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event • Conferences & Symposia

A Pale Blue Dot under Pressure: Climate Change, Justice, and Resilience in Our Rapidly Warming World

  • Friday, October 21, 2022
    9:15 AM–4:30 PM ET
  • Knafel Center OR Online on Zoom
    10 Garden Street
    Cambridge, MA 02138
Science Symposium Harvard Radcliffe Institute
Registration open

Climate change is one of the, if not the, most significant threats facing our planet today. It affects life on Earth in countless known, and many still unknown, ways—from atmospheric health to wellness; natural ecosystems to small businesses; global security to neighborhood food insecurity; and international policy to individual decision-making—while exacerbating underlying patterns of inequality. 

The Mike and Nina Patterson Science Symposium will explore these interconnected issues through sessions investigating global climate systems and climate disasters, public policy, health, climate justice and activism, and methods of adaptation and remediation.

The program will begin with a keynote address on Thursday, October 20, 2022, at 4 PM. Please return to this page for additional information in the coming weeks. 

Harvard Radcliffe Institute gratefully acknowledges the Mike and Nina Patterson Catalyst Fund for Climate, which is supporting this event.


Free and open to the public.

We are planning "A Pale Blue Dot under Pressure" as a hybrid event.

In-person and Zoom audiences will submit questions through the same online platform.

Join Us in Person

To attend in person, each individual will need to register.

Join Us Online

To view this event online, individuals will need to register via Zoom.

For instructions on how to join online, see the How to Attend a Radcliffe Event on Zoom webpage.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing a link and password for this meeting.

Please note: There is a slight delay between the Zoom webinar and the livestream. If you are unable to view the stream, wait a minute or two and refresh your web browser.

Live closed captioning will be available for the webinar.



  • Edo Berger, codirector of the science program at Harvard Radcliffe Institute; professor of astronomy, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

9:30 AM             
Framing Remarks: Climate Change and Impacts    

  • Somini Sengupta, international climate reporter, the New York Times
  • Discussant: Dustin Tingley, professor of government, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; deputy vice provost for advances in learning, Harvard University 

10:15 AM       
Global Perspective and Climate Systems

  • Debra Roberts, co-chair, Working Group II, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and head, Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives Unit in eThekwini Municipality (Durban, South Africa)
  • James Marshall Shepherd, Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences and director of the atmospheric sciences program, University of Georgia

11:15 AM           

11:30 AM       
Climate Justice and Activism

  • Juan Declet-Barreto, senior social scientist for climate vulnerability, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Autumn Peltier, global Indigenous rights and water activist; chief water commissioner, Anishinabek Nation (Canada)
  • Heather McTeer Toney, vice president, community engagement, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Moderator: Tamarra James-Todd, Mark and Catherine Winkler Associate Professor of Environmental Reproductive Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

12:45 PM          
Lunch Break and Student Poster Session

2 PM
Welcome Back and Remarks

  • James H. Stock, vice provost for climate and sustainability, Harvard University; Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; and member of the faculty, Harvard Kennedy School

2:10 PM

  • Theresa Crimmins, research professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona; director, USA National Phenology Network
  • Amruta Nori-Sarma, assistant professor, Environmental Health Department, Boston University School of Public Health
  • Nick Watts, chief sustainability officer, National Health Service (United Kingdom)
  • Moderator: Aaron Bernstein, interim director, Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; assistant professor of pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

3:25 PM             

3:40 PM             
Adaptation and Remediation

  • Klaus Lackner, director, Center for Negative Carbon Emissions and professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Arizona State University
  • Lis Mullin Bernhardt, deputy head, Freshwater, UN Environment Programme
  • Sanjay Seth, former climate resilience program manager, City of Boston
  • Moderator: Somini Sengupta

4:55 PM          
Close of Program

  • Immaculata De Vivo, codirector of the science program, Harvard Radcliffe Institute; professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School; and professor of epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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