Climate Forum

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Powerpoint Presentations from the 4th Annual Climate Change Forum

Steve Vavrus

Jeff Thompson

Sharon Dunwoody

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To register please visit our forum brochure, print page 7 and mail it, with payment to:

Climate Change Coalition of Door County 

PO Box 474 Sister Bay WI 54234

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Climate Change and Extreme Weather: What to Expect Here and Around the World

Dr. Steve Vavrus

Steve will describe recent climate changes globally and locally, in addition to what we can expect in the future.   He will focus on the relationship of climate change to increasing extreme weather events and the potential adverse consequences of such events on human health. For our region, “Warmer and wetter” is the shorthand forecast, with important changes in extreme weather events, lake ice cover, and lake-effect snowfall.  Many of these changes are happening now and thus serve as a preview of what’s to come, as well as a test bed for how society can adapt to a changing environment.

Steve Vavrus is a Senior Scientist in the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in meteorology from Purdue University and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in meteorology and climatology from the University of Wisconsin.  Steve uses computer climate models to understand how climate is changing across the Earth, including the Great Lakes region.  Extreme weather events are an important theme of his research, particularly how they might be affected by climate change.  He is an active member of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) and was an invited speaker at last year’s United Nations Conference of the Parties Climate Change Summit in Morocco.

A Cleaner Environment …..Better Health…Lower Costs…Stronger Economy

Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, MD

Jeff will discuss why health care organizations have an obligation to aggressively address climate change in order to improve patient health, lower operating and care costs and support the local economy. He will explain how Gundersen Health System, over the last 9 years met its goal of being 100% powered by renewables from local sources . Under Jeff’s leadership, Gundersen has dropped its greenhouse gases by 90% and  become a national model of sustainability in health care and a business leader in the battle to mitigate climate change.

Jeff Thompson is a pediatric intensivist and neonatologist, executive advisor and chief executive officer emeritus at Gundersen Health System.  Since completing his professional training in 1984, he has worked full-time solely at Gundersen.  A founding member and past board chair of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality,  Jeff has led Gundersen’s nationally-recognized initiatives for patient care, quality improvement and sustainability. Jeff presented the stunning results of Gundersen’s climate change initiatives at the Paris climate talks, the World Health Organization in Bonn, Germany as well as at  Oxford, England  and Beijing, China.  He was honored by the White House as a 2013 Champion for Change for the Environment.

Gundersen Health System is a non-profit, comprehensive integrated healthcare network headquartered in La Crosse, Wis. Gundersen’s more than 6,000 employees serve 19 counties in western Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, and northeastern Iowa. Consistently ranked in the top five percent of hospitals in the country for clinical quality care by independent healthcare ratings organizations, Gundersen relentlessly pursues improved health for patients, their families and the communities it serves.

Talking about Climate Change: Strategies to Reach Beyond the Choir

Dr. Sharon Dunwoody

Using messages and story telling to energize individuals are time-honored communications strategies, but massive, hard-to-detect processes such as climate disruption present real challenges for communicators who seek to increase understanding and catalyze behavior change. Sharon will identify and characterize the audiences for this important topic and then will offer a number of strategies to improve the ability of advocates to move hearts and minds and help rebuild a bipartisan consensus on the need to act.

Sharon Dunwoody has studied the construction and use of science messages for more than 30 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is Evjue-Bascom Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication and was an affiliate of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.  She has worked with a variety of audiences, including scientists, to improve communication and engagement strategies.  She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research, and the Society for Risk Analysis and former president of both the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Recently retired, Sharon remains active as a board member of the Aldo Leopold Foundation and as co-chair of the Science Advisory Board of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts.

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