USFSM will host a forum for state House and Senate candidates.

Climate change meeting to be held at USF Sarasota-Manatee

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: March 04, 2017

SARASOTA, Fla. (March 3, 2017)USF Sarasota-Manatee will be the setting for a meeting next month about climate change and its consequences for Florida with noted geologist and expert on sea-level rise Dr. Harold Wanless of the University of Miami.

The meeting, the Suncoast Climate Change Symposium, will be held Tuesday, April 18, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Dr. Wanless is chairman and a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami. He is currently overseeing a research project funded by the National Park Service, the National Biological Survey and NOAA to document hurricane impacts on coastal environments.

A frequent consultant to government officials on the effects of sea-level rise, Dr. Wanless was among a handful of scientists chosen in July 2014 to advise Gov. Rick Scott about the consequences of climate change in Florida.

“The high end of the projection by the U.S. government is two feet of sea-level rise by 2048 plus another one foot by 2063 or 2064,” he reportedly told the governor. “That basically is going to do in all of the barrier islands of the world.”

The symposium will include a presentation by Dr. Wanless followed by a question-and-answer session with audience members. Refreshments will be provided afterward. The event is sponsored by BDH Associates, LLC, which is headed by Sarasota resident Brian Hunter.

“This symposium is for everyone, but my hope especially is for city and county officials to attend as well,” Hunter said. “We have to start planning and taking a look at what’s going on.”

Dr. Paul Kirchman, dean of USFSM’s College of Science & Mathematics said he hopes the meeting can bring people together to start thinking about solutions to climate change.

“One problem is that this issue has become politicized because of an impression that climate scientists are anti-industry. I don’t think that is true,” he said. “In fact, advances in industry and technology will help solve the problem. Science has helped us avoid dire predictions in the past and we need to do that again.

“The other problem is that the changes are gradual, so we don’t really notice them,” Dr. Kirchman said. “If a big meteor was to hit in 30 years, I believe scientists and politicians would work together now on how to avert that, not when it’s about to strike the planet. But with climate change, we need to work on this issue before it becomes so obvious to everyone.”

Tickets are $15. The event is free with a valid student ID.

To purchase tickets, visit

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