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Audubon Society Magazine 100 Champions of Conservation of the 20th Century Award.

-Guest Speaker Jeanne Simonelli – 3 – 3:50 p.m. “Local Action, Legal Routes: Strategies for Defeating Extraction Projects.”

Simonelli is an applied cultural anthropologist, writer and activist. She is currently working with communities facing hydraulic fracturing and its infrastructures. Simonelli organizes the international research group ExtrACTION, which is part of the Society for Applied Anthropology.

-View exhibits, booths and information tables – 4 – 5 p.m. Some participants include the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge, Sierra Club, Tri-County Farmer’s Market, Pojoaque Pueblo, Committee for Clean Water, Air and Earth, Energy Concepts, and Fort Union National Monument.

-Reception – 5 – 6:30 p.m. Sugar Pop catering is providing the refreshments and the Smooth Riders, a Las Vegas jazz ensemble, will perform.

-J Boog Reggae Concert – Doors open at 6 p.m. at the university’s John A. Wilson Complex, 1241 9th St. The Common Kings reggae band opens the concert, which begins at 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $25. Highlands students with valid HU ID are free. Advance tickets are available online at

Other events before April 29 include the Planet Earth Series of free movies in the university’s Ilfeld Auditorium April 22, April 25 and April 27. For details, visit Ilfeld is at 900 University Ave.

On April 27, Tom Ward, Highlands sociology professor and Social and Behavioral Science Department chair, will feature environmentally-themed music during his weekly Musicology 101 show from 5 – 7 p.m. on the university’s KEDP radio station, 91.1 FM.

More information about the Climate Awareness Summit at Highlands is on the Climate Change Tribe’s Facebook page at

There’s a link on the CAT’s Facebook page for those interested in donating to help with expenses for the summit. The Highlands Foundation created the account. Use Climate Awareness Summit for the designation.