Dr. Randall Wiesenmayer, professor of science education at West Virginia University, will speak on the topic of global warming at 7 p.m. Wednesday at East Franklin Grange. The seminar is part of a series of ongoing community service projects co-hosted by East Franklin Grange of Waynesburg and New Freedom Grange of Wind Ridge.
In June, 2012, Wisenmayer presented a classroom workshop at McKeever Environmental Learning Center on the Greenhouse Effect as evidence that Earth’s climate is warming. The mechanisms causing the global climate change, and a discussion of whether such change is part of a natural cycle or the result of human activities was included in the workshop. Numerous research findings indicate global temperatures have risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the past few decades and that the years between 1997 and 2008 were the warmest years in recorded human history.
A rise in temperature has been blamed for erratic and increasingly severe weather patterns occurring more frequently around the world, including hurricanes, tsunamis, wildfires and tornadoes. The ice of the Arctic region is disappearing, and the National Resources Defense Council has predicted that if this trend continues that summers in the Arctic could be ice free within 80 years.
Human activities blamed for global warming include increasing industrialization, deforestation, pollution and a burgeoning world population. Levels of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased in the atmosphere, trapping more heat near the Earth’s surface, adding to the warming trend. Many scientists claim that even if emissions were completely eliminated immediately, the gases in the atmosphere will continue warming the Earth for years to come, in much the same way that food left in hot water continues to cook after the fire is turned off.
The effects of global warming may even signal the end of existence for many island nations and extremely poor countries. The agriculture industry has already experienced crop reduction and is selling off cattle and other animals that serve as food sources because of increased heat and the drying up of water resources. Food and water shortages may lead to more starvation in developing countries, and small island states such as the Maldives and low-lying countries such as Bangladesh will be eliminated as ocean levels continue to rise.
Over a million species are at risk of extinction because oceans are growing more acid and habitat is disappearing. Deadly heat waves are expected to occur annually, and the weather patterns now experienced in the southern United States will become the norm for New England states. Wiesenmayer and other scientists around the world have been sounding the alarm about global warming for decades, but governments seem to lack the will to do anything to address the concerns of the science community.
Wiesenmayer was awarded two grants, totaling more than $3.5 million from the National Science Foundation to fund research projects. He earned his bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from Ohio State University, his master’s degree in environmental science from Ohio State and his doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Penn State.
He has been a professor at WVU since 1990, where he has built an impressive academic, publishing and research record. He was principal investigator for the WV K-12 Rural Net Project, funded by the National Science Foundation and co-principal investigator for “Teacher Development and Research in STS Education,” also funded by the NSF.
Prior to accepting his position at WVU, Wiesenmayer was assistant professor of biological sciences at Lock Haven University, had a GTE fellowship at Penn State and has authored and co-authored numerous articles for publications.
Following the global warming seminar, participants will have the opportunity to speak with Wiesenmayer, to ask questions and to enjoy refreshments provided by the host granges.
The community is invited to attend this free event to learn more about the causes and effects of global warming.