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As New Global Crises Emerge, Climate Change Continues

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Courtesy of Fremont County Iowa Emergency Management
Increased flooding across the Midwest has raised concerns for geographic and climate experts measuring extreme weather events.

Globally and nationally, people are experiencing a multitude of crises. All at once, individuals are feeling the impact of a global pandemic, police brutality and the continuing effects of climate change. On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by experts in environmental health and sustainability for a look at the intersection of these global crises.

Peter Thorne, professor and head of of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health at the University of Iowa, emphasizes the importance of listening to objective scientists when it comes to public health and climate concerns. "We know that early action saves lives and minimizes harm," Thorne says, drawing parallels between the impact of COVID-19 and the need for immediate action to prevent a "tipping point" for climate change. 

Eric Tate, associate professor of geographical and sustainability sciences at the University of Iowa, says crises often highlight inequalities and disparities already impacting the nation's most vulnerable populations. "These [crises] offer us the opportunity to rebuild our society in ways that are more beneficial to everybody," Tate says.

Also on the program, Ulrike Passe, associate professor of architecture and director of the Iowa State University Center for Building Energy Research, discusses the importance of considering climate and social factors in building construction and design.

Guests:

  • Peter Thorne, professor and head of of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa
  • Eric Tate, associate professor of geographical and sustainability sciences, University of Iowa
  • Ulrike Passe, associate professor of architecture and director of the Iowa State University Center for Building Energy Research
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River