Friday, April 09, 2010

Polar Adventure Experiences and Firsthand Climate Change Observations

Renowned Explorer Will Steger Shares Polar Adventure Experiences and Firsthand Climate Change Observations at April 19th program at South Dakota State University (SDSU).

Steger joined by SDSU Distinguished Professor Dr. W. Carter Johnson at public program on SDSU campus.

Renowned polar explorer and adventurer Will Steger will present a free program on Monday, April 19th at 7 pm on the SDSU campus in Rotunda Building, Room D. Steger, who has been leading significant and record-breaking expeditions in the world’s harshest, polar environments in the Arctic and Antarctic regions for over four decades, will provide an intimate portrait of these magnificent landscapes including documentation of global warming impacts to these environments, and he will share solutions to the global warming crisis.

“What I have witnessed in the Arctic over 45 years, and more importantly in the past ten years is alarming,” said Steger. “I have seen firsthand dramatic signs of global climate change on our polar regions, from rising thaw levels, to disappearing glaciers, to ice shelves disintegrating entirely or calving and re-locating to new locations.”

To prevent further destruction to polar ecosystems Steger sees great promise in the transition of the American energy sector to cleaner, renewable energies.

Steger has traveled by dogsled and kayak on expeditions in some of the world’s most challenging environments. Steger led the first dogsled journey to the North Pole without resupply in1986. He also led a 1,600-mile south-north traverse of Greenland, the longest unsupported dogsled expedition in history in 1988, and in 1989-1990 he led the first dogsled traverse of Antarctica, an historic seven-month, 3,741-mile International Trans-Antarctica Expedition. In 1995 a team led by Steger made the first dogsled traverse of the Arctic Ocean in one season from Russia to Ellesmere Island in Canada.

In 1995, Mr. Steger joined Amelia Earhart, Robert Peary and Ronald Amundsen in receiving the National Geographic Society's prestigious John Oliver La Gorce Medal (formerly the Gold Metal) for “Accomplishments in Geographic Exploration in the Sciences, and Public Service to Advance International Understanding”. He has also received the National Geographic Adventure Lifetime Achievement Award for his work on climate change. In 1996, he became the National Geographic Society's first Explorer-in-Residence and received the Explorers Club’s Finn Ronne Memorial Award in 1997. In 2006 Steger joined Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Dr. Thor Heyerdahl and Neil Armstrong in receiving the Lindbergh Award. Steger was given this award for "numerous polar expeditions, deep understanding of the environment and efforts to raise awareness of current environmental threats, especially climate change."

Recently, Steger formed the Will Steger Foundation, with a personal and professional commitment to foster leadership and international cooperation through environmental education and policy. He has been face-to-face with what we now know to be the gravest environmental threat of our time — global warming. The Will Steger Foundation is educating, inspiring and empowering the public in a campaign to solve global warming. Steger is the author of four books: Over the Top of the World, Crossing Antarctica, North to the Pole and Saving the Earth.

Joining Will Steger at this program to present about global warming impacts is SDSU professor and researcher Dr. W. Carter Johnson.

Dr. Johnson, Distinguished Professor of Ecology, has studied the effects of climate change on natural ecosystems, particularly wetlands, for nearly forty years. He and his research team have published extensively on this theme in science journals, culminating this year with an article in the February issue of the journal BioScience that gained attention from national and international news media.

Dr. Johnson will be discussing his newest research for the first time on the SDSU campus. The title of his talk: “Global Climate Change: How Might South Dakota Fare?” Dr. Johnson and his team have determined that the Northern Plains region appears to be much more sensitive to climate warming and drying than previously thought.

Steger and Johnson will be available for a question and answer period following their presentations. This program is sponsored by the Sierra Club and the SDSU Sierra Club.

[via SDSU email]


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